|GFA Division II KO – Q/final|
|Ghainsielem : 3||1 : Xaghra United|
(M. Portelli 7’ pen., C. Tabone 24’, 85’)
|(D. Bartolo 50’)|
R. Sammut, R. Grima, M. Portelli, D. Debattista, L. Buttigieg, A. Xuereb (D. Azzopardi), J. Portelli, D. Hili, K. Hili (S. Azzopardi), J. Attard, C. Tabone.
D. Galea, S. Sultana (S. Farrugia), J. Bartolo, E. Galea, J. Xerri (M. Grima), S. Harland (J. Portelli), J. Buhagiar, A. Farrugia, A. Bezzina, D. Bartolo, J. Scerri.
The match between Ghajnsielem and Xaghra United was considered as a clash between two teams who are expected to be among the main challengers for promotion. In this match Ghajnsielem showed that they are in a better shape mainly because they retained most of their young players who played regularly with the first team during last season. Ghajnsielem’s win was therefore well deserved as they were strong at their defence and very effective in attack. On the other hand Xaghra found it more difficult than expected to challenge the blacks. They compromised the match when they conceded an early goal and despite the reaction that they produced during the second period they did not manage to save the result but ended up conceding a third goal in the dying moments of the encounter.
The blacks came out more aggressive and in the fifth minute of play Xaghar’s goalie Daniel Galea saved in two attempts a strike by Charlon Tabone. Two minutes later the Blacks were awarded a penalty when a cross by Charlon Tabone was handled by defender Joseph Bartolo and Matthew Portelli converted from the spot kick. In the 10th minute Ghajnsielem’s goalie Richard Sammut went out of his position to block on Aleandro Bezzina who Was alone in the area and minutes later the same Bezzina unmarked Daniel Bartolo in Ghajnsielem’s area but the latter concluded wide from a good position. Xaghra were punished for the missed chances as Ghajnsielem doubled the score on 24 minutes through a low drive by Charlon Tabone after receiving from Joseph Attard. Xaghra tried to increase their efforts during the final stages of the first half and went close to reduce the score on 33 minutes but Daniel Bartolo once again concluded wide when he was in an ideal position. Two minutes later Ghajnsielem threatened Xaghra’s rearguard with a counter break but goalie Daniel Galea saved the danger as he managed to deny Kenny Hili from concluding towards goal.
In the fourth minute of play of the second period the Blacks could have added another goal but an attempt by Kenny Hili was well saved by goalie Galea. Xaghra managed to re-open the issue one minute later when Sam Harland’s low cross from the right flank arrived to Daniel Bartolo who fired in goal to surprise goalie Sammut. On 53 minutes Xaghra went also closed to level the score but a strike by Aleandro Bezzina who was unmarked in the area ended just wide. Play continued to be well contested for the following minutes but the actions at goal were rare. Ghajnsielem managed to seal the victory with a third goal that arrived five minutes from time when Charlon Tabone had an attempt that was blocked by the defence and from the rebound the same striker headed into an open goal.
Referee: Joe Agius
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