Sannat save their lead in the red zone with a last-gasp goal

by | Apr 14, 2022 | 21/22, GFL 1st Div, Match Report, News

9 April 2022

GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division I (MD 19) Gozo Stadium

SK Victoria Wanderers: 1

Sannat Lions FC: 1

41’ (1-0) Kersten Grima

87’ (1-1) Aaron Azzopardi

SK Victoria W:

M. Kukrika, A. Refalo, A. Agyeman, E. Zammit, O. Curmi, N. Grech, K. Grima (J.W. Meilak), F. Rozkiewicz, D.U. Monday, A.T. Rufai, N. Vella.

Sannat L:

L. Xuereb, A. Sultana, L.B. Da Silva, N. Grima, D. Bellotti, H.F. Solis, D. Borg (M.M. Uzor), M. Mamo, N. Biculjevic, A. Azzopardi, F.J. Xuereb.

The direct clash against relegation between the two sides who are currently occupying the last two places on the table ended in a draw so that Sannat Lions managed to defend their one-point lead over bottom-placed SK Victoria Wanderers.  The outcome of this encounter leaves Sannat as favourites to avoid the direct relegation to the second division next season but will have to defend their division I status from a play-off against Munxar Falcons who placed as runners-up in the second division campaign.

The match turned out to be quite interesting, although both Sannat and SK Victoria Wanderers showed the limitations which reflect their position on the table.  The Wanderers, who had Aud-Gustine James Obaje and Neil Camilleri missing due to suspensions, seemed more determined than their opponents for most of the encounter.  The Wanderers ended the first half with a deserved one-goal lead but failed to capitalise from some good chances that arrived during the first part of the second period and conceded the opportunity to their opponents to remain in contention.  Sannat, who had Mario Mifsud missing due to a suspension, produced an impressive reaction after the hour mark and produced continuous pressure on Victoria’s defence.  Sannat were rewarded for their efforts and saved the result with a goal that arrived three minutes from the end of regular time through a direct free kick by Aaron Azzopardi who also ended up the hero for his side.

Timeline

During the first minutes of play, the two sides seemed very prudent to avoid conceding any space to the respective opponent.  The Wanderers however were aiming more to take command of play but they were often erratic and failed to capitalise on some opportunities that arrived within Sannat’s goal.

2’ Victoria’s Kersten Grima hit badly from a good position following a cross from the right flank by Oliver Curmi and goalie Lorjean Xuereb saved without difficulty.

11’ Sannat replied with a header by Dylan Bellotti following a corner kick by Aaron Azzopardi that was neutralised by Victoria’s keeper Mladen Kukrika.

12’ In another offensive action by Sannat Henry Fabian Solis had a low shot that was easily saved by Victoria’s goalie.

19’ The Wanderers once again threatened Sannat’s rearguard but Kersten Grima’s shot from a good position was weak and Sannat’s goalie saved without difficulty.

22’ The same Grima could have created more danger but his curling shot from a good position missed the target.

25’ Victoria’s Oliver Curmi had a header from close distance following a cross from the left flank that ended wide.

30’ Sannat could have opened the score when Victoria’s goalie failed to clear the ball from a free-kick by Aaron Azzopardi but Nicholas Grima headed incredibly wide from close distance.

35’ The Wanderers created danger inside Sannat’s area through an initiative by Alhassan Timitope Rufai but the defence cleared the ball to a corner.  From the resultant corner kick by Emerson Zammit, Sannat’s goalie Lorjean Xuereb punched the ball away from the goalmouth to another corner.

41’ (1-0) The Wanderers opened the score when they operated a counter break, Oliver Curmi and Alhassan Temitope Rufai missed the opportunity to conclude towards the goal but Kersten Grima recovered and fired in goal with a fine strike from outside the area.

44’ (protests for penalty) The Wanderers protested for a penalty when Fabricio Rozkiewicz delivered a ball inside Sannat’s area but Alhassan Temitope Rufai was pulled by his direct opponent from his jersey but the referee did not notice any infringement.

HT (1-0)

Second Half

Sannat tried to produce a reaction after the break and pushed more players forward in an attempt to recover the deficit.  The Wanderers were forced to defend their lead and created their offensive actions mainly with counter breaks so that the serious scoring opportunities at the two ends of the field were quite rare.

5’ Sannat could have created more danger when Victoria’s defence cleared badly a corner kick from the right flank by Aaron Azzopardi but substitute Matthias Michael Uzor saw his shot on the run that ended high.

12’ In another action by Sannat, Dylan Bellotti had a shot from outside the area that missed the target.

15’ The Wanderers could have doubled the score when they operated another counter break but striker Alhassan Temitope Rufai incredibly headed wide following an inviting cross from the right flank by Oliver Curmi.

24’ (protests for penalty) Sannat protested for a penalty when Henry Fabian Solis ended on the floor inside Victoria’s area following a challenge with Asante Agyeman.

25’ The Wanderers could have easily doubled the score following another counter break but once again Alhassan Temitope Rufai incredibly concluded wide from close distance following an inviting low cross by Oliver Curmi.

28’ Victoria’s goalie Mladen Kukrika was well placed and saved in two attempts a shot from an angled position by Henry Fabian Solis.

32’ Sannat had another attempt from long distance through Aaron Azzopardi but the ball ended over the crossbar.

33’ Sannat kept insisting and Matthias Michael Uzor controlled the ball at the edge of the area following a cross by Fabian Xuerreb but the final shot by Nebojsa Biculjevic was weak and goalie Mladen Kukrika saved without difficulty.

35’ Another prolonged action by Sannat within Victoria’s territory ended with a shot by Lucas Baretto Da Silva that missed the target.

40’ Victoria’s goalie was well placed and saved a good shot from outside the area by Lucas Baretto Da Silva.

42’ (1-1) Sannat clinched the deserved equaliser through a direct free kick by Aaron Azzopardi that surprised Victoria’s goalie Mladen Kukrika.

FT (SKVW 1 – SL 1)

Referee: Matthew De Gabriele

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