Qala Saints win GFA 1st Division KO

by | Apr 6, 2024 | 23/24, GFL 1st Div, Match Report, News

30 March 2024
GFA 1st Division KO (Final) Gozo Stadium

Nadur Youngsters FC : 2
Qala Saints FC : 3

7’ (0-1) Igor Nedeljkovic
43’ (0-2) Lucas Baretto Da Silva
55’ (1-2) Stefan Cassar
68’ (penalty missed – saved) Marcelo Barbosa (NY)
78’ (2-2) o.g. Joseph Buttigieg
80’ (2-3) Igor Nedeljkovic

Nadur Y:
S. Sultana, M. Tabone, I. Xuereb, M. Pereira Muniz, J. Zammit, M. Barbosa, S. Cassar, G.
Hili (J.A. Ferreira Dos Santos 83), K. Grima (G. Muscat 46), B. Said (M. Said 46), J.V. De
Oliveira Florencio.

Qala S:
O. Attard, N. Inguanez, Jsph. Buttigieg, J.V. Ferrari Silva, M. Buttigieg, E. Buttigieg, J. Parnis
(L.M. Dos Santos 82), N.C. Njoku, C. Mercieca (M. Xerri 82), I. Nedeljkovic.

Qala Saints won the GFA 1st Division Knock Out for the first time in their history following a
deserved 3-2 win over Nadur Youngsters in the final of the competition. This was the eighth
edition of this competition which ed in the season 2014/2015, but did not take place for
two seasons due to the COVID restrictions. This final was also a repetition of the final match
which took place last season where Nadur won this honour for the third time with a 2-1

The final of the KO competition for the top flight this season came at a point where both
Nadur Youngsters and Qala Saints are challenging for the main honours of the Gozitan
football. The two sides are currently on equal points at the top of the BOV Gozo Football

League first division standings and in addition, the direct clash from the championship which
took place a few weeks ago ended in a draw. Therefore the two sides are considered to have
equal chances to lift the honours at stake during this last part of the 2023/2024 season.

In this match, Qala Saints seemed more determined to achieve the objective and throughout
the encounter, they were in better shape despite the fact that at one point Nadur recovered
a two-goal deficit. With this win, Qala overcame some inferiority complex, which they might
have exposed particularly when playing against Nadur Youngsters who dominated the
Gozitan football scene during the past years. This match against Nadur showed that Shaun
Bajada’s side is ready to seriously aim for the main honours in Gozitan football. Qala’s win
was undoubtedly a result of a collective effort where most of their players confirmed the
improvement registered during the past months. However, their striker Igor Nedeljkovic
ended up being the main protagonist of the encounter since he was a continuous threat to Nadur’s
rearguard and also scored two of the three goals that decided the issue.

After the match, the players and technical staff of Qala Saints were presented with medals
and the GFA KO trophy, among the celebrations of the supporters, by the President of
the Gozo Football Association, the Vice-Presidents Michael Angelo Grech and Charlie
Zammit, together with the General Secretary of the association Tony Grech

Photo: Anthony Cassar

During the opening minutes, Qala managed to impose their plan with a strong defence and
with a quick transition through vertical play that often surprised Nadur’s defence. The
Maroons scored an early goal, neutralised Nadur’s sterile reaction and justified their lead by
scoring a second goal minutes before halftime.
7’ (0-1) Qala opened the score when their goalkeeper kicked a long ball from the edge of his
area, Jordi Parnis prolonged with a header and Igor Nedeljkovic continued the action,
entered the area and placed in goal with a low shot towards the far post.
10’ Nadur’s goalie Steve Sultana was called to make an important intervention to block a
good shot by Qala’s Jordi Parnis.
12’ Nadur replied with an attempt from outside the area by Joseph Zammit but the ball
ended wide.

20’ Qala could have created more danger when Christian Mercieca delivered a cross from
the left flank towards the far post, but Jordi Parnis saw his shot on the run from close
distance that missed the target.
29’ Nadur’s Marcelo Barbosa had an attempt from a free kick but the ball ended over the
32’ Qala’s goalie Owen Attard saved well a good shot directly from a free kick by Marcelo
38’ Qala were again dangerous through a shot by Christian Mercieca but the ball ended
away from goal.
40’ Nadur’s goalie denied Qala from adding another goal when he saved on the fatal line a
fine header by Nathan Chukwudi Njoku following a corner kick by Igor Nedeljkovic.
42’ The same Igor Nedeljkovic had a good shot towards Nadur’s goal but the ball ended
wide. 43’ (0-2) fQala doubled their lead when Nadur’s defence failed to clear the ball from
their Area following a free kick by Igor Nedeljkovic and Lucas Baretto Da Silva took the
opportunity and fired in goal from close distance.
44’ Nadur replied with an attempt by Joao Vitor De Oliveira Florencio that ended wide.
HT (0-2)

Second Half
Nadur came out more determined for the second period and managed to return to contention
but Qala confirmed their good moment of form and managed to score the decisive goal
immediately after conceding the equaliser so that they defended their lead in the remaining
minutes of the match.
10’ (1-2) Nadur re-opened the issue when they reduced the deficit through a tap-in by Stefan
Cassar following an initiative by Joao Vitor De Oliveira Florencio.
15’ Nadur tried to increase their effort and could have created more danger but a curling shot
by Marcelo Barbosa following a personal action ended wide.
21’ (penalty missed – saved) penalty Nadur had an opportunity to level the score when
Qala’s Joao Vitor Ferrari Silva handled the ball in an attempt to block a low cross by Joao
Vitor De Oliveira Florencio but the shot from the penalty spot by Marcelo Barbosa was saved
by Qala’s goalie Owen Attard.
32’ Nadur’s goalie Steve Sultana kept his side in contention with a good save following a
shot by Qala’s Igor Nedeljkovic.

33’ (2-2) Nadur managed to clinch the equaliser when Qala’s central defender Joseph
Buttigieg hit badly and committed an own goal in his attempt to deny Marcelo Barbosa from
controlling the ball from the kick of Nadur’s goalie, as the ball took a direction towards his
goal which was unattended.
35’ (2-3) Qala had an immediate reaction and regained the lead by scoring the goal that
decided the encounter when Lucas Baretto Da Silva released Igor Nedeljkovic from the
midfield and the latter ran towards Nadur’s area and lobbed into an open goal as Nadur’s
The goalie left his position in an attempt to block the danger.

FT (NY 2 – QS 3)
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Asst. Referees: Kurt Spiteri, Paul Apap
4th Official: Andrea Sciriha

Photo: Anthony Cassar

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Written by GozoFA