GFA Melita Division I
Victoria Hotspurs   Nadur Youngsters
Victoria Hotspurs : 1   1 : Nadur Youngsters

(R. Buttigieg 348’)

 

(J. Vella 68’)

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

 

M. Grima, P. Camilleri, J. Buttigieg (C. Mercieca), R. Dos Santos, F. Camilleri, M. Stojanovic, C. Hili, S. Attard, J. Grima (J. Vella), C. Debono, C. Antunes.

The match between title contenders Nadur Youngsters and Victoria Hotspurs was one of the most expected matches of the fifth day of the championship as both teams needed a victory for different ambitions.  The Youngsters were aiming to obtain the fifth win from five match so that they will face the direct clash of the 1st November against Xewkija in the best possible situation while the Hotspurs were aiming to earn points to reduce their gap from the top position due to the disappointing start in the championship.  As a result the match turned out into a well contested encounter where the Hotspurs expressed their best play during the first period while Nadur showed great character after the break and not only recovered the one goal deficit but could have easily earned the full points at stake with more attention in their attempts at Victoria’s goal.  For this match the Hotspurs had Filipe Caldeiro who was making his debut in Gozitan football.

In the fifth minute of play Victoria’s debutant had a good strike that ended wide and on 11 minutes the Hotspurs confirmed their good start in the match with a shot by Rodney Buttigieg that ended high.  Nadur replied on 19 minutes when Victoria’s goalie Courtney Mercieca partially saved a free kick by Claudio Antunes and from the resultant melee the same Antunes had his attempt at goal deflected to a corner by the defence.  On 27 minutes Nadur once again threatened Victoria’s rearguard through an effort by Joseph Grima that ended high and on the half hour mark Victoria’s goalie Courtney Mercieca was called to save in two attempts as shot from outside the area by Claudio Antunes.  The Hotspurs opened the score on 38 minutes when Rodney Buttigieg surprised Nadur’s goalie who hesitated to stop a ball that bounced inside the area and the striker headed into an open goal.  Nadur had an immediate reaction and on 43 minutes when a corner kick by Claudio Antunes had a deflection inside the area but defender Mark Buhagiar managed to clear the ball off the fatal line and from the clearance th shot on the run by Josef Buttigieg missed the target.

Nadur continued to insist for the equaliser after the resumption and on 54 minutes substitute Joseph Vella, who had an important contribution in Nadur’s offensive play during the second period, had a shot that got a deflection by the defence and goalie Mercieca recovered to save the danger.  On 56 minutes Victoria’s Rodney Buttigieg had a shot that ended high and one minute after the hour mark Victoria’s goalie Courtney Mercieca turned to a corner with difficulty a header by Joseph Vella following a corner kick by Christian Debono.  Nadur’s Joseph Vella was once again denied from scoring with another good save by Courtney Mercieca on 65 minutes but three minutes later Joseph Vella managed to level the score through a low strike from just outside the area.  Nadur increased their pressure and on 75 minutes Claudio Antunes was released in Victoria’ territory from a through pass by Ramon Dos Santos but the striker concluded badly from a good position.  Three minutes later Nadur’s Joseph Vella had a shot that was neutralised by goalie Mercieca and as the Hotspurs.  The match became much more exciting during the final stages as the two sides were aiming to win the match.  However, Nadur were more dangerous than their opponents and could have scored the decisive goal on more than one occasion.  On 84 minutes a header by Nadur’s substitute Charles Mercieca from a corner action was deflected on the crossbar by Victoria’s defence among protests by Nadur’s players claiming handling by Victoria’s defence in the same action. 

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