Kercem Ajax relegated and Ghajnsielem to face the Play-Off

by | Apr 27, 2024 | 23/24, GFL 1st Div, Match Report, News

19 April 2024

GFA BOV Gozo Football League 1st Division (MD 21) Gozo Stadium

Ghajnsielem FC : 1

Kercem Ajax FC : 1

18’ (0-1) Olimpio Gabriel Fernandes

84’ (1-1) Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbosa



L. Buttigieg, M. Ciangura, T. Sciberras, B. Da Cruz, G. Emmanuel (K. Bajada 90+3), E. De Souza Santos Pereira, W. Hili, E. Grozdanov (K. Hili 56), M.A. Scicluna (D. Attard 56), C.H. Da Silva Barbosa, D. Hili (N.I. Belhadj 56).

Kercem A:

D. Spiteri, D. Cassar, I. Barbosa Da Silva, J. Theuma, O.G. Fernandes, K.L. Nunes Santos, P. Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira, A. Mizzi, G. Cardona, K. Formosa, S. Azzopardi.

The direct clash from the relegation zone of the last Match-Day of the top flight between Ghajnsielem and Kercem Ajax ended in a draw of two goals and with this result, and the results of the other matches of the same Match-Day, Kercem Ajax ended up being relegated to the lower division after twelve years in the main championship in Gozo.  The result was more satisfying for Ghajnsielem as they avoided direct relegation or a decider, but they will have to defend their status in the Relegation/Promotion Play-Off against the runners-up of the second division Sannat Lions since they ended up in second place from the bottom of the final standings due to an inferior goal difference against Oratory Youths.

The outcome of this encounter ended a very difficult campaign for the two sides who struggled against the relegation since the opening matches.  Kercem failed to recover from a difficult start and despite some very encouraging performances they failed to obtain positive results.  Kercem however managed to gather 20 points from the 21 matches but still failed to put other teams behind them on the table.  Ghajnsielem’s final placing on the table also reflects a problematic season.  Ghajnsielem tried to play with many young players from their nursery and ended up conceding defeats by a large margin which in the end determined their position in the final standings on the table.  Ghajnsielem was in a favourable position before the last three matches of the campaign but compromised their lead over the other teams involved in the relegation zone so they did not manage to improve the seventh place.



The first part of the encounter was quite balanced as the two sides were aggressive and tried to take command of the play.  As a result, serious scoring opportunities at the two ends of the field of play were very rare.  However, Kercem managed to take the lead and took the driving seat so that they managed to neutralise Ghajnsielem’s reaction and also operated some breaks where they could have increased their lead.

8’ Kercem created the first serious scoring opportunity but a header by Kiao Lucas Nunes Santos from a corner kick by Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira ended wide.

18’ (0-1) Kercem opened the score when a cross from the left flank by Andrew Mizzi arrived to an unmarked Olimpio Gabriel Fernandes who concluded easily in goal with a low shot.

24’ Kercem should have created more danger but a shot by Kiao Lucas Nunes Santos was blocked by the defence and from the rebound the shot by Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Fereira got a deflection and the ball ended in a corner.

HT (0-1)

Second Half

After the break, Ghajnsielem continued to find it very difficult to create danger towards Kercem’s goal as the Ajax continued to be well deployed and were more dangerous with their breaks.  However, the Kercem failed to capitalise on some good scoring opportunities and as a result Ghajnsielem remained in contention and achieved their objective with a goal scored six minutes from the end of regular time.

7’ Kercem’s Daniel Cassar had a shot from a good position that missed the target.

15’ Kercem could have created more danger when Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira unmarked Gabriel Cardona but the latter hit badly and the defence blocked to a corner.  From the resultant corner action and overhead kick by Kercem’s Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira was neutralised by goalie Luke Buttigieg.

17’ Kercem’s goalie Daniel Spiteri was well placed and saved without difficulty a shot from outside the area by Bruno Da Cruz.

19’ Ghajnsielem’s goalie Luke Buttigieg kept his side in contention when he blocked a low shot by Kercem’s Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira was alone inside the area.

20’ (post) Kercem went again very close to doubling their lead but an effort by Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreria following a cross from the right flank was stopped by the post.

21’ Kercem kept insisting and were again dangerous through a low shot by Jason Theuma from inside Ghajnsielem’s area but the ball ended wide.

26’ Ghajnsielem almost punished their opponent for the missed chances as an effort by substitute Deacon Attard from a corner kick by Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbosa ended just wide.

28’ Kercem were again dangerous when Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira entered Ghajnsielem’s area from the left-hand side but from his inviting cross, Gabriel Cardona failed to conclude from a close distance and the defence cleared the danger.

29’ Ghajnsielem’s goalie Luke Buttigieg had good timing and left his position at the right moment to take the ball and deny Pablo Vinicius De Mores Ferreira from scoring the second goal for his side.

31’ Kercem’s goalie Daniel Spiteri was called to make a difficult intervention when he saved two attempts of a shot from outside the area by Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbosa.

38’ Kercem’s Gabriel Cardona passed inside Ghajnsielem’s area with a personal action but his low drive was cleared off the line by defender Marco Ciangura.

39’ (1-1) Ghajnsielem clinched the equaliser through a fine strike from outside the area by Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbosa that ended out of the reach of Kercem’s goalie.

FT (GHJ 1 – KA 1)

Referee: Malcolm Spiteri

Asst. Referees: Max-Lee Muscat, Patrick Falzon

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Written by GozoFA