14 October 2023
GFA 2nd Division Challenge Cup (MD 5) Kercem Stadium
Sannat Lions FC : 1
Zebbug Rovers FC : 3
13’ (0-1) Miguel Angel Moreno Ampudia
35’ (0-2) Miguel Angel Moreno Ampudia
89’ (1-2) Aaron Azzopardi
90+7’ (1-3) Stefan Farrugia
F. Portelli, M. Azzopardi (C. Buttigieg 46), K. Attard (M. Mifsud 46), G. Debrincat, D. Borg (E. Gauci 61), T. Agius, C. Dingli, L.S. Gomes, J. Bonnici (G. Portelli 54), A. Azzopardi, M. Farrugia (N. Grima 46).
L. Camilleri, P. Spiteri (C. Mifsud 72), M. Formosa, G. Grech, O. Calleja, M.A. Moreno Ampudia, H. Paulin (N.J. Cini 72), R. Saliba, L. Portelli, S. Farrugia, J. Azzopardi (R. Grech 90).
Zebbug Rovers ended the round-robin phase of the second division Challenge Cup with a 3-1 win over Sannat Lions so they registered three wins from five matches in this competition. The match did not have any particular interest since Sannat were already qualified for the final while Zebbug could only improve their final place on the table. With this result, Sannat compromised the possibility of winning the group stage, while Zebbug ended in a respectable third spot and will therefore start the campaign with more confidence that they can be challengers for the top positions.
Sannat started the match with a depleted side and during the first period, they found it very difficult to convert their play into good scoring opportunities, while Zebbug seemed well-organised and managed to end the first half with a two-goal lead. Sannat came out more determined after the break but they left it too late to reduce the score and during the dying moments they also conceded the third goal.
Play for most of the first half was quite balanced as the two sides were aiming to end the first phase of the competition on a positive note. However, Zebbug capitalised better from their best opportunities and took the break with a two-goal lead.
1’ Zebbug went very close to scoring an early goal but a shot from a good position by Harry Paulin following a cross from the right by Miguel Angel Moreno Ampudia was blocked by the defence.
1’ Sannat replied in the following action but a shot by Lucas Silva Gomes from close distance ended wide.
13’ (0-1) Zebbug opened the score when a cross from the left flank by Stefan Farrugia was turned into a goal by Miguel Angel Moreno Ampudia despite the challenge of his direct opponent.
23’ Sannat found it difficult to create danger from their efforts so Zebbug operated with counterbreak and could have scored another goal when a strike by Joston Azzopardi just missed the target.
35’ (0-2) Zebbug doubled their lead when Paul Spiteri delivered a cross inside Sannat’s area and Miguel Angel Moreno Ampudia fired in goal with a shot in the run.
Sannat tried to produce a reaction after the break and produced some pressure in an attempt to recover the deficit. However, Zebbug were well organised and managed to defend their lead although they ended up conceding a goal during the final moments of the encounter and risked throwing away their positive performance.
3’ Sannat were dangerous through a strike from outside the area by substitute Cyriel Buttigieg but the ball ended wide.
8’ Sannat went again close to score but a shot from long distance by Aaron Azzopardi ended just high.
22’ Zebbug’s goalie Leonard Camilleri was well placed and saved with some difficulty a shot by Lucas Silva Gomes that took a deflection and almost surprised the goalkeeper.
25’ The same goalkeeper made another difficult intervention to save in two attempts a low shot from an angled position by substitute Nicholas Grima.
33’ Sannat went again close to re-open the issue but a header by substitute George Portelli following a corner kick by Aaron Azzopardi ended just wide.
35’ Zebbug could have scored a third goal but a shot from outside the area by Joston Azzopardi ended inches wide.
36’ Sannat replied with another shot from a long distance by Gabriel Debrincat but the ball ended just over the crossbar.
39’ Sannt’s goalie Francesco Portelli was well placed and saved with some difficulty a shot by Zebbug’s substitute Nathan John Cini.
44’ (1-2) Sannat managed to reduce the deficit through a low shot directly from a free kick by Aaron Azzopardi that surprised Zebbug’s goalie.
45+7’ (1-3) Sannat tried to push more players forward during the final minutes and Zebbug took advantage of the space within Sannat’s territory to seal the win with the third goal that arrived through a low shot from outside the area by Stefan Farrugia that surprised the goalkeeper.
FT (SL 1 – ZR 3)
Referee: Jo-Anna Vassallo
Assistant Referees: Kieran Mallia, Kankaras Igor