GFA Division I
Victoria Hotspurs   Sannat Lions
Victoria Hotspurs : 4   0 : Sannat Lions

(N. Vasilic 37’, 72’; F. Apap 45+2’, R. Buttigieg 49’)



M. Vella, M. Buhagiar, D. Mercieca (O. Curmi), F. Apap (R. Grech), M. Bamba, D. Farrugia, J. Pace, M. Bezzina (D. Bellotti), R. Buttigieg, J. Bajada, N. Vasilic.


A. Brignoli, A. Debono, P. Camilleri, M. Muscat, E. Nkwocha (E. Gauci), E. Nwankwo, N. Micallef (L. Attard), F. de Andrade, J. Agius, A. Williams, D. Borg (M. Formosa).

This match was considered as a direct clash between two sides who were aiming to win the match to get away from the lower places on the table.  At the end the encounter was well contested for most of the first period but as soon as Victoria Hotspurs opened the score, Sannat Lions were demoralized and did not manage to produce a reaction.  With this result the Hotspurs moved to the mid-table position while Sannat remain at the bottom place and without a victory in the championship.  Victoria’s hero in this match was Serbian debutant Nikola Vasilic who scored the first and the fourth goal for his side.

The Hotspurs tried to take command of play from the very beginning and they were also dangerous after just twenty seconds of play when a strike by Jason Pace was deflected by the defense and goalie Angelo Brignoli saved with some difficulty.  The Hotspurs had a golden opportunity to open the score in the fifth minute of play when the referee awarded a penalty for handling by Patrick Camilleri following a corner kick by Jason Pace but the same Pace had his shot from the spot kick that was stopped by the post and Mark Muscat cleared the danger away from the area.  Sannat were also awarded a penalty on 11 minutes for handling by Dylan Mercieca but they also failed to take advantage of the situation as Fernando de Andrade’s shot from the spot kick was blocked by goalie Matthew Vella. Play became more balanced during the following minutes and on 17 minutes a header by Nikola Vasilic from a free kick by Mark Buhagiar hit the side of the net.  In an immediate reply by Sannat a free kick by Fernando de Andrade ended high and on 27 minutes Sannat’s goalie Angelo Brignoli cleared in time before Rodney Buttigieg could head the ball towards goal and from the loose ball Jonathan Bajada’s attempt ended wide.  One minute later the Hotspurs went again close to scoring through a header by Ferdinando Apap following a free kick by Michael Bezzina that hit the post and on 35 minutes an effort by Nikola Vasilic following a personal action ended on the side of the net.  Victoria kept insisting and two minutes later they opened the score through a header by Nikola Vasilic following a cross from the right flank by Jason Pace.  The Hotspurs kept insisting and on 43minutes a shot by Rodney Buttigieg was well saved by goalie Brignoli.  The same goalkeeper made a difficult intervention in the second minute of stoppage time before half time to turn to a corner a header by Michael Bezzina.  From the same corner kick taken by Mark Buhagiar, Ferdinando Apap headed in goal so that the first half ended with Victoria enjoying a two-goal lead.

The match lost much of the interest during the second period as Sannat did not show any sign of a reaction.  On the other hand the Hotspurs maintained their pressure and on 49 minutes they also increased the lead through an excellent strike by Rodney Buttigieg that was out of the reach of goalie Brignoli.  On 57 minutes Victoria’s Michael Bezzina incredibly concluded wide when he was alone in the area after receiving from Jason Pace and on 70 minutes Rodney Buttigeig had a good shot that ended away from Sannat’s goal.  On 72 minutes Victoria’s Jason Pace entered the area from the right flank and from his low cross Nikola Vasilic arrived before the defenders to push the ball in goal from close distance.  Two minutes later Sannat’s goalie Brignoli saved another attempt by Vasilic who was alone in the area and from the rebound Michael Bezzina had his shot blocked by the defense.  Sannat had their best chance to score a consolation goal on 79 minutes but Eric Nwankwo’s attempt was blocked to a corner by goalie Matthew Vella and one minute before the end of regular time a shot by Victoria’s Rodney Buttigieg was well saved by goalie Brignoli.

Referee: Malcolm Spiteri

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