Qala leave it late to clinch the win over Ghajnsielem

by | Apr 4, 2024 | 23/24, GFL 1st Div, Match Report, News

24 March 2024

GFA BOV Gozo Football League 1st Division (MD 18) Gozo Stadium

Qala Saints FC : 3

Ghajnsielem FC : 1

71’ (1-0) Igor Nedeljkovic

75’ (2-0) Christian Mercieca

79’ (2-1) Bruno Da Cruz

90+2’ (3-1) Igor Nedeljkovic

Qala S:

O. Attard, N. Inguanez, Jsph. Buttigieg, J.V. Ferrari Silva, M. Buttigieg, L.M. Dos Santos (N.C. Njoku 44), J. Parnis, C. Mercieca, I. Nedeljkovic, M. Xerri (S. Bajada 64).


L. Buttigieg, M. Ciangura (Al. Xuereb 63), T. Sciberras, B. Da Cruz, N.I. Belhadj, G. Emmanuel, E. De Souza Santos Pereira, W. Hiloi,. E. Grozdanov (C.H. Da Silva Barbosa 63),  M.A. Scicluna (N. Sultana 87), D. Hili (D. Grozdanov 87).

Qala Saints replied to Nadur’s win, in the respective match from Match-Day 18 of the championship, by defeating Ghajnsielem with a 3-1 score.  Qala’s win was hard-earned as they only managed to break the deadlock in the last part of the encounter.  The Maroons opened a two-goal lead but conceded a reaction from their opponents but they made sure of the three points by scoring a third goal a few moments away from the final whistle.  With this result, Ghajnsielem remains in a comfortable mid-table position with a good lead over the other teams in =volved in the red zone and with a possibility to improve their final position on the standings in the remaining league matches.

Qala as expected saw more of the ball but Ghajnsielem were organised in their defence and made it very difficult for the striker to crate danger.  The Blacks started the match without Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbos and Alberto Xuereb but the two players were introduced to the team for the final stages of the encounter.  The turning point of the match arrived a few minutes after the hour mark when Qala’s player-coach Shaun Bajada came onto the field of play as a substitute this move injected confidence in his players who increased their efforts and converted their superiority in goals.  The same Bajada also provided the ball to Igor Nedeljkovic to open the score during a difficult patch of the encounter.  The same Nedeljkovic also ended up the protagonist for his side by scoring two of the three goals.

Photo: Anthony Cassar


Qala tried to put pressure on Ghajnsielem’s defence from the early stages of the encounter but Ghajnsielem’s defensive deployment was well organised and protected their area so that the goalkeeper was only involved in normal administration without the need to make very difficult interventions.

2’ Qala went very close to scoring an early goal when Christian Mercieca delivered a good cross inside Ghajnsielem’s area but the close-ranged attempt by Igor Nedeljkovic was blocked by goalie Luke Buttigieg.

10’ The Maroons were again dangerous from a corner action taken by Lucas Matheus Dos Santos but the header by Nicholas Inguanez was wide.

14’ (protests for penalty) Qala protested for a penalty when Igor Nedeljkovic ended up on the floor inside the area following a challenge with an opponent but the referee ended up showing a yellow card to the striker for simulation.

19’ Ghajnsielem’s goalie Luke Buttigieg was well placed and neutralised a header by Nicholas Inguanez following a corner kick by Lucas Matheus Da Silva.

45+3’ Qala were again dangerous through an attempt from a free kick by Christian Mercieca that was turned to a corner by goalie Luke Buttigieg.

HT (0-0)

Second Half

Qala continued to struggle after the break to create good scoring opportunities while Ghajnsielem grew in confidence for some time play was quite interesting as the outcome was uncertain.  However, The Maroons scored two goals in the space of four minutes but conceded a comeback by the Blacks so that the final moments of the encounter were more exciting until Qala made use of the win by scoring their third goal.

16’ Qala were dangerous through a strike by Jordi Parnis that got a deflection and the ball ended in a corner.

13’ (protests for penalty) Ghajnsielem protested for a penalty when the defence tried to clear the ball from the danger area following a corner action.

16’  Qala’s Manwel Xerri had a strike from outside the area but the ball ended over the crossbar.

19’ Qala’s goalie Owen Attard was well placed and saved a shot by Ghajnsielem’s Bruno Da Cruz.

26’ (1-0) Qala managed to break the deadlock when player-coach Shaun Bajada, who entered the field of play as a substitute after the hour mark, delivered a cross from the left flank and Igor Nedeljkovic followed the action and netted from close distance.

30’ (2-0) The Saints doubled their lead when Ghajnsielem’s defence failed to clear the ball following a cross by Jordi Parnis and Christian Mercieca was at the right place and concluded in goal from an unmarked position.

34’ (2-1) Ghajnsielem re-opened the issue when Bruno Da Cruz followed a through pass by Godwin Emmanuel avoided the intervention of a defender and placed in goal as the goalkeeper left his position in an attempt to block the danger.

45’ (crossbar) Qala could have regained the two-goal lead but a header by Igor Nedeljkovic following a free kick by Shaun Bajada was stopped by the crossbar.

45+2’ (3-1) Qala sealed the win when they operated a breakthrough Jordi Parnis and from his pass, Igor Nedeljkovic entered the area and concluded in goal with a low drive.

FT (QS 3 – GHJ 1)

Referee: Slobodan Petrovic

Assistant Referees: Andrea Naudi, Carmel Vassallo

Photo: Anthony Cassar

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Written by GozoFA