Kercem earn a point with last-gasp goal

by | Feb 15, 2021 | 20/21, Match Report, News

13 February 2021

GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division I – Match Day 7 Gozo Stadium

Victoria Hotspurs FC : 3

Kercem Ajax FC : 3

9’ (0-1) Samuel Saldanha

17’ (1-1) Paulo Santos De Azevedo

45+1’ (2-1) Christian Attard

82’ (3-1) Paulo Santos De Azevedo

85’ (3-2) Jason Theuma

90+6’ (3-3) Samuel Saldanha

Victoria H:

D. Spiteri, L. Grima, C. Attard (S. Bajada), J.M. Vella, C. Mercieca (J. Parnis), J. Pace, D. Farrugia, O.G. Fernandes, J. Tabone (A. Azzopardi), S. Attard, P. Santos De Azevedo.

Kercem A:

G. Bugeja, G. Muscat (J. Theuma), A. Xiberras, J. Buttigieg, A. Mizzi, S. Saldanha, O. Spiteri, S. Attard, A. Zammit, J.P. Mizzi, M. Potezica.

Victoria Hotspurs and Kercem Ajax earned a point each from a six-goal thriller so that the former practically compromised their possibility to remain serious challengers for the title, while the latter consolidated their chances to reach their main ambition to defend their first division status at an early stage of the championship.

This was a match between two sides who were on equal points before this match and they were both coming from two disappointing results.  However, the Hotspurs were favourites to obtain the three points at stake as they have been considered as serious challengers to the top positions.  The Hotspurs managed to express their superiority for most of the encounter and seemed heading towards a win as they took a two-goal lead with just eight minutes left from the end of regular time.  Kercem did not throw the towel and made an impressive comeback during the final stages to the point that they saved the result with a goal that arrived in the sixth minute of stoppage time.  The dramatic final moments of the encounter and the final whistle were followed by celebrations by Kecem’s players and officials, while the Hotspurs left the field of play disappointed as they were aware that they gave away two precious points which leaves them six points behind the leaders after six matches in the championship.

Timeline

Victoria Hotspurs tried to take command of play from the early stages but Kercem were well deployed at their defence and managed to keeper their area clear form danger.  During the opening minutes Kercem were more effective in their breaks and also managed to take the lead.

5’ Kercem almost surprised Victoria’s defence when Samuel Saldanha defended a ball outside the area but his attempt missed the target.

9’ (0-1) Kercem opened the score when Adrian Xiberras headed the ball towards Victoria’s area and Samuel Saldanha arrived on the ball before Victoria’s keeper and the central defender and netted with a lob that ended in goal despite the attempt by Daniel Farrugia to clear the ball of the fatal line.

Victoria’s initial reaction was sterile but they regained composure and as time passed by they increased pressure on Kercem’s defence.

17’ Victoria managed to level the score when Christian Attard delivered the ball inside Kercem’s area from the midfield and Paulo Santos De Azevedo had good elevation and headed in goal from a good position.

Victoria kept insisting.

20’ Victoria’s Olimpio Gabriel Fernandes had a low shot from outside the area that ended wide.

24’ Kercem’s goalie Gaetano Bugeja was called to make a difficult intervention to deflect to a corner a free kick form long distance by Jason Pace and from the resultant corner action an attempt by Shaun Attard was neutralised by goalie Gaetano Bugeja.

41’ Victoria Hotspurs went again close to scoring when Kercem’s goalie partially saved a low shot by Paulo Santos De Azevedo and from the rebound Shaun Attard’s effort ended wide.

42’ The same striker Shaun Attard almost surprised Kercem’s goalie when his strike got a deflection by a defender and the ball seemed heading towards goal, but the extreme defender recovered his position in time and managed to save the danger.

45+1’ (2-1) Victoria Hotspurs turned the result in their favour through an initiative by Christian Attard who created pressure on the central defender, won the ball at the edge of the area and concluded in goal with a low shot.

HT (2-1)

The Hotspurs tried to control play after the break while Kercem struggled to produce danger particularly during the first part of the second period.

1’ The Hotspurs could have added another goal after just 50 seconds of play when Christian Mercieca took the ball from a defender at the edge of the area but his low drive aimed towards the far post needed wide.

4’ Kercem replied through an attempt directly from a corner by Anthony Zammit that was saved to another corner by Victoria’s keeper Daniel Spiteri.

22’ Victoria’s Olimpio Gabriel Fernandes lost a good opportunity to increase the lead for his side when he exchanged the ball inside Kercem’s area with Paulo Santos De Azevedo but the former had his low shot aimed towards the far post that ended wide.

37’ (3-1) Victoria Hotspurs scored their third goal when a clearance from the midfield surprised Kercem’s rear guard so that Paulo Santos De Azevedo took the ball, avoided the goalkeeper at the edge of the area and managed to conclude in goal despite the challenge from Kercem’s defence.

Kercem were not demoralised and increased their efforts in an attempt to recover the deficit.

39’ Kercem’s Andrew Mizzi entered Victoria’s area from the right flank but his low cross was deflected by the goalkeeper so that Samuel Saldanha failed to connect and the ball ended in a corner.

40’ (3-2) Kercem re-opened the issue when Victoria’s goalie punched badly from the goalmouth a corner kick by Jean Paul Mizzi and from the resultant melee Jason Theuma fired in goal from close distance.

41’ Kercem went again close to scoring when Jean Paul Mizzi released Samuel Saldanha in a counter break but Victoria’s goalie Daniel Spiteri had good timing and left his position to take the ball and deny Kercem’s striker from concluding towards goal.

45+3’ Kercem created another dangerous action at Victoria’s goal but a header by Samuel Saldanha from a corner kick by Jean Paul Mizzi was blocked by Victoria’s keeper.

45+6’ (3-3) Kercem were rewarded for their efforts and scored the equaliser when Jean Paul Mizzi delivered the ball inside Victoria’s area with a corner kick, Samuel Saldanha had his header blocked by the defence but from the resultant melee the same striker took the ball and concluded in goal from close distance.

FT (VH 3 – KA 3)

Referee: Alex Johnson

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Written by Darren Cassar

GFA Photographer and Website Admin