Qala held to a draw and give up their hopes to win the title

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

21 April 2024

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

Oratory Youths FC : 0

Qala Saints FC : 0

90+8’ (red card) Lucas Baretto Da Silva (QS)

Oratory Y:

A. Brignoli, P. Rapa (O. Curmi 90+9), K. Farrugia, J. Buttigieg (A. Sultana 79), L.B. Coca, A. Azzopardi, R.C. Prudente, R. Saliba, H. Muscat, G. Santos Silva, R. Almeida Lopes.

Qala S:

O. Attard, N. Inguanez (M. Xerri 64), Jsph. Buttigieg (M. Buttigieg 75), J.V. Ferrari Silva, L.B. Da Silva, L.M. Dos Santos (S. Bajada 75), E. Buttigieg, J. Parnis, N.C. Njoku, C. Mercieca, I. Nedeljkovic.

In the penultimate match of the BOV Gozo Football League of the first division for the 2023/2024 season, contenders for the title Qala Saints were surprisingly held to a goalless draw by relegation strugglers Oratory Youths so that they missed an opportunity to remain tied to the other challengers Nadur Youngsters and force a decider for the winner of the championship.  Qala therefore compromised their chances to win the main honour in Gozitan football for the first time in the final match of the campaign despite a very positive season where they were at the top position for several weeks along the campaign.  On the other hand, this result awarded a decisive point to Oratory so that they made sure that they would avoid the last two places in the final standings.

This was another match of the final Match-Day where the two sides needed points for different ambitions.  Qala were aiming to extend a very good run of wins to remain at the top position and could have become champions in the case that Nadur Youngsters dropped points in their last match of the championship.  Qala also needed a win because they would have played their chances to become champions in a decider against Nadur Youngsters in the case that the latter obtained a win.  In this match against Oratory Qala confirmed their potential in all departments and enjoyed supremacy for long stretches through a collective effort.  The Maroons created various scoring opportunities but they were either erratic or in other cases they were denied from scoring by difficult interventions by Oratory’s goalie Angelo Brignoli or by the woodwork.  Qala produced their best play during the first half but after the break, they became frustrated and failed to maintain the same intensity of play as they did during the first half.  Although this was a disappointing result for Qala, since they did not manage to achieve their main objective, they still should be proud of their performances as this was their second consecutive season where they were among the main protagonists in the Gozitan championship.

Qala’s disappointing result arrived mainly due to Oratory’s determination to obtain the points that they needed to avoid relegation.  The Youths confirmed the improvement registered during the matches of the third and final round and managed to avoid the relegation places in the last match despite the fact that they were in serious relegation trouble for most of the time during the championship.  In the match against Qala, the Youths did not show any inferiority complex.  They were well organised in their defence and very often they also threatened their more quoted opponents with effective breaks.  In the end, Oratory were rewarded for their efforts and their celebrations at the end of the match were justified.

Timeline:

Oratory seemed determined to share play with their opponents during the opening minutes but after a few minutes, Qala took command of the play and produced continuous pressure on Oratory’s defence.  However, the Maroons found it extremely difficult to convert their superiority in goals and the first half ended in a goalless draw despite several scoring opportunities.

3’ Oratory produced the first scoring opportunity of the encounter when Leonardo Bruno Coca released Joshua Buttigieg who entered Qala’s area but goalie Owen Attard left his position in time and blocked the danger.

8’ Qala’s keeper Owen Attard was called to make an important intervention to turn to a corner a strike from outside the area by Leonardo Bruno Coca following a personal action.

9’ Qala replied with a shot from outside the area by Nicholas Inguanez that was saved without difficulty by Oratory’s goalie Angelo Brignoli.

10’ (protests for penalty) Qala went very close to taking the lead when Igor Nedeljkovic hit towards an open goal despite the pressure from Oratory’s central defender Luis Gabriel Santos Silva and ended on the floor inside the area among protests for a penalty but as the ball seemed heading towards goal, the same Silva cleared off the fatal line to avoid a certain goal.

18’ (protests for penalty) Qala once again protested for a penalty when Igor Nedeljkovic ended up on the floor inside the area as he tried to pass Oratory’s defence.

19’ Oratory’s goalie Angelo Brignoli was called to make a difficult save to turn to a corner a fine shot from outside the area by Christian Mercieca.

20’ (crossbar) From the resultant corner action Oratory failed to clear the ball from their territory so that Qala regained possession but at the end, the header by Joao Votor Ferrari Silva was stopped by the crossbar.

21’ Oratory’s goalie was again called to make an important intervention to save a close-range header by Igor Nedeljkovic following a free kick by Lucas Mattheis Dos Santos.

26’ Qala’s Christian Mercieca had a first-timer from outside the area following a clearance by Oratory’s defence but the ball ended away from goal.

30’ (protests for penalty) Qala once again protested for a penalty when Lucas Baretto Da Silva ended up on the floor as he tried to pass his direct opponent.

34’ Oratory’s goalie was well placed and neutralised an effort by Jordi Parnis from a good position after receiving from Joseph Buttigieg.

38’ Qala’s Lucas Mattheus Dos Santos had a low shot from outside the area that was saved by goalie Angelo Brignoli.

39’ Qala went very close to opening the score when Igor Nedeljkovic delivered a cross inside Oratory’s area from the left flank that surprised Oratory’s defence and the ball arrived to an unmarked Christian Mercieca who saw his close-ranged attempt that was saved with difficulty by goalie Angelo Brignoli.

42’ (post) The Maroons kept insisting and were again dangerous when Jordi Parnis’s cross from the right flank arrived to Joao Vitor Ferrari Silva but the latter saw his header was stopped by the post and for the rebound the shot by Jordi Parnis missed the target.

45’ Oratory threatened Qala’s rearguard through a strike by Ryan Saliba but goalie Owen Attard managed to save the danger to a corner.

HT (0-0)

Second Half

The match continued on the same pattern after the break as Qala increased their efforts in an attempt to break the deadlock while Oratory continued to be organised in their defence and tried to surprise their opponents with sporadic breaks.  However, the actions at the two ends of the field were rare and the outcome of this encounter remained uncertain until the final stages.

13’ Qala’s Igor Nedeljkovic had a shot from a good position but the ball ended wide.

15’ The Maroons were awarded an indirect free kick inside Oratory’s area when goalie Angelo Brignoli collected a back pass but Igor Nedeljkovic’s shot was blocked by the wall and from the rebound the shot by Joao Votor Ferrari Silva missed the target.

22’ Oratory was again dangerous through a curling shot by Leonardo Bruno Coca that ended over the crossbar.

22’ Qala replied with an effort by Igor Nedeljkovic that was well saved by Oratory’s goalie Angelo Brignoli.

37’ Oratory missed a good opportunity to put their heads in front when Ryan Saliba won the ball from Qala’s defence but his shot from a good position missed the target.

40’ Qala’s player-coach Shaun Bajada, who entered the field of play as a substitute, had an attempt directly from a corner kick that was turned to another corner with difficulty by Oratory’s goalie Angelo Brignoli.

45+8’ (red card) Qala ended the match on a negative note s they had Lucas Baretto Da Silva who was sent off for throwing the ball at an opponent.

FT (OY 0 – QS 0)

Referee: Andrea Sciriha

Assistant Referees: Max-Lee Muscat, Jareth Grima

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