4 February 2024
GFA BOV Gozo Football League 1st Division (MD 12) Gozo Stadium
Qala Saints FC: 2
Xewkija Tigers FC : 1
38’ (0-1) Brian Alejandro Parada
62’ (1-1) Nathan Chukwudi Njoku
75’ (2-1) Christian Mercieca
O. Attard, N. Inguanez, Jsph. Buttigieg, J.V. Ferrari Silva, L.B. Da Silva, M. Buttigieg (N.C. Njoku 55), L.M. Dos Santos, E. Buttigieg, J. Parnis (S. Curmi 90+3), C. Mercieca, I. Nedeljkovic.
N. Kosanin, Js. Vella (Ju. Vella 83), M. Mercieca (J. Axiak 64), J. Buttigieg (H. Bonnici 83), A. Debrincat (M. Bonnici 74), R. Buttigieg (S. Xuereb 74), A. Bozovic, C.D. Frances, D. Bugeja, B.A. Parada, C. Abela.
Qala Saints took full advantage of the result of Nadur’s match from Match-Day 12 of the BOV Gozo Football League of the first division and obtained the full points at stake from a 2-1 win over Xewkija Tigers. Qala’s victory was hard-earned as they had to come from behind to turn a defeat into a win with second-half goals.
This was an important match for the two sides as Qala needed the points to remain the main challengers for the current leaders while Xewkija needed the three points to retain their chances to join the top positions on the table. As a result, the Qala and Xewkija produced an interesting encounter where the outcome remained uncertain. Qala clinched the win through their experience and determination as they struggled to impose their play during the first half of the encounter but the Maroons increased their efforts after the break and became much more dangerous than their opponents. The points obtained by Qala were therefore well deserved and confirmed their potential as serious challengers for the main honour in Gozitan football.
Qala came out for this match with the intention to take command of play from the early stages but Xewkija were well-organised and denied the Maroons from creating serious danger. As time passed by Xewkija came out of their defence and managed to take the break with a one-goal lead.
10’ (protests for penalty) Qala protested for a penalty following a challenge between Xewkija’s Aleksa Bozovic and Qala’s Igor Nedeljkovic but the referee awarded a free kick just outside the area.
16’ (crossbar) Xewkija went very close to take the lead but an attempt directly from a free kick by Claudio Daniel Frances was stopped by the crossbar.
20’ Qala missed a good opportunity to create more danger when a cross from Christian Mercieca arrived to an unmarked Igor Nedeljkovic but the latter hit badly and the ball ended wide.
25’ (protest for penalty) Xewkija protested for a penalty following a challenge by defender Nicholas Inguanez on Brian Alejandro Parada but the match officials did not notice any infringement
27’ Qala could have created more danger but a lob by Lucas Matheus Da Silva when Xewkija’s goalie was out of his position ended wide.
31’ Qala’s goalie Owen Attard was called to make a difficult intervention to turn to a corner a header by Aleksa Bozovic following a corner kick by Claudio Daniel Frances.
33’ Qala missed an open scoring opportunity when Lucas Matheus Dos Santos passed inside Xewkija’s area and turned around the goalkeeper but missed the pass the attempt by Christian Mercieca was cleared from the goalmouth by central defender Josmar Vella.
38’ (0-1) Xewkija took the lead with a goal that arrived from a fine header that passed through a close angle by Brian Alejandro Parada following a corner kick by Claudio Daniel Frances.
Qala came out for the second period determined to recover the deficit and they not only managed to achieve their objective just after the hour mark but also scored the goal that decided the issue when there was not much time left for their opponents to save the result.
3’ Qala missed an open scoring opportunity when Lucas Matheus Dos Santos delivered a cross from the right flank that arrived to an unmarked Igor Nedejkovic but the latter saw his close-ranged attempt, with an open goal at his mercy, that was stopped by the crossbar.
6’ The Marrons went again close to level the score but Joseph Buttigieg’s close-ranged shot following a free kick by Lucas Matheus Dos Santos missed the target.
8’ Xewkija were denied from scoring the second goal when Claudio Daniel Frances took the ball from the goalkeeper outside Qala’s area and the attempt by the same Frances was cleared off the goalmouth by central defender Joao Vitor Ferrari Silva.
17’ (1-1) Qala were rewarded for their efforts and levelled the score when Xewkija’s defence was exposed and a cross from the left flank by Igor Nedeljkovic arrived to an unmarked Nathan Chukwudi Njoku, who came in as a substitute during the second period, and the young striker conclude towards the upper part of the far post with a fine shot.
26’ (protests for penalty) Qala protested for a penalty following a challenge by Xewkija’s goalie on Igor Nedeljkovi but the referee ordered that play shall resume with a corner kick.
27’ From the resultant corner kick the ball arrived to an unmarked Joao Vitor Ferrari Silva but his attempt ended away from goal.
30’ (2-1) Qala scored the goal that decided the issue when Lucas Matheus Dos Santos delivered the ball inside Xewkija’s area from a free kick, the defence failed to clear and Christian Mercieca took the opportunity and fired in goal with a low shot.
31’ (post) Xewkija almost made up for the goal in the following action as Brian Alejandro Parada entered Qala’s area, and resisted to the challenge by his direct opponent but the striker saw his attempt was stopped by the post.
FT (QS 1 – XT 2)
Referee: Alex Johnson
Asst. Referees: Mark Ciantar, Paul Apap
Photos Paul Scicluna