20 December 2022
GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division II (MD 5) Kercem Arkafort Stadium
Xaghra United FC: 2
Zebbug Rovers FC : 3
2’ (0-1) Lorenzo Atzori
21’ (1-1) Joel Xuereb
42’ (2-1) o.g. Manuel Gauci
64’ (2-2) Matthion Formosa
74’ (2-3) Daniel Mesa Pineros
L. Xuereb, S. Galea, L. Meilak (G. Debono), J. Xuereb, M. Cordina, S. Sultana, M. Mamo, D. Azzopardi, E. Galea (J. Formosa), F.J. Xuereb, L. Garcia Panesso.
F. Portelli, P. Spiteri, M. Formosa (M. Grech), C. Gauci, R. Saliba, L. Atzori (J. Magro), D. Mesa Pineros, E. Gauci, C. Cauchi, M. Gauci, N.J. Cini (O. Mercieca).
Zebbug Rovers obtained a deserved 3-2 win over Xaghra United and with the points obtained the Rovers took the runners-up position on the table at the expense of the same Xaghra at the end of the first round of the campaign. This was a direct clash as the two sides were determined to win the full points at stake to retain their hopes to challenge for the promotion. Zebbug was coming from a convincing win in their previous match while Xaghra were expected to produce a reaction as they dropped points in their previous two matches when they were held to a draw in one match and conceded a defeat in the other.
Xaghra once again failed to live up to their expectations, particularly after an excellent start in the campaign and ended up compromising their status on the table. On the other hand, Zebbug showed great determination in this match as they capitalised from their strength in attack and also because they managed to resist during the most difficult moments of the encounter,
Play for most of the first period was balanced with some good scoring opportunities at the two ends of the field.
2’ (0-1) Zebbug opened the score in their first offensive action when Nathan John Cini passed through Xaghra’s defence from the left-hand side and from his pass Lorenzo Atzori concluded in goal from close distance.
7’ Xaghra replied with a free kick by Matthias Cordina that was partially saved by goalie Francesco Portelli and from the rebound, Savio Galea concluded wide.
21’ (1-1) Xaghra levelled the score through a shot on the run from close distance by Joel Xuereb following a cross from the left flank by Steve Sultana.
31’ Zebbug’s Carl Gauci had a good attempt directly from a free kick that was neutralised by Xaghra’s goalie Lorjean Xuereb.
33’ The Rovers could have capitalised better when a shot from close distance by Lorenzo Atzori was blocked by goalie Lorjean Xuereb but from the rebound Daniel Mesa Pineros hot badly and the ball ended wide.
35’ Xaghra were again dangerous when Joel Xuereb passed through Zebbug’s defence from the right but his attempt was well saved by Zebbug’s goalie.
42’ (2-1) Xaghra turned the result in their favour when Zebbug’s defender Manuel Gauci hit badly in an attempt to clear the ball from the goalmouth following a cross from the left flank by Luke Meilak and the ball hit the goalkeeper and ended in the net.
Zebbug came out determined to recover the deficit and surprised their opponents so that the Rovers were the better side and regained the lead. Xaghra were shocked and found it difficult to save the result.
11’ Zebbug’s Carl Gauci could have created more danger but his header from a corner kick by Lorenzo Atzori ended wide.
13’ Xaghra replied through a header by Fabian John Xuereb following a corner action that ended high.
19’ (2-2) Zebbug scored the equaliser when Carl Gauci delivered a cross inside Xaghra’s area, Manuel Gauci headed the ball and Matthion Formosa came from behind and headed in a goal from close distance.
29’ (2-3) The Rovers kept insisting and went in the lead for the second time in the match when Daniel Mesa Pineros surprised Xaghra’s defence with a fine strike following a personal initiative.
37’ Xaghra’s reaction arrived through a shot by Joel Xuereb that ended high.
41’ Xaghra’s last opportunity to level the score arrived through a header by Daniel Azzopardi following a free kick from long distance by Matthias Cordina.
45+7’ Zebbug could have sealed the win with another goal when Xaghra’s defence failed to clear the ball from their territory when the goal was unattended but substitute Owen Mercieca incredibly concluded wide.
FT (XU 2 – ZR 3)
Referee: Anthony Paul Vella