GFA Melita Division II
Xaghra United   Zebbug Rovers
Xaghra United : 1   3 : Zebbug Rovers

(Daniel Bartolo 90+1’)

 

(M. Cordina 35’, 81’; F. Cassar 90’)

D. Galea, E. Galea, M. Azzopardi (J. Scerri), S. Sultana, J. Bartolo, S. Harland, L. Attard, A. Bezzina, D. Bartolo, J. Buhagiar (S. Farrugia), C. Hili (A. Farrugia).

 

B. Saliba, A. Tramboo, C. Cassar, P. Cardona, M. Zerafa, M. Cordina (S. Galea), O. Calleja (F. Cassar), J.P. Saliba, O. Saliba, E. Grima, G. Portelli (P. Frendo).

In the first match from the third day of the campaign Zebbug Rovers defeated Xaghra United and earned their first points on the table.  This was Xaghra’s first defeat as they have obtained two points from two draws in their previous two matches, and therefore the Blues remain without a win from the three matches of the campaign played so far.  Zebbug’s win was well deserved.  The Rovers were undoubtedly more adventurous and produced more scoring opportunities than their opponents throughout the encounter.  Zebbug prevailed mainly during the last part of the second period where they managed to control Xaghra’s reaction and also to take advantage of the spaces at Xaghra’s defense.  The protagonist in Zebbug’s win was Manwel Cordina who scored two goals and was also a continuous threat to Xaghra’s rearguard.

During the first part of the match the two sides tried to take command of play and as a result play took place mainly in the midfield.  The two sides went also close to scoring on one occasion each.  Xaghra had a good header by Joseph Bartolo from a corner action that was well saved by goalie Baskal Saliba while Zebbug replied through a strike by Errol Grima that ended just high.  Zebbug became more adventurous as time passed by and on the half hour mark a cross shot by Zebbug’s Oliver Saliba ended just high.  Five minutes later the Rovers opened the score when Manwel Cordina passed through Xaghra’s rearguard and placed in goal as the goalkeeper left his position in an attempt to block the danger.  Xaghra best opportunity to level the score during the first half arrived on 45 minutes when Zebbug’s defense failed to clear a free kick by Emanuel Galea and from the resultant melee Joseph Bartolo concluded wide from close distance.

In the second minute of play of the second period Xaghra’s Daniel Bartolo passed through Zebbug’s rearguard but once he passed around goalie Saliba the striker had his attempt blocked by Christian Cassar.  From the following action a low shot by Sam Harland was well saved by goalie Baskal Saliba and Philip Cardona cleared the danger from the area.  On 52 minutes Zebbug’s goalie Saliba made a good intervention to block a low shot by Daniel Bartolo.  On 62 minutes Xaghra were again dangerous when Luke Attard released substitute Arthur Farrugia but the latter concluded high from a good position.  Zebbug replied on 68 minutes through an attempt by substitute Paul Frendo that was neutralized by goalie Daniel Galea.  The Rovers could have doubled the score on 74 minutes when Manwel Cordina entered Xaghra area in a counter break and from his low cross substitute Franklin Cassar had his attempt cleared off the line to a corner by goalie Daniel Galea.  One minute later the same goalkeeper kept his side in contention when he went out of the area and stopped Philip Cardona, who was entering the area, from concluding at goal.  Zebbug continued to take advantage of some gaps at Xaghra’s defense and on 78 minutes Manwel Cordina won a ball just outside the area but his strike ended just wide.  Zebbug managed to score the second goal on 81 minutes when Manwel Cordina entered the area with a solo action and concluded at the far corner of goal and out of the reach of goalie Galea.  Xaghra were demoralized and one minute later Zebbug’s Paul Frendo concluded high from a good position following a prolonged action in Xaghra’s area.  On 84 minutes Xaghra’s Daniel Bartolo had a shot on the run that missed the target.  Zebbug sealed the victory with the third goal that arrived on the stroke of regular time through a good shot by substitute Franklin Cassar following a cross by Oliver Saliba. 


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