GFA Division II KO – Q/final
Zebbug Rovers    Qala Saints
Zebbug Rovers : 5   0 : Qala Saints

(A. Tramboo 6’, M. Zerafa 38’, S. Galea 49’, 82’; A. Camilleri 74’)

   

B. Saliba, A. Tramboo, A. Camilleri, A. Zammit (S. Galea), C. Cassar, F. Cassar, M. Formosa, M. Zerafa, O. Calleja (M. Cordina), C. Vella, J.P. Saliba.

 

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

In the first semi-final of the KO competition for the lower category Zebbug Rovers defeated Qala Saints following an encouraging performance and earned a deserved place to challenge for the first honour of the season.  Zebbug paved the way to the victory with two goals scored during the first half and practically made sure of the result with a third goal that arrived during the opening minutes of the second half.  The Rovers were rewarded for presenting a team based on a mix of few experienced players together with a number of young players from their nursery.  This result was quite disappointing for Qala, who qualified for this stage of the competition after a penalty shoot-out against Gharb.  The Maroons were fragile at their defence and failed to capitalise from their best actions on Zebbug’s goal.

Zebbug opened the score in the sixth minute of play through a long ranged free kick by Alex Tramboo.  Qala replied three minutes later through a shot by Daniel Cutajar that ended just wide and on 16 minutes Zebbug’s goalie Baskal Saliba saved to a corner a good shot by Daniel Portelli.  The same goalkeeper was called to make another difficult intervention on 29 minutes to block a close ranged shot by Christoph Caruana following a personal action.  Two minutes later goalie Saliba blocked another good effort by Qala’s Shaun Muscat and on 34 minutes Christoph Caruana entered the area but his lob ended wide with the goalkeeper beaten.  On 38 minutes Zebbug doubled the score when a header by substitute Sylvan Galea following a free kick by Alex Tramboo was partially saved by goalie Buttigieg and from the rebound Michael Zerafa guided the ball into an open goal.  Qala could have reduced the score seconds form half time but a header by Manuel Buttigieg following a corner kick by Christoph Caruana was well blocked by goalie Baskal Saliba.

Qala tried to produce a reaction after the break and in the 48th minute a direct free kick by Christoph Caruana ended just high.  Zebbug increased their lead one minute later when Antoine Camilleri entered Qala’s are form the left flank and form his low cross Michael Zerafa stopped the ball and Sylvan Galea placed in goal with a low drive that ended out of the reach of goalie Buttigieg.  On 59 minutes Qala had a good opportunity to reduce then deficit but a strike by Christoph Caruana was well save by goalie Saliba.  Qala kept insisting but Zebbug were well deployed and managed to keep danger away from their area so that goalie Saliba was not called to make very difficult interventions.  Zebbug on the other hand managed to increase the score following a counter break on 74 minutes when Antoine Camilleri entered the area and placed in goal as he came face to face with the goalkeeper.  On 77 minutes Qala went very close to scoring though three attempts from the same action.  A shot from an angled position by Manuel Scerri was turned to a corner by goalie Baskal Saliba and from the resultant corner kick a strike by Christoph Caruana hit the post.  The short clearance by Zebbug’s defence arrived to Joseph Attard who saw his shot hitting the crossbar and the ball was finally cleared by the defence.  The Rovers sealed the victory on 82 minutes when Antoine Camilleri won a ball on the right flank just outside the area and from his low cross Sylvan Galea netted with a back heel that surprised goalie Buttgieg.  Minutes later Zebbug’s goalie Saliba denied Qala from a consolation goal with a fine save following a strike by Joseph Attard.

Referee: Ray Tabone

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