12 February 2023
GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division I (MD 14) Gozo Stadium
Kercem Ajax FC : 6
Ghajnsielem FC : 3
3’ (1-0) Bruno Da Cruz
11’ (2-0) Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira
18’ (3-0) Ognjen Rolovic
20’ (4-0) Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira
29’ (5-0) Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira
39’ (5-1) Pedro Augusto Mota De Lima
47’ (5-2) Junior Valdeci Candido
73’ (5-3) Pedro Augusto Mota De Lima
85’ (6-3) Bruno Da Cruz
D. Spiteri, N. Mercieca, L.H. Santana Motta, J. Theuma, B. Da Cruz (K. Vella), O. Rolovic, P. Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira, A. Mizzi, G. Cardona (D. Hili), K. Formosa (D. Hili), S. Azzopardi.
A. Parnis, K. Borg, A. Xuereb, D. Farrugia, J.P. Oliveira Santos, N.I. Belhadj, K. Grima (K. Saliba), M.A. Scicluna (D. Portelli), J.V. Candido, P.A. Mota De Lima, P. Dos Santos Cruz (T. Sciberras).
Kercem Ajax retained their chances to challenge for the main honour during the second phase of the championship with a 6-3 win over Ghajnsielem. This win arrived as an immediate reaction to the disappointing defeat conceded in the direct clash against the leaders a week earlier so that Ajax regained their confidence in the potential of the team to be competitive for the honours.
Kercem practically paved the way to win the three points with five goals scored during the opening half-hour of play. Kercem however became overconfident and almost allowed their opponent to re-open the issue as the Blacks scored three goals without a reply from Ajax. Kercem sealed the deserved win with a sixth goal that arrived minutes away from the end of regular time.
In this match, Ghajnsielem were already mathematically eliminated from a place with the Top-4 in the second phase of the championship and they seemed demoralised from the opening minutes of the encounter. Ghajnsielem, however, managed to produce a strong comeback after conceding five goals and at one point they also believed that they were close to recover the heavy deficit. The Blacks will start the Play-Out phase of the championship as the best team from the four, but their current lead over the rivals does not allow them to put their minds at rest about their first-division status.
Kercem took command of play from the early stages and produced continuous pressure on Ghajnsielem’s defence. The Ajax dominated during the first half hour of play and seemed heading towards a win with a large score as they placed the ball in Ghajnsielem’s net on five occasions during the first 30 minutes of the encounter.
3’ (1-0) Kercem Ajax took the lead when Pablo Vinicius Ferreira released Bruno Da Cruz inside Ghajnsielem’s area on the left-hand side and the latter fired in goal with a shot from an angled position.
11’ (2-0) Kercem continued to dictate matters and doubled the score when Bruno Da Cruz unmarked Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira within Ghajnsielem’s territory and the same Ferreira concluded in goal with a low shot.
12’ Ghajnsielem replied with a header by Junior Valdeci Candido following a corner action but the ball ended away from the goal.
16’ Kercem were again dangerous through a shot by Pablo Vinicius Ferreira but Ghajnsielem’s goalie was well placed and saved without difficulty.
18’ (3-0) Ajax added another goal through a fine header by Ognjen Rolovic following a cross from the left flank by Karl Formosa.
19’ Ghajnsielem went very close to reduce the deficit when Patrick Dos Santos Cruz unmarked Pedro Augusto Mota De Lima but the latter had his shot saved with difficulty to a corner by goalie Daniel Spiteri. From the same corner action, a header by Junior Valdeci Candido missed the target.
20’ (4-0) Kercem increased their lead from a counter break where Bruno Da Cruz once again released Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira and the latter turned around the goalkeeper and deposited the ball into an open goal.
22’ (post) Ghajnsielem were unlucky when a strike by Naim Ibrahim Belhadj hit the post with the goalkeeper beaten and the defence cleared the danger to a corner.
24’ Kercem’s Bruno Da Cruz had a good shot that was saved in two attempts by Ghajnsielem’s goalie Adrian Parnis.
29’ (5-0) Kercem scored their fifth goal as Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira also registered his personal hat-trick when he won the ball following a misunderstanding by Ghajnsielem’s keeper and the central defender and the Brazilian striker placed easily into an open goal.
37’ Ghajnsielem’s goalie Adrian Parnis was called to make a good intervention to save a shot by Ognjen Rolovic.
39’ (5-1) Ghajnsielem managed to reduce the arrears when a strike by Pedro Augusto Mota De Lima ended in goal despite the attempt of Kercem’s goalie to block the danger.
45+2’ Kercem could have re-established the five-goal difference when Pedro Vinicius Ferreira entered alone within Ghajnsielem’s territory but the striker saw his shot that ended wide
The match lost much of the interest after the break as Kercem had already pulled off their foot from the pedal. Ghajnsielem took advantage of the lack of concentration by their opponents came out of their defence and tried hard to re-open their possibility to obtain a positive result.
2’ (5-2) Ghajnsielem scored their second goal when Kercem’s goalie Daniel Spiteri partially saved a free kick by Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos and from the rebound, Junior Valdeci Candido concluded in goal from close distance.
12’ Kercem were again dangerous through an inviting cross from the right flank by Ognjen Rolovic but Gabriel Cardona just arrived late and missed the opportunity to head the ball into the goal.
27’ Ghajnsielem missed a golden scoring opportunity to score a third goal when Kercem’s goalie left his position up to the edge of the area but hesitated to clear the ball in the presence of other defenders so that Ghajnsielem’s striker Patrick Dos Santos Cruz almost took the opportunity but his lob aimed towards an open goal ended over the crossbar.
28’ (5-3) Ghajnsielem however managed to reduce the deficit further as Kercem’s defence conceded an identical opportunity when the goalkeeper once again went out of his position but on this occasion, the ball arrived to Pedro Augusto Mota De Lima who lobbed into an open goal.
30’ (post) The Blacks almost re-opened the issue when Kercem’s defence cleared badly a free kick by Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos but the first timer by Daniel Farrugia was stopped by the post.
32’ Kercem could have capitalised better when Ghajnsielem’s goalie Adrian Parnis failed to hold an effort by Andrew Mizzi and Jason Theuma produced pressure on the goalie but failed to hit in goal from close distance.
32’ (post) In the following action Kercem were also unlucky when a strike by Andrew Mizzi was stopped by the post.
40’ (6-3) Kercem practically put their minds at rest from the win by increasing their lead to three goals through a low shot by Bruno a Cruz after receiving from Pablo Vinicius Ferreira.
FT (KA 6 – GHJ 3)
Referee: Matthew De Gabriele