MFA FA Trophy Rd. 1
Qala Saints   Santa Lucia
Qala Saints : 2   3 : Santa Lucia

(M. Buttigieg 71’pen., A. Cini 89’)

 

(J. Cutajar 8’, 47’; R. Refalo 114’)

F. Buttigieg, J. Rapa, M. Buttigieg, J. Attard, D. Portelli, D. Cutajar, J. Galea, C. Caruana (N. Portelli), A. Cini, F. Mumford (S. Spiteri), S. Muscat.

 

J. Vella, A. Genovese, C. Pisani, M. Pace, J. Fenech, B. Chetcuti, S.L. Lanzon (C. Bugeja), O. Toutounghi, J. Cutajar, S. D’Amato (K. Curmi), N. Parnis (R. Refalo).

After Extra Time - The match between Qala Saints and Santa Lucia was more contested than expected as the Maroons made up for the technical difference between the two sides through a determined performance where all the players kept believing that they could have registered a surprise qualification.  Santa Lucia saw more of the ball throughout the encounter and at the end the qualification to the next round was well deserved.  However, Marco Grech’s side failed to convert their superiority in goals.  The hosts were often erratic in their finishing and also conceded space at their defence which could have compromised the final score.

Santa Lucia took command of play from the early stages and opened the score in the eighth minute of play through a header by Joshua Cutajar following a free kick by Brian Chetcuti.  Qala continued to suffer some pressure and on two occasions Santa Lucia could have doubled the score but on 17 minutes a strike from outside the area by Shaun D’Amato ended high and on 28 minutes Qala’s goalie Franco Buttigieg saved well an effort by Joshua Cutajar from a cross by Andre Genovese.  Qala recovered during the last part of the first half and went close to level the score on more than one occasion.  A free kick by Manuel Buttigieg on 36 minutes ended just high and two minutes later a strike by Daniel Portelli missed the target.  In another occasion for the Maroons on 41 minutes an attempt by Joseph Attard ended wide.  Santa Lucia were unlucky on 44 minutes when a shot by Brian Chetcuti following a cross by Andre Genovese hit the post.

Santa Lucia however doubled the score in the second minute of play of the second period through a header by Joshua Cutajar following a cross from the right flank that surprised Qala’s rearguard.  The visitors continued to dictate matters and in the following minutes they could have increased their lead but a goal by Sean Lee Lanzon on 59 minutes was disallowed for an offside infringement and three minutes later Qala’s goalie Franco Buttigieg blocked well an effort by Brian Chetcuti following a corner kick by Lanzon.  The same goalkeeper denied Santa Lucia from scoring the third goal on 67 minutes when he went up to the edge of the area to block an effort by Ryan Refalo who was entering the area, Qala managed to recover from a difficult moment and on 72 minutes they also reduced the arrears when the referee awarded a penalty for handling by Mark Pace and Manuel Buttigieg converted from the spot kick.  The hosts gained confidence and on 43 minutes they lost a good scoring opportunity but Shaun Muscat concluded badly from close distance.  However, Qala levelled the score on 89 minutes when a long ranged free kick by Joseph Attard was not cleared by the defence and Alan Cini took the ball and placed the ball with a shot to the far post.

The match had to be decided in extra time where play became more exciting as the two sides tried to score the decisive goal.  On 93 minutes Qala were dangerous through a strike by Alan Cini that was turned to a corner by goalie Jonathan Vella and Santa Lucia replied on 102 minutes through an attempt by substitute Ryan Refalo that ended wide.  In the fourth minute of play of the second period of extra time Qala’s Josef Galea failed to connect from close distance following a corner kick by Daniel Portelli and two minutes later a free kick by Santa Lucia’s Brian Chetcuti ended high.  On 113 Santa Lucia were again dangerous but a shot by Omar Toutounghi missed the target.  The hosts scored the goal that decided the issue on 119 minutes when a low cross by Andre Genovese arrived to an unmarked Ryan Refalo who was at the right place to place in goal with a tap-in.

Referee: Anthony Buhagiar

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