GFA Melita Division I
S.K. Victoria Wanderers   Xewkija Tigers
S.K. Victoria Wanderers : 1   2 : Xewkija Tigers

(A. Sanz Ortiz 23’)

 

(J. Camilleri 1’, D. Bogdanovic 73’)

J. Xiberras, E. Bugeja, D. Udo Monday, A. Adesina, N. Vella, C. Sciortino, J. Xuereb (L. Dimech), A. Sanz Ortiz, O. Farrugia, L. Nutasi Nba.

 

A. Parnis, J. Cefai, J. Vella, P. Buttigieg, M. gegic, K. Mercieca, C. Bugeja, P. Rapa (A. Simoncic), D. Bogdanovic, J. Camilleri (G. Hili), D. Shields.

Xewkija Tigers confirmed their strong potential this season and their ambition to defend the title with a victory over SK Victoria Wanderers with the odd goal from three.  The match turned out to be more difficult than expected for the Tigers despite taking a lead with a goal scored within the first minute of play, as the Wanderers produced a good reaction and dictated matters for a good part of the encounter.  However, Xewkija’s experience prevailed and earned the victory through a goal scored by Daniel Bogdanovic during a crucial moment of the encounter where the tigers were playing with a player less on the field.  In this match player-coach Alex Simoncic was able to make redeployment of the players on the field so that goalie Adrian Parnis remained protected even when they had less players on the pitch.  On the other hand the Wanderers once again had a positive performance considering the potential of the team.  However, for the second consecutive match they failed to take advantage of an extra player on the field and their offensive play is becoming too dependent on Adolfo Sanz Ortiz.  The Spanish striker is undoubtedly one of the main protagonists in Gozitan football at this early stage of the season, but it is unlikely that he can pull out Victoria from the lower part of the table by himself.

In this match Xewkija scored after just 38 seconds of play when Kenneth Mercieca passed to Daniel Bogdanovic in the area, the latter had his weak shot that passed below goalie Joel Xiberras and John Camilleri was at the right place to push the ball across the line before the defense could clear the danger.  Minutes later Bogdanovic headed badly from close distance but as time passed by the Wanderers settled better and started to prevail with their pressing in the midfield through Joseph Refalo and Nicholas Vella.  On 15 minutes a header by Sanz Ortiz from a cross by Eman Bugeja was neutralized by goalie Adrian Parnis and eight minutes later the Wanderers leveled the score.  Adolfo Sanz Ortiz defended well a ball inside Xewkija’s area and placed in goal with a low shot.  The Citizens continued to express the better play and on 33 minutes Oliver Farrugia released Sanz Ortiz but the latter concluded weak and goalie Parnis saved without difficulty.  Xewkija were again dangerous on 43 minutes when Victoria’s rearguard failed to clear the ball following a free kick by Bogdanovic and from the resultant melee Joseph Refalo cleared the danger to a corner so that the first half ended in a draw.

After the resumption the Tigers tried to take command of play and on 51 minutes Victoria’s goalie Joel Xiberras was called to make a good intervention to clear away an effort by Dene Shields who received a good pass from peter Buttigieg.  On the hour mark the Wanderers could have turned the result in their favour but a fine direct free kick by Sanz Ortiz hit the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten.  Two minutes later Xewkija were reduced to ten players when Miroslav Gegic was sent off for a second caution following a foul on Sanz Ortiz.  Xewkija however took immediate measure to settle their rearguard and on 69 minutes they were also dangerous through a free kick from long distance by player-coach Alex Simoncic, who came in as a substitute few minutes earlier, ended just high.  Xewkija scored the goal that decided the issue on 73 minutes when a cross by Gennaro Hili arrived to an unmarked Daniel Bogdanovic who was behind Victoria’s defense and the striker netted with a low shot. 

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