Zebbug Rovers win the BOV GFA 2nd Division Knock Out

by | Apr 23, 2022 | 21/22, GFL 2nd Div, Match Report, News

18 April 2022

BOV GFA Knock Out Division II (Final) Gozo Stadium

Zebbug Rovers FC: 2

Xaghra United FC : 0

After Extra Time

15’ (penalty missed- high) Matthias Cordina (XU)

83’ (red card) Silvan Bonello (XU)

85’ (penalty missed – post) Eman Bugeja

105+2’ (1-0) Daniel Mesa Pineros

111’ (2-0) penalty Joston Azzopardi

113’ (red card) Emmanuel Scerri (XU)

Zebbug Rovers FC:

O. Xuereb, I. Buttigieg (J. Azzopardi), E. Bugeja, C. Gauci, D. Mesa Pineros, E. Gauci (G. Grech), N.J. Cini (M. Camilleri Psaila, O. Mercieca), M. Grech (C. Farrugia), O. Atzori, R. Saliba, P. Spiteri.

Xaghra U:

L. Camilleri, J. Bajada (F. Cauchi, E. Scerri), J. Xiberras, A. Farrugia, C. Debono (S. Galea), L. Sultana, S.T. Blair, M. Cordina, S. Sultana, S. Bonello, E. Galea (J.K. Farrugia).

Zebbug Rovers won their first important honour after a period of eighteen years as they lifted the BOV GFA Division II Knock Out Cup following a 2-0 win in the final of the competition against Xaghra United after extra time.

Zebbug and Xaghra were aiming to end the season on a positive note to make up for the disappointing campaign where they failed to be competitive with the top teams.  Both sides were also motivated as they both obtained the qualification to the final by winning the respective semi-finals against more quoted teams.  As a result the match, which was followed by a sizable crowd at the Gozo Stadium, turned out to be well contested where the win during regular time could have gone either way, but the encounter remained at a deadlock and had to be extended to extra time.  The match produced various exciting moments as each side missed a penalty during regular time, the Rovers had an effort that was stopped by the woodwork and Xaghra had to play the last minutes of regular time and the extra time with a player less.

Xaghra seemed in a better shape for most of the time and saw more of the ball but they found it extremely difficult to create serious scoring opportunities. On the other hand, the Rovers defended well and became much more dangerous in their play as time passed by.  The Rovers confirmed a good moment of form which they expressed during the matches of the third and final round of the campaign and in the semi-final of this competition.  Zebbug ended up winning the second most important honour for the lower category with a goal scored during stoppage time of the first half of extra time and a second goal during the opening minutes of the second half of extra time.  Xaghra were also reduced to nine players after conceding the second goal so that Zebbug controlled their lead for the remaining minutes among the celebrations of their numerous supporters.

At the end of the match the President of the Gozo Football Association Dr Samuel Azzopardi, together with other GFA officials, presented the medals and the trophy among the celebrations of Zebbug’s players, staff, officials and supporters.

Timeline

Xaghra had the wind-blocking in their favour during the first half and they tried to take advantage by putting some pressure on Zebbug’s defence.  The latter managed to control Xaghra’s initiative during the early stages but as time passed by the Rovers conceded some good scoring opportunities to their opponents including a penalty after just fifteen minutes of play.

15’ (penalty – missed, high) Xaghra could have opened the score when Shemar Tristan Blair tried to pass following a through ball but was tackled inside the area by Carl Gauci and the striker did not take the advantage, but the shot from the spot-kick by Matthias Cordina ended over the crossbar.

21’ Zebbug replied through a shot from a long distance by Eric Gauci that missed the target.

22’ Xaghra were again dangerous when Shemar Tristan Blair passed inside Zebbug’s area from the right but his attempt from an angled position was blocked by goalie Omar Xuereb and the defence cleared the ball from the area to deny Luke Sultana from the tap-in.

25’ In another good action by Xaghra Shemar Tristan Blair headed towards Johann Bajada but the latter saw his effort that was blocked by the defence.

32’ Xaghra could have created more danger but an attempt by Silvan Bonello following a corner action ended high.

HT (0-0)

Second Half

After the resumption, it was Zebbug’s turn to take advantage of the wind blowing in their favour and created more opportunities to conclude Xaghra’s goal.  On the other hand, Xaghra tried to control Zebbug’s initiative and often threatened Zebbug’s defence with counter breaks.

5’ Xaghra’s keeper Leonard Camilleri had good timing to neutralise a free-kick from long distance by Eman Bugeja.

9’ Zebbug’s Eric Gauci had an attempt from outside the area but the ball ended wide.

14’ (crossbar) Zebbug went very close to taking the lead but a strike by Orlando Atzori from outside the area was stopped by the crossbar and the defence cleared the danger to a corner.

17’ An attempt directly from a free-kick by Daniel Mesa Pineros missed the target.

38’ (red card, penalty) Zebbug won an opportunity to open the score when Xaghra’s central defender Silvan Bonello handled the ball to block a shot from a melee inside the area by Matthew Grech, the referee awarded a penalty and the defender was also sent off for the infringement.

40’ (penalty missed – post) The Rovers failed to capitalise on the shot from the spot-kick as the attempt by Eman Bugeja hit the post on the left-hand side of Xaghra’s posts.

90mins (0-0)

Extra-time

Xaghra administered play for most of the first half of the extra time but Zebbug kept their area clear from danger and produced the only scoring opportunities of the half.

10’ Zebbug’s Daniel Mesa Pineros passed inside Xaghra’s area from the right-hand side but his shot ended wide.

15+2’ (1-0) Zebbug broke the deadlock when Xaghra’s defence failed to clear the ball from the goalmouth following a corner kick by substitute Joston Azzopardi and from the resultant melee Daniel Mesa Pineros pushed the ball in the goal.

105 mins. (1-0)

Extra-time second half

Zebbug kept insisting from the initial stages of the second period of extra time and made sure of the win by scoring the second goal.

4’ (2-0) penalty Zebbug were awarded a penalty for a foul by Steve Sultana on Daniel Mesa Pineros who entered Xaghra’s area with personal action. 

6’ (2-0) The Rovers took full advantage of the penalty kick and doubled the score with the shot from the spot-kick by Joston Azzopardi.

8’ (red card) Xaghra ended with nine players before play resumed as substitute Emmanuel Scerri was sent off for protests.

FT a.e.t. (ZR 2 – XU 0)

Referee: Daniel Portelli

Asst. Referees: Noel Cremona, Paula Buttigieg

Fourth Official: Patrick Falzon

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Written by Darren Cassar

GFA Photographer and Website Admin