12 April 2023
GFA Division I KO Final Gozo Stadium
Nadur Youngsters FC : 2
Qala Saints FC : 1
11’ (1-0) Marcelo Barbosa
30’ (red card) Igor Nedeljkovic (NY)
32’ (1-1) Rafael Conrado Prudente
41’ (2-1) Gennaro Hili
S. Sultana, L.B. Da Silva, M. Tabone, I. Xuereb, J. Zammit, M.Jr. Barbosa (J. Xerri), S. Cassar (M.P. Camilleri), G. Hili (G. Farrugia), G. Muscat, I. Nedeljkovic, P. Dordevic.
O. Attard, L. Grima (S. Bajada), Jsph. Buttigieg (M. Buttigieg), J.V. Ferrari Silva, Jsh. Buttigieg (N.C. Njoku), A. Carvalho, S. Attard, E. Buttigieg, J. Parnis, R.C. Prudente, M. Xerri.
Nadur Youngsters retained the honour as winners of the first division Knock Out Competition for the second consecutive year, and for the third time in the club’s history, with a 2-1 win in the final against Qala Saints. Nadur’s win gains more credit as they played more than an hour of the final with a player less on the field of play as the Youngsters had a player sent off on the half-hour mark.;
The two main protagonists of the championship Nadur Youngsters, who were already mathematically champions, and Qala Saints who were already sure of their runners-up position, came out determined to win this honour and as a result, the match turned out to be worthy of a final and with an uncertain outcome. Nadur however made good use of their experience and capitalised from two set-pieces to score the decisive goals of the encounter. Qala struggled to create serious danger towards Nadur’s goal remarkably when the Youngsters were reduced to ten players as the latter re-organised their deployment to consolidate their defence and ended up defending their one-goal lead until the final whistle. With this result Nadur is now in a position to aim to repeat the success obtained in the last season when they won the three main competitions in Gozitan football, the BOV Gozo Football League championship, the BOV GFA Cup and the KO competition.
After the match, the President of the Gozo Football Association, and other officials of the association, presented the medals and the KO trophy to Nadur’s players and staff among the celebrations of their supporters.
Play during the first period was quite balanced as the two sides were aggressive in an attempt to take command of the encounter. Nadur had a better start and showed experience when they ended up playing with a player less, and also conceded an immediate equaliser from their opponents, as they regained the lead a few minutes before the break.
9’ (post) The Youngsters went very close to open the score when Qala’s rear guard failed to clear a corner kick by Marcelo Barbosa and the ball arrived to an unmarked Predrag Dordevic who saw his low drive stopped by the post.
11’ (1-0) From the following action Nadur won a free kick just outside Qala’s area and Marcelo Jr Barbosa opened the score with the shot from the set-piece that ended out of the reach of the goalkeeper.
13’ The Maroons replied with an effort by Rafael Conrado Prudente who passed through Nadur’s defence but his final shot was weak and goalie Steve Sultana saved without difficulty.
16’ Qala’s goalie Owen had good timing and took the ball from Marcelo Barbosa in two attempts to deny the striker from concluding towards goal from an ideal position.
18’ The same goalkeeper was almost surprised but managed to block a shot from outside the area by Joseph Zammit following a personal action.
30’ (red card) Nadur were reduced to ten players when Igor Nedeljkovic was shown a second yellow card for a foul away from the danger area on Manwel Xerri.
32’ (1-1) Qala took immediate advantage of the extra player and levelled the score when Lawrence Grima delivered a cross from the right flank but Nadur’s goalie Steve Sultana partially saved a header by Joshua Buttigieg and the shot from the rebound by Jordi Parnis so that Rafael Conrado Prudente followed the action and took the second rebound to place in goal with a close range header.
37’ Nadur’s goalie Steve Sultana was well-paced and saved with some difficulty an attempt from a good position by Jordi Parnis.
41’ (2-1) Nadur however punished their opponents and regained the lead with a goal that arrived from a free kick from a long distance by Gennaro Hili that surprised the defence and the goalkeeper and the ball ended in the net.
45+2’ Qala went close to level the score but a header by Rafael Conrado Prudente from a cross by Ayesller Carvalho was well saved by goalie Steve Sultana.
Qala came out more aggressive for the second period and held the initiative of play in an attempt to recover the deficit but Nadur was well organised in their defence and for most of the time they managed to keep the danger away from their area and threatened Qala’s rear guard following sporadic breaks.
9’ Nadur almost added another goal but an effort by Marcelo Barbosa was saved to a corner by Qala’s goalie Owen Attard.
11’ Qala could have created more danger but a header from a good position by Joshua Buttigieg following a cross by Lawrence Grima ended wide.
17’ Nadur’s goalie Steve Sultana made a difficult save to deny the Maroons from scoring a second equaliser as he managed to block a close-range header by Rafael Conrado Prudente following a cross by Ayesller Carvalho and the defence cleared the danger from their area.
29’ Qala’s goalie Owen Attard was again called to make another critical intervention to save a low shot by Marcelo Barbosa who insisted on the personal in personal action.
45’ Qala missed a good opportunity to force extra time but a header by Rafael Conrado Prudente following a cross from the right flank by Ayesller Carvalho ended wide.
45+2’ Nadur’s goalie was well placed and neutralised without difficulty a header by Joao Vitor Ferrari Silva following a good cross from the right flank by Jordi Parnis.
45+4’ The same goalkeeper was again at the right place to neutralise a free kick from a long distance by player-coach Shaun Bajada who came on the field of play as a substitute for the final minutes of the encounter.
45+5’ Nadur could have sealed the win but a shot by substitute Joseph Xerri was blocked by the defence and from the rebound the other substitute Gabriel Farrugia took the ball and entered the area but his low shot ended wide.
FT (NY 2 – QS 1)
Referee: Andrea Sciriha