GFA Melita Division II
Victoria Hotspurs   St. Lawrence Spurs
Victoria Hotspurs : 5   2 : St. Lawrence Spurs

(M. Bamba 22’, 72’; F. Apap 34’, J. Pace 39’, 41’)

 

(S. Mizzi 10’, M. Boye 55’)

C. Mercieca, M. Buhagiar, F. Apap, M. Bamba, D. Mercieca (D. Bellotti), J. Bajada, R. Buttigieg, A. Camilleri (G. Sillato), D. Farrugia, J. Pace, O. Curmi (M. Bezzina).

 

G. Micallef, F. Xuereb, F. Grima (S. Cauchi), W. Barbosa, C. Cauchi, L. Buttigieg, J. Theuma (J. Micallef), L. Grima, M. Boye, D. Micallef, S. Mizzi (M. Cutajar).

Victoria Hotspurs came out of a very difficult phase in the championship and registered a 5-2 win over St Lawrence Spurs.  This was also a match between two teams who were aiming to obtain points to move away from the bottom of the table and as a result both Victoria and St Lawrence came out determined to obtain a positive result.  The Hotspurs were without striker Abubaker Bello Osagie who was released from the club and had Chris Buttigieg who was making a return as a coach.  On the other hand St Lawrence had player-coach Michael Vella missing due to a suspension while their regular goalkeeper Joseph Grima was not included in the starting lineup due to an injury.

In this match the Hotspurs showed that they have the potential to move away from the red zone but they also exposed some short comings at their defensive department which is probably holding them back from obtaining better results.  The Hotspurs showed character during the first half as they managed to recover a goal conceded at an early stage and ended the period with a three-goal lead that were scored in the space of seven minutes.  Victoria’s Moussa Bamba and Jason Pace both scored a brace.  The Spurs tried hard to recover after the break but they found iot extremely difficult to re-open the issue.  They also lost a good scoring opportunity midway the second half where they could have reduced the deficit to just one goal and ended up conceding Victoria’s fifth goal which practically demoralized St Lawrence’s players.

The Hotspurs showed their determination to win this match from the very beginning and in the second minute of play a header by Rodney Buttigieg following a corner kick by Mark Buhagiar hit the crossbar.  Two minutes later a cross from long distance by Jason Pace arrived to Oliver Curmi in the area.  The latter headed in the area but Rodney Buttigieg was once again unlucky as his close ranged attempt in front of an open goal hit the post.  The Hotspurs were punished for the missed chances as St Lawrence opened the score in their first approach in Victoria’s territory.  In the 10th minute a free kick by William Barbosa surprised Victoria’s rearguard and Shaun Mizzi was at the right place to deflect the ball in goal.  St Lawrence gained confidence and for some minutes they threatened Victoria’s rearguard.  On 13 minutes a direct corner kick by William Barbosa as cleared off the line by Mark Buhagiar with the goalkeeper beaten and the same Barbosa had a good free kick one minute later that was saved by goalie Courtney Mercieca.  The Hotspurs scored the equalizer on 22 minutes when a corner kick by Mark Buhagiar led to a melee inside St Lawrence’s small area and Moussa Bamba was at the right place to push the ball beyond the fatal line.  The match became now more interesting as the two sides pushed forward to gain the lead.  On 27 minutes a header by Ferdinando Apap was deflected to a corner by the defense and two minutes later St Lawrence’s William Barbosa had a free kick that ended wide.  Victoria turned the result in their favour with a goal that arrived on 34 minutes through a header by Ferdinando Apap following a corner kick by Mark Buhagiar.  The Hotspurs were now in the driving seat and in the following minutes they continued to produce danger towards St Lawrence’s defense.  On 39 minutes the Hotspurs increased their lead through a direct free kick from long distance by Jason Pace that passed over goalie Godwin Micallef and two minutes later the same Jason Pace surprised the goalkeeper with a fine strike from outside the area to make it 4-1 for the Citizens.

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