10 March 2023
GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division I: T/4 (MD 17) Gozo Stadium
Xewkija Tigers FC : 3
Kercem Ajax FC: 1
24’ (0-1) Ognjen Rolovic
38’ (1-1) Matthias Mercieca
57’ (2-1) Rodney Buttigieg
90+2’ (3-1) Chris Camilleri
N. Kosanin, J. Vella (D. Mercieca), M. Mercieca (M. Bonnici), J. Buttigieg, R. Buttigieg, J.A. Hernandez Leal, D. Bogdanovic, A. Bozovic, D. Andelovic, S. Xuereb (C. Camilleri), C. Abela.
D. Spiteri, D. Cassar, L.H. Santana Motta, J. Theuma, B. Da Cruz, O. Rolovic, P. Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira, A. Mizzi, G. Cardona, K. Formosa, S. Azzopardi.
Xewkija Tigers came from behind in the match against Kercem Ajax and obtained a 3-1 win which earned them the first points in the second phase of the championship. The match turned out into an interesting encounter where each side prevailed over the other for a half each.
Kercem were undoubtedly the better side during the first half but they only managed to take the lead of one goal. The Ajax was aiming to make up for the disappointing defeat conceded in the match against the leaders which practically saw them dropping out of the challenge for the title. Kercem became demoralised when they conceded Xewkija’s equaliser and were surprised by Xewkija’s aggressive play after the break so that their reaction in an attempt to save the result was sterile and Xewkija’s goalie was not called to make any difficult intervention.
On the other hand, Xewkija’s win was well deserved. They were resilient during the first half and did not throw the towel when Kercem seemed too superior in their play during the second period. Xewkija managed to capitalise on the few chances created during the first half so that after the resumption they came out more motivated and administered play with authority. This was Xewkija’s first win over Kercem in the championship as Ajax had won the match between the two sides in the previous two rounds.
Kercem Ajax took command of play from the first minutes of the encounter and most of the time they created a danger to their opponents. However, Xewkija managed to resist and was not demoralised after conceding Kercem’s opener so the Tigers managed to recover the score with a goal that arrived near the end of the first period.
4’ Kercem created the first serious scoring opportunity but an attempt from a good position by Pablo Vinicius Ferreira ended wide.
6’ The same Vinicius Ferreira went again close to put his side in the lead but his close-range attempt was blocked by Xewkija’s keeper Nikola Kosanin and the same keeper also blocked the low shot by Karl Formosa from the rebound.
7’ Kercem’s Brazilian striker Vinicius Ferreira could have capitalised better but his shot on the run following an inviting low cross from the right by Gabriel Cardona missed the target.
17’ Xewkija’s goalkeeper Nikola Kosanin was well placed and saved with some difficulty and effort by Ognjen Rolovic after receiving from Gabriel Cardona.
19’ Xewkija almost surprised Kercem when Matthias Mercieca had a lob from outside the area aimed towards the far post that ended wide.
24’ (0-1) Kercem opened the score with a goal that arrived through a fine header by Ognjen `Rolovic following a free kick by Bruno Da Cruz that surprised Xewkija’s keeper.
33’ The Tigers went very close to score when Rodney Buttigieg won the ball from Kercem’s defence but his lob aimed towards an open goal, as Kercem’s goalie Daniel Spiteri was out of his position, ended just wide.
38’ (1-1) Xewkija scored the equaliser when Rodney Buttigieg delivered a low cross inside Kercem’s area and Matthias Mercieca took the ball, turned around the goalkeeper and concluded with a low shot.
Xewkija maintained their momentum after the break and became more confident in their play. The Tigers became more dangerous in their play and turned the result in their favour before the hour mark.
2’ Xewkija missed a good scoring opportunity when Sylvan Xuereb released Matthias Mercieca but the latter saw his attempt from an ideal position that was blocked by Kercem’s keeper Daniel Spiteri.
3’ The same goalkeeper was called to make another important intervention to deny Xewkija from scoring when he saved to a corner a low shot from outside the area by Damir Andelovic.
8’ The Tigers were again dangerous through an initiative by Matthias Mercieca but the young striker saw his low shot from a good position ending wide.
12’ (2-1) Xewkija went ahead when Rodney Buttigieg entered Kercem’s area from the right flank and fired in goal as the goalkeeper left his position in an attempt to block the danger.
21’ Xewkija went close to add another goal but an attempt from a free kick by Damir Andelovic ended wide.
29’ (protests for penalty) Kercem protested for a penalty when Pablo Vinicius Ferreira ended on the floor inside Xewkija’s area as he was challenged for the ball by an opponent.
39’ Kercem had their best opportunity to level the score when a cross from the right flank arrived to an unmarked Andrew Mizzi but the latter hit badly from a close distance and the ball ended away from goal.
45+2’ (3-1) Xewkija sealed the win with a strike from outside the area by substitute Chris Camilleri that ended out of the reach of Kercem’s goalie.
45+5’ Xewkija could have scored another goal but a low shot from an angled position by Josiah Buttigieg ended wide.
FT (XT 3 – KA 1)
Referee: Jason Portelli