GFA Division I KO – Q/final
Nadur Youngsters   Victoria Hotspurs
Nadur Youngsters : 2   1 : Victoria Hotspurs

(J. Grima 37’, C. Antunes 42’)

  (R. Buttigieg 84’)

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


M. Vella, J. Pace, J. Farrugia, F. Apap, M. Bezzina, D. Farrugia, B. Moussa, J. Bajada, R. Buttigieg, A. Belloosagie, M. Buhagiar.

Victoria Hotspurs and Nadur Youngsters are both expected to be among the main contenders for the honours in Gozitan football this season and therefore this first official match for the two sides was considered as a serious test for both teams.  The match lived up to the expectations as both Victoria and Nadur produced good effective play, especially when considering that it is just the beginning of the new season. Nadur’s win matured with two goals scored during the last part of the first half and the Youngsters made good use of their experience to resist Victoria’s reaction for the rest of the encounter.  For this match Nadur fielded their new signings.  They had Brazilian striker Claudio Antunes and midfielder Joseph Vella (ex-SK Victoria Wanderers) who were making a return with their team, and gave a debut to central defender Ramon Dos Santos (ex-Valletta).  On the other hand the Hotspurs had more new faces from the team that ended in the fourth place of the final standings last season.  Their debutants were: goalie Matthew Vella (ex-Kercem Ajax), defenders Ferdinando Apap (ex-Xewkija Tigers) and Mark Buhagiar (ex-Xaghra United), midfielders Jonathan Bajada (ex-Mosta FC) and Bamba Moussa (who played in Gozo some years ago with Sannat Lions), and strikers Rodney Buttigieg (ex-Xewkija Tigers) and Abubakar Belloosagie (ex-Sliema Wanders/Valletta).

Play was rather balanced during the opening minutes as both Victoria and Nadur took some time to study each other.  As time passed by the Hotspurs grew in confidence and started to produce some pressure over their opponents.  On 14 minutes Nadur’s goalie Mark Grima had good timing to go out of his position and deny Belloosagie from concluding in goal.  Nadur replied on 19 minutes through a shot by Antunes that ended high and on 22 minutes Victoria’s Belloosagie entered Nadur’s area after receiving from Michael Bezzina but his low drive ended inches away from the far post.  Nadur opened the score on 37 minutes when Victoria’ goalie Vella did not manage to hold a cross from the right by Antunes and Joseph Portelli was at the right place to take advantage and guide the ball into an open goal.  Victoria were shocked and on 42 minutes Nadur doubled the score as Claudio Antunes entered the area following a counter break, passed around goalie Vella and netted from close distance despite being challenged by a defender,

The Hotspurs continued to find it difficult to produce a reaction after the break and on 53 minutes Nadur went again close to scoring through a shot by Joseph Vella that was well saved by goalie Matthew Vella.  One minute after the hour mark Victoria’s Belloosagie had a header from a corner action that was saved with difficulty by goalie Grima and on 73 minutes the same goalkeeper was called to make another important intervention following a shot from outside the area by Belloosagie.  Nadur lost a good scoring opportunity one minute later when Milos Stojanovic received an inviting pass from Antunes in the area but the former concluded weak and goalie Vella saved without any difficulty.  The Hotspurs increased their efforts during the final stages of the match and on 76 minutes a strike by Bamba Moussa was bloked by the defence.  Nadur’s goalie Grima made two consecutive interventions on 81 minutes to deny Victoria from scoring when he blocked a close ranged shot by Rodney Buttigieg and from the resultant melee the same goalkeeper saved Michael Bezzina’s low shot.  Victoria managed to re-open the issue on 84 minutes through an excellent shot on the run from an angled position by Rodney Buttigieg that surprised goalie Grima. 

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