GFA Melita Division I
Kercem Ajax   Oratory Youths
Kercem Ajax : 0   1 : Oratory Youths

 

 

(S. Attard 83’)

S. Rais, P. Kyumyurdzhiev, M. Mifsud, J. Azzopardi, A. Buttigieg, J.P. Mizzi, I. Xuereb, L. Meilak (M. Vella), O. Spiteri (E. Vella), A. Ribeiro, A. Mizzi.

 

F. Vella, K. Borg, C. Cardona, K. Farrugia, D. Stojanovic, J. Attard (K. Farrugia), J. Tabone, S. Attard, T. Dos Santos, M. Camilleri (F. Cini), J. Attard.

The match between Kercem Ajax and Oratory Youths lived up to the expectations as it was considered to be a clash between two teams who are aiming to be among the top teams of the category.  Both Kercem and Oratory are therefore aiming to avoid a repetition of the last season where they ended with the lower four places on the table at the end of the second round.  In this match Kercem confirmed that they have the potential to challenge the other teams but on this occasion they failed to take advantage of their good moments of play so that they lost confidence as time passed by and compromised at least a point by conceding the decisive goal in the final stages of the encounter.  On the other hand Oratory confirmed their consistent improvement.  The Youths were the revelation last season by obtaining positive results despite the inexperience of most of their players.  However, the Youths were finalists of the GFA Cup last season and they once again reached the final in the KO competition for the category at the beginning of this new season.  Most of their young players have established themselves and their attack have been strengthened with the signings of Mark Camilleri (ex-Xewkija T) and Thiago Dos Santos who played in other seasons in Gozo with Ghajnsielem, Xewkija and Xaghra.  The former is proofing to be an important point of reference for Shaun Attard while the Brazilian striker had a very positive debut with the Youths in this first match of the championship.  Oratory are now very competitive in all departments as they have an organised defence, a hard-working midfield and an effective attack.  The goal that decided this well contested match arrived through a collective effort where Thiago Dos Santos and Shaun Attard found the right space to surprise Kercem’s rearguard.

The Ajax tried to take control of play from the very beginning and in the first minute of play a strike by Anderson Ribeiro was well neutralised by goalie Franklyn Vella.  The Youths retained their composure and kept the danger away from the area despite conceded territory to their opponents.  However, as time passed by the Youths came out of their defence and in the eighth minute Shaun Attard had a shot from an angled position that was saved by Sabri Rais who was playing as a goalkeeper since their regular goalkeeper is injured and his substitute was not available for this match.  On 15 minutes Kercem’s Ribeiro had a lob from long distance with goalie Vella out of his position that ended wide and on 24 minutes a strike by Jean Paul Mizzi following a corner action was blocked in time by Oratory’s defence.  Kercem increased their efforts at this stage of the encounter and one minute later a strike from outside the area by Ian Xuereb just missed the target.  The Ajax could have opened the score on 40 minutes when a low inviting cross by Andrew Mizzi was not connected properly by Ribeiro and the ball ended wide.  Just before half time the Youths had a direct free kick from a good position by Dos Santos that also ended wide.

Play continued to be balanced after the break but actions at goal were very rare.  One minute after the hour mark a short clearance by Oratory’s defence arrived to substitute Elton Vella but the striker’s header ended high.  Oratory replied on 65 minutes through a header by Mark Camilleri following a cross by Christian Cardona that also ended over the crossbar and four minutes later Kercem’s substitute Malcolm Vella almost surprised Oratory’s keeper but the cross-shot hit the crossbar and ended out of play.  On 72 minutes a free kick Kercem’s Petar Kyumyurdzhiev ended on the side of the net and two minutes later Anderson Ribeiro entered Oratory’s area with a personal action but his low shot was weak and goalie Franklyn Vella saved without much difficulty. 

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