12 November 2023
GFA Knock Out 1st Division (Q/finals) Kercem Stadium
Ghajnsielem FC : 1
Xewkija Tigers FC : 2
9’ (0-1) Stefan Tesic
51’ (1-1) Alberto Xuereb
84’ (1-2) Stefan Tesic
C. Camilleri, M. Ciangura, Al. Xuereb (K. Bajada 79), L.H. Santana Motta, B. Da Cruz, D. Attard (K. Hili 46), Ant. Xuereb, G. Emmanuel, P. Vella (N.I. Belhadj 46), M.A. Scicluna (N. Sultana 86), C.H. Da Silva Barbosa.
N. Kosanin, J. Axiak, Js. Vella (K. Farrugia 64, M. Xuereb 90+2), D. Bogdanovic, M. Mercieca, Ju. Vella (A. Debrincat 64), A. Bozovic (Jos. Buttigieg 46), D. Bugeja, D. Andelovic, H. Bonnici (R. Buttigieg 46), S. Tesic.
Xewkija Tigers scored a goal in each half in their match against Ghajnsielem from the quarter-finals of the Knock Out competition for the first division. The match was well contested and the qualification remained in contention until the final moments. In the semi-finals, Xewkija will be meeting holders Nadur Youngsters.
The two sides tried to obtain a win in an attempt to gain confidence prior to the next commitments in the championship which will resume at the beginning of September. Xewkija are trying to recover from a difficult period which they experienced during the final matches of the first round, while Ghajnsielem needed a win to consolidate the recovery which they achieved in the championship where they moved away from the lower places on the table. As a result, the match was conditioned by some pressure and both committed some mistakes in their respective defence and they were also both erratic in their finishing.
Xewkija managed to clinch the win through a brace by Stefan Tesic, with the goals scored at the beginning of the first half and near the end of the regular time. On the other hand, Ghajnsielem showed character with a determined recovery after conceding an early goal but lacked the energy to force a reaction during the final stages.
The two sides came out determined to obtain a win so that play was quite balanced with some good scoring opportunities at the two ends of the field.
1’ Ghajnsielem almost surprised their opponents in the first action of the encounter but an effort by Bruno Da Cruz ended high.
2’ Xewkija had an immediate reaction and could have opened the score but a shot from close distance by Stefan Tesic was partially saved by goalie Carlos Camilleri and the defence cleared the danger from the area.
9’ (0-1) Xewkija took the lead when Julian Vella took the ball from Ghajnsielem’s defence and Stefan Tesic took advantage of the situation and placed easily in goal from close distance.
15’ Ghajnsielem replied with a header by Godwin Emmanuel following a cross by Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbosa that was neutralised by goalie Nikola Kosanin.
19’ Xewkija’s goalie was again well placed and saved without difficulty a shot from an angled position by Paul Vella.
26’ Ghajnsielem’s goalie Carlos Camilleri denied Xewkija from scoring another goal when he saved to a corner a shot from close distance by Stefan Tesic.
27’ Ghajnsielem could have capitalised better in the following action as Claudio Henrique Da Siva Barbosa ran away from Xewkija’s defence and turned around the goalkeeper but his attempt aimed towards an open goal missed the target.
33’ Xewkija missed a good opportunity to increase their lead when John Axiak delivered a cross from the left flank but Stefan Tesic concluded wide with a shot on the run.
40’ Xewkija could have created more danger but a low shot by Hayden Bonnici was saved without difficulty by Ghajnsielem’s goalie Carlos Camilleri.
43’ Xewkija’s goalie was well placed and neutralised a shot from a long distance by Ghajnsielem’s Bruno Da Cruz.
45+1’ (goal disallowed) Ghajnsielem’s Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbosa passed inside Xewkija’s area and from his cross Godwin Emmanuel concluded in the net but the goal was disallowed for an offside infringement.
Ghajnsielem came out for the second period determined to recover the deficit and managed to level the score after a few minutes so that for most of the remaining minutes of the second half the match became much more contested but with few open scoring opportunities.
3’ Ghajnsielem created danger towards Xewkija’s goal when Bruno Da Cruz passed to Godwin Emmanuel inside the area but the latter saw his low shot that ended just wide.
6’ (1-1) The Blacks levelled the score through a shot from outside the area by Alberto Xuereb, following an initiative by Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbosa, that surprised goalie Nikola Kosanin.
17’ (post) Xewkija went very close to regain the lead but a low shot by substitute Rodney Buttigieg was stopped by the post.
35’ Xewkija’s goalie Nikola Kosanin was almost surprised following a shot from outside the area by Bruno Da Cruz, but the extreme defender recovered and saved in two attempts.
37’ Xewkija were dangerous through an attempt from a free kick by Dejan Bogdanovic but the ball ended over the crossbar.
39’ (1-2) Xewkija regained the lead and scored the goal that decided the issue when Stefan Tesic entered Ghajnsielem’s territory from the midfield and placed in goal with a low shot as the goalkeeper left his position in an attempt to block the danger.
45+1’ (protests for penalty) Ghajnsielem protested for a penalty alleging handling when Xewkija’s defence tried to clear the ball from their area.
45+3’ Xewkija could have sealed the win with a third goal but a shot from a good position by Stefan Tesic ended away from goal.
FT (GHJ 1 – XT 2)
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Asst. Referees: Duncan Sultana, Vasil Vasilev