Xaghra win direct clash and re-open race for promotion

by | Feb 20, 2023 | 22/23, GFL 2nd Div, Match Report, News

11 February 2023

GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division II (MD 11) Kercem Arkafort Stadium

Xaghra United FC: 1

SK Victoria Wanderers : 0

41’ (1-0) Kenneth Mercieca

Xaghra U:

L. Xuereb, S. Galea (L. Meilak), J. Xuereb (C. Debono), M. Cordina (L. Sultana), S. Sultana, M. Mamo (E. Galea), D. Azzopardi, K. Mercieca, F.J. Xuereb, M. Bezzina, L. Garcia Panesso.

SK Victoria W:

O. Xuereb, N. Camilleri, A.J. Obaje, E. Bugeja, E. Zammit, S. Harland, N. Grech (A. Refalo, J. Saliba), S.F. Bajada, O. Fenech (L. Fenech), N. Vella, J.G. Vella.

In the first match from the third and final round of the BOV Gozo Football League of the second division Xaghra United registered a 1-0 win over the current leaders SK Victoria Wanderers and with the points obtained Xaghra reduced their gap from the Citizens to just three points.

This match between Xaghra and SK Victoria Wanderers was an important clash from the upper part of the table as the Wanderers were aiming to earn a positive result to defend their lead over the same Xaghra while the latter practically had their last opportunity to join the race for the top spot.  The outcome of this match also put Zebbug Rovers with a possibility to be among the challengers so that the remaining matches from this third and final round of the campaign should turn out into a number of thrilling encounters.

This was Victoria’s first defeat after an unbeaten run of nine consecutive matches and on the other hand, it was Xaghra’s third consecutive win.  It was also the fifth encounter between the two sides this season, one in the GFA Division II Challenge Cup, one in the MFA Izibet FA Trophy, and two in the league.  Each side won two matches and in this match, the two sides showed that they deserve to be the main contenders for the main honour of the category. 

Xaghra’s win matured with a goal scored near the end of the first half but they managed to achieve the victory as a result of an effective deployment where they completely neutralised Victoria’s strikers and held good control of play in the midfield.  Xaghra defended their lead during the second period with authority and near the end of the match they could have easily sealed the win by scoring a second goal.  On the other hand, the Wanderers were disappointed mainly in this match as they failed to produce serious actions on Xaghra’s goal throughout the ninety minutes and compromised the result by giving away some space at the defence, particularly during the final minutes of play of the first half.

Timeline:

The Wanderers saw more of the ball during the first period and produced more danger within Xaghra’s territory.  Xaghra, however, resisted well and as time passed by they started to share play and capitalised from their best opportunity so that they took the break with a one-goal lead.

6’ Victoria’s Joseph George Vella had an attempt from outside the area that missed the target.

8’ The same player had another shot directly from a free kick but the ball ended away from the goal.

13’ Xaghra replied with a good effort by Joel Xuereb that was saved without difficulty by Victoria’s goalie Omar Xuereb.

19’ The Wanderers were again dangerous when Joseph George Vella entered Xaghra’s area but his strike from a good position was saved in two attempts by goalie Lorjean Xuereb.

27’ Xaghra went also close to score but a header by Kenneth Mercieca following a corner kick by Matthias Cordina ended high.

38’ Xaghra’s goalie Lorjean Xuereb was well placed and neutralised a shot by Emerson Zammit following a personal initiative.

41’ (1-0) Xaghra opened the score when Leiner Garcia Panesso released Kenneth Mercieca inside Victoria’s area and the latter placed in goal with a low drive as the goalkeeper left his position in an attempt to block the danger.

HT (1-0)

Second Half

The Wanderers came out for the second period determined to produce a reaction but Xaghra continued to be well-organised in their defence and the match became more exciting as each side was aiming to achieve their respective objective. However, the Wanderers found it very difficult to convert their play into scoring opportunities while Xaghra managed to produce more attempts towards a goal.

8’ Xaghra were dangerous through a header by Daniel Azzopardi from a corner kick by Michael Bezzina but the ball ended wide.

17’ Victoria could have created more danger but a low shot from an angled position by Emerson Zammit was well saved by Xaghra’s keeper Lorjean Xuereb.

21’ Xaghra’s goalie was again called to make an intervention to save a cross-shot by substitute Luke Fenech.

28’ Xaghra went very close to double the lead when Joel Xuereb released Leiner Garcia Panesso inside Victoria’s area but the latter saw his low drive aimed towards the far post that ended just wide.

33’ Xaghra had an attempt from outside the area by Matthias Cordina but the ball ended away from the goal.

38’  Xaghra once again threatened Victoria’s defence but a strike by Leiner Garcia Panesso from outside the area ended wide.

45+4’ Victoria’s goalie Omar Xuereb denied Xaghra from scoring the second goal when he turned to a corner a good shot from an idea position by Leiner Garcia Panesso.

FT (XU 1 – SKVW 0)

Referee: Wayne Sammut

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Written by GozoFA