9 September 2022
GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division I (MD 1) Gozo Stadium
Kercem Ajax FC : 1
Xewkija Tigers FC : 0
68’ (1-0) Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira
D. Spiteri, D. Cassar, N. Mercieca, L.H. Santana Motta, J. Theuma, B. Da Cruz, P.Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira, A. Mizzi, K. Formosa, S. Azzopardi, M.V. Da Costa Soares Da Silva.
N. Kosanin, M. Mercieca, J. Buttigieg, R. Buttigieg, D Bogdanovic, J.Arboleda Valencia, A. Bozovic, D. Merceica, D. Andelovic, C. Abela, J. Camilleri.
Kercem Ajax started the championship on an excellent note as they clinched the three points at stake with a close win over Xewkija Tigers. The Ajax, who was the revelation side during the last season, consolidated their squad by obtaining the service of important players in each department so that in the match against Xewkija they expressed a good quality of play which puts them among the teams aiming to challenge for the honours.
The final score does not reflect Kercem’s superiority as they were only denied obtaining a win with a larger margin because of some very good saves by Xewkija’s keeper Nikola Kosanin. The goalkeeper kept his side in contention and during the final stages of the encounter, Xewkija managed to produce a reaction and could have saved the result. The match at the end was decided with a goal that arrived midway through the second period through a personal effort by debutant Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira, who already impressed in Gozitan football during the last seasons when he was playing for Gharb Rangers and Oratory Youths respectively.
Kercem came out in better shape and managed to take control of the midfield at an early stage. However, the Ajax were often erratic in their finishing and whenever they found a good way to conclude Xewija’s keeper was at the right place to save the danger. Xewkija ended up producing sporadic breaks but they rarely created serious goal-scoring opportunities.
5’ Kercem went very close to opening the score when Bruno Da Cruz entered the area with a personal action but his low shot aimed to the far post was saved to a corner by goalie Nikola Kosanin.
8’ The same goalkeeper was well placed and saved in two attempts a shot from outside the area by Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira.
13’ Xewkija could have capitalised better when Johnny Camilleri received the ball at an unmarked position just outside Kercem’s area but goalie Daniel Spiteri had good timing and managed to block the danger at the edge of his area.
17’ Kercem were again dangerous through a header by Marcos Vinicius Da Costa Soares Da Silva following a cross by Pablo Vinicius Ferreira that was well saved by goalie Nikola Kosanin.
27’ The same Da Costa Soares Da Silva produced a personal action but his low shot from outside the area was weak and the goalkeeper neutralised it without difficulty.
32’ Xewkija’s keeper was called to make a difficult save to turn to a corner a good shot by Da Costa Soares Da Silva following a cross from the left flank.
42’ Kercem produced another good scoring opportunity when Karl Formosa entered Xewkija’s area from the right flank and from his low cross a back-heel from close distance by Da Costa Soares Da Silva was saved in two attempts by Xewkija’s goalie Nikola Kosanin.
Xewkija came out for the second period aiming to increase their efforts so that the match during the opening stages of the second half became more interesting. Kercem however opened the score midway through the second half and took the driving seat for the rest of the encounter.
12’ Kercem were dangerous through a strike from outside the area by Bruno Da Cruz, after receiving from Vinicius Ferreira, that ended just wide.
17’ Xewkija replied with an attempt by Damir Andelovic from outside the area that was saved with difficulty to a corner by goalie Daniel Spiteri.
23’ (1-0) Kercem managed to break the deadlock when Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira defended the ball outside Xewkija’s area, kept insisting and turned around two direct opponents before placing it in goal with a fine shot towards the far corner.
Xewkija’s reaction was sterile and found it very difficult to create serious danger within Kercem’s territory.
33’ Kercem were again dangerous through a curling shot by Da Costa Soares Da Silva that ended wide.
37’ Xewkija’s goalie Nikola Kosanin kept his side in contention when he managed to block in two attempts an effort by Andrew Mizzi who was alone inside Xewkija’s area.
39’ Xewkija missed an opportunity to score the equaliser when Kercem’s goalie Daniel Spiteri partially saved a free kick by Damir Andelovic but from the rebound, Aleksa Bozovic hit badly and the goalkeeper recovered to save the danger.
42’ Xewkija protested for a penalty alleging handling by Kercem’s defender following a header by Johnny Camilleri.
FT (KA 1 – XT 0)
Referee: Slobodan Petrovic