22 October 2022
BOV GFA Cup (Prel Rd) Kercem Arkafort Stadium
Zebbug Rovers FC: 1
Kercem Ajax FC : 2
8’ (red card) Eman Bugeja (ZR)
9’ (penalty missed – wide) Luiz Henrique Santana Motta (KA)
45+1’ (1-0) Lorenzo Atzori
47’ (1-1) Karl Formosa
77’ (1-2) Karl Formosa
B. Saliba, P. Spiteri, I. Buttigieg, E. Bugeja, C. Gauci, R. Saliba (O. Mercieca), L. Atzori, E. Gauci, M. Camilleri Psaila (N.J. Cini), M. Grech, O. Atzori (C. Cauchi 75).
G. Bugeja, N. Mercieca, L.H. Santana Motta, C. Attard, P. Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira, A. Mizzi, G. Cardona (J. Theuma), K. Formosa, A. Zammit (D. Cassar), S. Azzopardi, M.V. Da Costa Soares Da Silva.
First-division side Kercem Ajax found it more difficult than expected to obtain qualification to the quarter-final stage of the BOV GFA Cup and only managed to defeat second-division side Zebbug Rovers with a decisive goal that arrived during the final stages. Kercem were favourites to obtain a comfortable win over Zebbug as they are one of the protagonists of the top flight this season while the Rovers had a disappointing run in the Challenge Cup for Division two.
Ajax may have had an overconfident approach and for most of the time, they failed to convert their superiority in goals, despite playing for more than eighty minutes with an extra player on the field. However, Kercem deserved the win and the qualification, as they expressed superiority over their opponents throughout the match and created several scoring opportunities. In the quarter-finals of this competition, Kercem will face the winner of the match from the preliminary round between second-division sides St Lawrence Spurs and Xaghra United.
Kercem, as expected, dictated matters from the early stages but they missed an opportunity to score an early goal from a penalty so they lost concentration and failed to capitalise on an extra player on the field of play. Zebbug managed to defend their territory throughout the first half while Kercem’s strikers were erratic and missed their best scoring opportunities. Zebbug also surprised their more quoted opponents by taking the lead on the stroke of halftime.
8’ (red card) penalty Kercem were awarded a penalty when a header by Andrew Mizzi, following a cross by Nathaniel Mercieca, was handled on the fatal line by central defender Eman Bugeja. The referee awarded a penalty and showed a red card to the same Bugeja despite the impression that the ball had already crossed the fatal line before the handling.
9’ (penalty missed) Kercem however missed the golden scoring opportunity as the shot from the spot kick by Luiz Henrique Santa Motta ended wide.
17’ Kercem recovered from the disappointing moment and could have opened the score but a shot by Marcos Vinicius Da Costa Soares Da Silva was neutralised by goalie Baskal Saliba.
20’ The same Marcos Vinicius Da Costa Soares Da Silva had another attempt from a good position but the ball ended away from the goal.
23’ The Ajax were again dangerous through a strike by Anthony Zammit that missed the target.
27’ In another occasion by Kercem a shot by Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira ended wide.
38’ Kercem could have created more danger when Nathaniel Mercieca delivered a low cross inside Zebbug’s area but Karl Formosa’s low shot ended wide.
42’ Zebbug’s goalie Baskal Saliba was well placed and saved with some difficulty a good shot by Marcos Vinicius Da Costa Soares Da Silva.
45+2’ (1-0) Zebbug surprised Kercem and opened the score when the defence cleared badly from their area a throw-in by Carl Gauci and the ball arrived to Eric Gauci but the latter saw his attempt hit the crossbar and from the rebound, Lorenzo Atzori headed in a goal from long distance.
Kercem came out determined to retain the command of play after the break and managed to level the score by scoring an early goal. Kercem kept insisting but they had to wait until the final stages of the encounter to put their head in front and obtain the deserved qualification.
2’ (1-1) Kercem recovered the deficit when Zebbug’s defence failed to clear the ball from their area following a corner action and Karl Formosa took the ball and fired in goal with a low shot.
6’ (crossbar) Kercem were unlucky when a strike from outside the area by Luiz Henrique Santana Motta hit the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten.
14’ The Ajax could have turned the result in their favour but a header from a good position by Marcos Vinicius Da Costa Soares Da Silva following a corner kick by Karl Formosa ended just over the crossbar.
22’ Kercem’s Marcos Vinicius Da Costa Soares Da Silva had an attempt following a cross by substitute Daniel Cassar that ended wide.
30’ The Ajax went very close to taking the lead but a header by Marcos Vinicius Da Costa Soares Da Silva following a corner kick by Pablo Vinicius Ferreira was blocked by the defence and from the resultant melee the attempt by substitute Jason Theuma was saved by goalie Baskal Saliba.
32’ (1-2) Kercem’s efforts were rewarded and turned the result in their favour when Karl Formosa received the ball inside the area from Pablo Vinicius Ferreira, passed by two direct opponents and placed in goal with a low shot as he was alone in front of the goalkeeper.
FT (ZR 1 – KA 2)
Referee: Emanuel Grech