GFA Melita Division II
Qala Saints   Ghajnsielem
Qala Saints : 2   1 : Ghajnsielem

(A. Cini 75’, M. Buttigieg 90+4’)

 

(K. Hili 64’)

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

 

L. Buttigieg, A.Xuereb (D.Hili), R. Grima, S. Sultana, M. Portelli, K. Hili, J. Portelli, J. Attard (L. Buttigieg), C. Grima (D. Azzopardi), C. Tabone, J. Cassar.

In the last match from the sixth day of the campaign leaders Ghajnsielem suffered an unexpected defeat against Qala Saints.  With this result the Blacks ended a run of five consecutive wins but retained the top of the table while the Saints moved away from the table.  The Blacks must have been overconfident in their approach since they were playing the team that was occupying the other end of the table and as a result they failed to express the required strength to overcome the most difficult moments of the encounter.  The current leaders not only left the field empty handed but they lost an opportunity to double their lead when they missed a penalty kick and ended the match with two of their players sent off.  The Maroons were very prudent.  They neutralized play during the first period and were not demoralized when they suffered Ghajnsielem’s opener midway through the second period.  On the other hand Qala continued to insist with counter breaks and they did not only level the score but won the encounter from a penalty scored in the fourth minute of stoppage time.

The Blacks seemed in a position to take command of play from the very beginning as they took advantage o the wind blowing from behind to keep pressure on their opponent’s rearguard.  However, Qala defended well and actions at goal were rare.  On 15 minutes a free kick by Ghajnsielem’s Jason Portelli ended wide and on 28 minutes Joseph Attard concluded wide when he was in a good position.  Five minutes later Jason Portelli had a shot on the run that also ended away from goal and in another occasion on 36 minutes Kenny Hili’s header from a corner kick by Joseph Attard did not hit the target.  Qala’s best scoring opportunity of the first half arrived on 42 minutes through a personal action by Chritoph Caruana who entered the area but his low drive ended wide.  The Blacks were also unlucky in the second minute of stoppage time before the break as Jason Portelli’s free kick hit the crossbar so that the first half ended in a goalless draw.

After the resumption the Blacks maintained the pressure over their opponents and on 48 minutes Kenny Hili had a good effort that was cleared off the fatal line in time by goalie Franco Buttigieg.  Three minutes later the Maroons replied through a free kick by Manuel Buttigieg that ended high and on the hour mark the same Buttigieg saved his side from conceding a certain goal following a good effort by Charlon Tabone.  Ghajnsielem opened the score on 64 minutes through a shot from an angled position by Kenny Hili.  Four minutes later Qala replied through a shot from outside the area by Daniel Cutajar that was well saved by goalie Luke Buttigieg and on 72 minutes Ghajnsielem were reduced to ten players when Charlon Tabone was sent off for a second bookable offence.  The saints took immediate advantage of the extra player on the field and leveled the score on 75 minutes when Shaun Muscat released Alan Cini and the latter concluded in goal.  Ghajnsielem could have regained the lead two minutes later when the referee awarded a penalty for a foul by Alan Cini on Jason Portelli but Matthew Portelli’s shot from the spot kick was well saved by goalie Franco Buttigieg.  The Blacks were punished for the missed opportunity as Qala won the full points at stake with a decisive goal that arrived in the fourth minute of stoppage time.  The Saints were awarded a penalty as Alan Cini was fouled by Joshua Cassar.  The latter was sent off for stopping a scoring opportunity and Manuel Buttigieg converted from the spot kick and gave Qala the victory from this encounter.

Referee: Alexei Tabone

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