GFA KO Division I: Final
Gozo Stadium – 21 April 2019
Xewkija T FC : 4 (M. Camilleri 39’, 72’; H.T. Barbosa Honorato 81’, 90+3’)
Grima, M. Tabone, S.A. Martinez Villa, C. Bugeja, C. Antunes Pavlidis, R. Buttigieg, G. Hili, M. Camilleri (M. Xerri), H.T. Barbosa Honorato, D. Bogdanovic.
Nadur Y FC : 3 (J. De Assis 14’, 90’; M.J. Barbosa 58’)
Vella, D. Farrugia, L. Tabone, I. Xuereb, J. De Assis, M.J. Barbosa, D.M. Bustos, Sh. Attard, L. Garcia Panesso, M.P. Camilleri (Sa. Attard), J. Parnis.
Xewkija Tigers obtained a dramatic 4-3 win over Nadur Youngsters in the final of the Knock Out competition for the top category in Gozitan football so that they took the honour to their club for the second time from six editions. This was a match between two sides who needed to make up for their disappointment in the championship as they both started the championship with the ambitions to be serious challengers for the title but they both lost ground with the leaders at an early stage. Nadur started the match as favourites since they were coming from a series of consecutive wins while Xewkija conceded a series of defeats against less quoted teams. At the end the two sides confirmed their strong potential and produced an exciting match, where the win could have gone either way and was actually decided with a goal that arrived seconds from the end of stoppage time. Nadur were twice in the lead but Xewkija had a good reaction so that they scored two equalisers and also turned the result in the favour with a goal scored nine minutes from the end of regular time. Nadur recovered the score on the stroke of regular time but as the match was heading to extra time Xewkija scored the goal that decided the issue.
Nadur seemed in better shape during the opening stages of the encounter. The Youngsters aw more of the ball and produced dangerous actions within Xewkija’s area. In the second minute of play Nadur could have scored an early goal but a shot by Leiner Garcia Panesso after receiving form Shaun Attard ended high. In another occasion on 13 minutes a free kick by Daniel Mateo Bustos ended on the roof of the net and one minute later Nadur opened the score when an effort by Leiner Garcia Panesso from a corner kick by Daniel Mateo Bustos was blocked by the defence and form the ball remained inside the zone in front of the goalmouth and Jefferson De Assis fired in goal from close distance Nadur kept insisting and on 16 minutes Marcelo Barbosa had a good attempt that was blocked by Xewkija’s keeper Mark Grima. Xewkija’s first serious attempt towards Nadur’s goal arrived on 18 minutes when Michael Camilleri passed towards Claudio An tunes but the later saw his first timer ending away from Nadur’s goal. On 24 minutes an effort by Xewkija’s Michael Camilleri following a cross by Gennaro Hili ended wide and Nadur replied on 34 minutes with a good shot by Daniel Mateo Bustos that was well saved by Xewkija’s keeper Mark Grima. The same Bustos had another good shot two minutes later but the ball ended wide and on 39 minutes Xewkija levelled the score through Michael Camilleri who had his first shot following a cross by Claudio Antunes that was partially saved by goalie Franklin Vella but the same striker headed into an open goal from the rebound. Nadur protested for a penalty in the first minute of stoppage time before half time when Daniel Mateo Bustos ended on the floor in the area following a challenge with Xewkija’s keeper but there was no infringement noted by the referee and the first half ended in a draw of two goals.
Play continued to be well contested after the break and on 53 minutes Nadur were dangerous through a shot by Leiner Garcia Panesso that was neutralised by goalie Mark Grima. One minute later Nadur’s Marcelo Barbosa had a shot on the run that missed the target and on 56 minutes Nadur’s Marcelo Bsrbosa released Jefferson De Assis within Xewkija’s area but goalie Mark Grima left his position in time to block the danger. From the resultant rebound Shaun Attard took the ball but his shot towards goal hit Jefferson De Assis who was in an offside position. Nadur however regained the lead on 58 minutes when Marcelo Barbosa received a ball just outside the area, turned around his direct opponent and fired in goal with a shot towards the far post that ended out of the reach of Xewkija’s keeper. Xewkija replied one minute later but a shot by Hallesson Tiago Barbosa Honorato ended wide and in the following action a shot from outside the area by Christian Bugeja was well saved by Nadur’s keeper Franklin Vella. On 62 minutes Xewkija’s Claudio Antunes could have created more danger when he took the ball from the defence following some hesitation, turned around the goalkeeper outside the area but failed to hit the ball so that Nadur’s defence recovered and cleared the danger. Nadur could have increased their lead one minute later but a shot from a good position by Marcelo Barbosa missed the target and n an immediate reply by Xewkija two consecutive attempts by Rodney Buttigieg and Halleson Tiago Barbosa Honorato were blocked by Nadur’s keeper among protests alleging that the ball could have crossed the fatal line.
On 67 minutes Xewkija’s keeper Mark Grima made an important intervention to keep his side in contention when he managed to block a close ranged attempt by Marcelo Barbosa. Xewkija replied two minutes later with a shot by Claudio Antunes after receiving from \Michael Camilleri that was well blocked by goalie Franklin Vella. On 71 minutes it was Xewkija’s goalie Mark Grima who was called to make a good save following a low shot by Leiner Garcia Panesso. Xewkija levelled the score for the second time in the match one minute later when Halleson Tiago Barbosa Honorato passed inside the area towards Michael Camilleri who netted with a shot on the run from close distance. Nadur could have regained the lead on 79 minutes but a close ranged attempt by Shaun Attard with the goalkeeper beaten ended wide. One minute later Xewkija were dangerous through a curling shot that was weak and Nadur’s keeper neutralised without difficulty. On 77 minutes Xewkija took the lead for the first time in the match when a cross by Claudio Antunes arrived to an unmarked Halleson Tiago Barbosa Honorato who controlled easily and netted from close distance.
Nadur tried to push more men forward during the remaining minutes and on 85 minutes Xewkija’s keeper made another good save following a shot by Daniel Mateo Bustos. The same Nadur player had another attempt three minutes later but the ball ended away from goal and on 90 minutes Nadur’s efforts were rewarded when a strike by Leiner Garcia Panesso following a cross by Shaun Attard was deflected on the crossbar by goalie Mark Grim and form the rebound Jefferson De Assis headed in goal. As the match was heading towards extra time Xewkija scored the decisive goal that arrived in the third minute of stoppage time when Claudio Antunes crossed from the left flank and the ball once again found Halleson Tiago Barbosa Honorato who was unmarked and the striker fired in goal from a closed angle with the ball hitting the crossbar before ending in goal, among the celebrations of the club officials and supporters who started celebrating the win as soon as the referee order the end of the encounter seconds after the restart.
At the end of the match the President of the Gozo Football Association, in the presence of the General Secretary of the association Tony Grech and the treasurer of the association George Cini presented medals and trophies to the match officials, to Nadur’s captain as runners-up and to the players and officials of Xewkija Tigers as winners of the competition; among the celebrations by the Xewkija supporters.
Referee: Mario Apap