13 April 2022
BOV GFA Knock Out Division II (S/Final) Gozo Stadium
Qala Saints FC : 0
Zebbug Rovers FC : 1
90+3’ (red card) Samuel Sillato (QS)
90+6’ (0-1) Daniel Mesa Pineros
M. Muscat, J. Portelli, M. Zerafa (Jsf. Buttigieg), M. Buttigieg, S. Muscat, S. Farrugia, C. Farrugia, E. Buttigieg, P. Muscat (S. Sillato), B. Said, E.R. Ekpokwu.
O. Xuereb, I. Buttigieg, E. Bugeja (J. Azzopardi), C. Gauci, D. Mesa Pineros, E. Gauci, N.J. Cini (M. Camilleri Psaila), M. Grech, O. Atzori, R. Saliba, P. Spiteri.
Zebbug Rovers registered the biggest surprise in the lower category this season as they won qualification to the final of the BOV GFA Knock Out for the second division at the expense of the hot favourites and champions Qala Saints.
Qala was aiming to obtain a win in an attempt to mark their successful season with the double but ended up being surprised by a determined Zebbug side who confirmed the good moment of form expressed their last matches of the league.
The match turned out to be much more contested than expected as Qala did not manage to hold supremacy over the Rovers. The Maroons tried to impose their superiority from the early stages but the Rovers came out of a difficult patchy of play and were able to create some offensive play. The strikers of the two sides however were often erratic in their finishing and the match seemed to head to be decided in extra time.
Zebbug obtained the unexpected qualification by scoring the decisive goal from the last possible action of the encounter in regular time through a fine strike directly from a free-kick by Daniel Mesa Pineros.
The newly crowned champions of the second division came out very aggressive and during the opening stages, they produced pressure on Zebbug’s defence. The Rovers managed to pass the difficult phase and during the second part of the first half, they share play with their more quoted opponents.
3’ Qala could have concluded better when Zebbug’s defence failed to clear the ball following a corner kick by Charlon Farrugia and at the end, the attempt by Jeremy Portelli ended over the crossbar.
10’ Qala were again dangerous but a shot from a good position by Peter Muscat missed the target.
14’ The Maroons had another attempt through a shot from long distance by Stefan Farrugia but Zebbug’s goalie Omar Xuereb neutralised without any difficulty.
18’ Qala’s Brandon Said passed through Zebbug’s defence with a personal initiative but his attempt was blocked the ball arrived at Martin Buttigieg who saw his strike from outside the area that ended wide.
As time passed by Zebbug came out of their defence and threatened Qala’s rearguard on more than one occasion but they failed to create serious scoring opportunities toward the goal.
33’ Qala were again dangerous through a header by Emanuel Buttigieg from a corner kick by Peter Muscat that ended wide.
37’ In another good action by the Maroons a cross-shot by Charlon Farrugia ended just over the crossbar.
40’ Zebbug’s goalie Omar Xuereb was well placed to neutralise a shot from outside the area by Martin Buttigieg after receiving from Stefan Farrugia.
The match became much more contested after the break as the Rovers seemed motivated to obtain the win while Qala continued to struggle to create open scoring opportunities. Qala increased their efforts during the final stages and was also punished for missing some good chances as Zebbug clinched the qualification with a dramatic last-gasp goal
2’ Zebbug’s Ryan Saliba had a shot from a long distance that was saved by Qala’s goalie Matthew Muscat.
5’ The Rovers were again dangerous through a cross-shot by Eric Gauci that ended on the roof of the net.
11’ Qala could have opened the score when Ebube Ralph Okpokwu headed inside Zebbug’s area and Peter Muscat took the ball but the latter concluded badly from a good position and the ball ended high.
12’ Zebbug’s goalie Omar Xuereb partially saved a shot from an angled position by Brandon Said and defender Ian Buttigieg recovered in time to clear the ball from the goalmouth and denied the tap-in to Ebube Ralph Okpokwu.
15’ A free-kick from a long distance by Zebbug’s Eman Bugeja missed the target.
16’ Qala’s goalie Matthew Muscat was well placed and saved a low shot from an angled position by Daniel Mesa Pineros.
22’ Qala went again close to scoring when martin Buttigieg delivered a good cross from the right flank, Zebbug’s defence failed to clear the ball but Brandon Said’s shot from a good position was blocked in front of the goalmouth by Ian Buttigieg with the goalkeeper beaten.
34’ Qala increased their efforts and a shot from a long distance by Stefan Farrugia missed the target.
35’ Zebbug could have concluded much better when Orlando Atzori released Daniel Mesa Pineros inside Qala’s area but the latter saw his volley from a good position that ended high.
39’ The Maroons went very close to scoring but a strike from long distance by Jeremy Portelli ended just wide.
43’ Zebbug’s goalie was called to make a good save to punch away a free-kick from an angled position by Charlon Farrugia.
44’ The same goalkeeper was well placed and blocked a shot by Stefan Farrugia following a personal action from the left flank.
45+2’ Qala had their last opportunity to avoid extra time but a strike by Stefan Farrugia from outside the area ended just high.
45+3’ (red card) Zebbug replied with an immediate counter break but Daniel Mesa Pineros was fouled just before entering the area by substitute Samuel Sillato so the latter was also sent off for denying a scoring opportunity to the opponent.
45+6’ (0-1) From the resultant set-piece, taken after some minutes until the players recovered with the aid of the medical staff, Zebbug capitalised from the opportunity and scored the decisive goal through the fine shot directly from the free kick by Daniel Mesa Pineros that ended out of the reach of Qala’s keeper.
FT (QS 0 – ZR 1)
Referee: Joseph Scerri