GFA Cup Q/final
Ghajnsielem   Gharb Rangers
Ghajnsielem : 2   1 : Gharb Rangers

(C. Tabone 38’, J. Portelli 90+5’)


(S. Apap 90’)

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


D. Spiteri, C. Attard, M. Grech, C. Gafa, R. Vella, N. Borg, C. Attard, J. Portelli, J. Azzopardi, F. Attard (D. Muscat, J. Muscat), S. Apap.

Ghajnsielem and Gharb Rangers produced an entertaining match which was decided with goals scored in the final stages of the encounter.  The two second division sides were determined to obtain the place in the semi finals of the competition and kept insisting to obtain the victory until the end.  Gharb produced some good play but found it difficult to convert their maneuver into good scoring opportunities.  On the other hand Ghajnsielem were well deployed at their defensive department and were also effective in attack as they produced the best scoring opportunities throughout the encounter.  However, Ghajnsielem did not capitalize from the chances throughout the encounter and risked to be forced into extra time as Gharb scored an equalizer on the stroke of regular time.  The Blacks managed to make up for the mishap and scored the decisive goal in the final seconds of stoppage time so that they earned the qualification to the semi-final.

Before the start of the match the two sides held a minute of silence in respect of the father of Louis Apap who passed away during the week.  Gharb took command of the midfield but only managed to threaten Ghajnsielem’s rearguard through set pieces.  On 11 minutes a free kick by Josef Portelli was neutralized by Ghajnsielem’s goalkeeper Luke Buttigieg.  Four minutes later Gharb’s Christian Attard had another attempt from a free kick that missed the target and on 16 minutes the Blacks replied with a fine through pass towards Joseph Attard but Gharb’s goalkeeper Daniel Spiteri left his position to clear the ball in time before the striker could conclude in goal.  The same goalkeeper was called to make another good intervention on 18 minutes turned to a corner a shot by Damon Hili and on 21 minutes Gharb’s Christian Attard took advantage of a wrong clearance by Ghajnsielem’s rearguard but goalie Luke Buttigieg.  Four minutes later Gharb’s goalie Daniel Spiteri was called to make a difficult save to turn to a corner a header by Matthew Portelli following a free kick by Jason Portelli.  Ghajnsielem continued to produce good scoring opportunities and on 31 minutes a free kick by Jason Portelli was blocked by Gharb’s goalkeeper while the Rangers replied four minutes later through an attempt by Justin Azzopardi form a cross by substitute Daniel Muscat that ended wide.  Ghajnsielem opened the score on 38 minutes when a strike by Matthew Portelli was partially saved by goalie Daniel Spiteri and form the rebound Charlon Tabone placed easily in goal.  Gharb could have leveled the score three minutes later but goalie Luke Buttigieg managed to block a good effort by Stephen Apap.

The match continued to be well contested after the break and on 521 minutes Ghajnsielem’s Damon Hili had a shot that was save by goalie Daniel Spiteri.  Minutes later the same goalkeeper turned to a corner an attempt by Jason Porteli and on 54 minutes Gharb’s Matthew Grech had a good strike from outside the area that was partially saved by goalie Luke Buttigieg.  The Rangers were again dangerous on 61 minutes through a shot on the run by Christian Attard following a pass by Stephen Apap that ended wide.  On 70 minutes Ghajnsielem’s substitute Andrew Attard had a first timer following a cross by Robert Grima that was blocked in two attempts by goalie Daniel Spiteri.  Five minutes later the same goalkeeper managed to deflect a cross shot by Robert Grima and from the resultant melee Gharb’s rearguard managed to clear the danger from the area with difficulty.  Gharb increased their efforts during the final minutes and on 87 minutes Ghajnsielem’s goalie was well placed to block a free kick by Josef Portelli. 

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