GFA Melita Division II
Gharb Rangers   Qala Saints
Gharb Rangers : 2   3 : Qala Saints

(F. Attard 54’ pen., 90+6’)

 

(M. Buttigieg 15’, 36’; C. Caruana 90+4’)

D. Spiteri, S. Apap (J. Mercieca), J. Azzopardi, Ch. Attard, C. Gafa, Cr. Attard (J. Portelli), F. Attard, M. Grech, P.A. Attard, N. Borg, J. Muscat.

 

I. Grech, M. Cefai, J. Rapa, M. Buttigieg, D. Cutajar, F. Mumford (S. Muscat), A. Cini, J. Attard, D. Portelli (C. Portelli), J. Galea, M. Scerri (C. Caruana).

Gharb Rangers and Qala saints produced an interesting encounter that was practically decided during the dying moments of the match.  Both Gharb and Qala were aiming to win the full points at stake as the Rangers were coming from a defeat in their previous match while Qala were after the first win to put them among the top positions on the table.  The well contested match was practically decided through Qala’s determination who managed to resist to Gahrb’s pressure and also managed to capitalize from their best scoring opportunities.  Qala’s central defender Manuel Buttigieg was undoubtedly the protagonist in the match, not only because he scored two goals for his side but also because of his ability to lead the defensive department throughout the most difficult moments.  Gharb tried hard to earn at least a point from this encounter.  They saw more of the ball during the match but were very erratic in their finishing.  The Rangers also missed an opportunity to make the score 2-2 at one point of the match when they were awarded a second penalty, but Frank Attard’s shot from the spot kick ended high.

During the early stages Gharb were more adventurous and started to pile pressure on their opponents.  In the fourth minute a cross shot by Christian Attard ended inches away from Qala’s goal and on 12 minutes Frank Attard had a low shot that just missed the target.  Qala however managed to open the score in their first approach in Gharb’s area.  On 15 minutes the Maroons won a corner action and from the corner kick by Daniel Portelli, Manuel Buttigieg headed in goal.  Gharb replied on 22 minutes through an effort by Stephen Apap that was well blocked by goalie Ivan Grech and one minute later a shot on the run by Gharb’s Frank Attard ended high.  On 25 minutes Gharb went very close to level the score but Frank Attard’s attempt following a short clearance by the defense from a corner action was cleared off the line by defender Daniel Portelli.  Gharb were punished for the missed chances as the Maroons doubled the score on 36 minutes through another fine header by Manuel Buttigieg following a corner kick by Daniel Portelli.  On 42 minutes Gharb’s Justin Azzopardi had a good shot following a personal action that ended on the side of the net and two minutes later Noel Borg had a low shot that ended away from Qala’s goal.  Just before half time Qala’s goalie Ivan Grech denied Gharb from scoring with a fine save following a header by Noel Borg from a free kick by Justin Azzopardi.

Gharb kept insisting after the break and on 50 minutes Qala’s goalie Ivan Grech was again very effective in his positioning as he managed to block the ball from Paul Anthony Attard who entered the area following a counter break.  The Rangers managed to reduce the score on 54 minutes when the referee awarded a penalty for a foul by Josef Galea on Frank Attard and the same striker converted from the spot kick.  Gharb gained confidence and increased their pressure on Qala’s rearguard.  On 62 minutes goalie Ivan Grech was again called to make a difficult intervention to stop a low shot by substitute Josef Portelli and on two minutes later the same goalkeeper committed a foul on Paul Anthony Attard in the area.  The referee awarded a second penalty to Gharb but on this occasion Frank Attard’s shot from the spot kick ended over the crossbar.  Gharb seemed demoralized and Qala took advantage so that they managed to keep their opponents away from their area. 

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