Xaghra United reach KO final with a late goal

by | Apr 9, 2023 | 22/23, BOV GFA Cup, Fixtures, GFL 2nd Div, Match Report

5 April 2023

GFA Division II KO S/final 2 Gozo Stadium

Xaghra United FC : 2

SK Victoria Wanderers : 1

18’ (1-0) Matthias Cordina

58’ (1-1) Owen Fenech

90+1’ (2-1) Luke Sultana

Xaghra U:

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

SK Victoria W:

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

Xaghra United scored a last-gasp goal in the second semi-final match of the 2nd Division Knock Out competition against champions and Challenge Cup winners SK Victoria Wanderers to earn a place in the final against holders Zebbug Rovers.  With this result, Xaghra will have the possibility to end a season by winning the second most important honour for the second division.

The match between Xaghra United and SK Victoria Wanderers turned out to be balanced and with a certain outcome as the other six encounters between the two sides throughout the season.  Xaghra were the better side for most of the first half but they found it difficult to create serious danger although they took the break in the lead with a goal that arrived from a set-piece.  Victoria prevailed after the break and created more scoring opportunities.  The Citizens scored the equaliser but failed to turn the result in their favour mainly due to a series of important interventions by Xaghra’s keeper Lorjean Xuereb.  Xaghra however surprised their opponents in the first minute of stoppage time and scored the goal that the end decided the encounter.

Timeline:

Xaghra United came out more determined and dictated matters for most of the first period.  Xaghra scored a goal at an early stage and took the driving seat so that the Wanderers struggled to produce a reaction and only managed to threaten Xaghra’s rear guard during the final stages of the first period.

10’ Victoria’s goalie Omar Xuereb was called to make a difficult save to turn to a corner a strike from a long distance by Christian Debono.

18’ (1-0) Xaghra opened the score with a goal that arrived directly from a free kick by Matthias Cordina that ended in the upper corner of the net and out of the reach of the goalkeeper.

29’ Victoria’s reply arrived through an attempt from a free kick from long distance by Joseph George Vella that was neutralised by Xaghra’s goalie Lorjean Xuereb.

39’ The same Vella could have created more danger from a free kick that was awarded just outside the area but the ball ended away from the goal.

43’ Victoria’s Aud-Gustine James Obaje tried to pass with a personal action but his final shot from outside the area missed the target.

45’ (protests for penalty) the wanderers protested for a penalty when Aud-Gustine James Obaje ended up on the floor inside Xaghra’s area following a challenge with an opponent.

45+1’ Victoria’s best opportunity to level the score arrived from a header by Neil Camilleri from a corner kick by Joseph George Vella but goalie Lorjean Xuereb pulled a good save and turned the ball to another corner.

HT (1-0)

Second Half

The match became much more contested after the break as the Wanderers maintained their momentum and increased their pressure on Xaghra’s defence in an attempt to recover the deficit.  Victoria reached their objective before the hour mark and for the rest of the encounter the two sides went all out to obtain the lead but the actions on goal were rare so the outcome became uncertain and the win could have gone either way.

1’ The Wanderers went very close to scoring the equaliser after just 14 seconds of play when a strike by substitute Kersten Grima was partially blocked by Xaghra’s defence but goalie Lorjean Xuereb recovered in time and cleared the ball with difficulty to a corner.  From the same corner kick taken by Owen Fenech, Victoria’s Neil Camilleri hit badly and the ball ended wide.

7’ Xaghra’s goalie was again called to make an important intervention to save a shot from an angled position by Victoria’s Joseph George Vella.

13’ (1-1) The Citizens levelled the score through a shot directly from a long-range free kick by Owen Fenech that surprised Xaghra’s defence and ended in a goal.

31’ Xaghra’s goalie Lorjean Xuereb denied the Citizens from taking the lead when he managed to block an attempt by Aud-Gustine James following a melee in front of the goalmouth from a corner action.

45+1’ (2-1) Xaghra scored the goal that decided the issue when substitute Luke Meilak entered the area from the right flank and from his low cross Victoria’s defence failed to clear the danger so that the other substitute Luke Sultana arrived on the ball and placed easily into an open goal.

FT (XU 2 – SKVW 1)

Referee: Patrick Falzon

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Written by GozoFA