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Victoria Hotspurs and Kerċem Ajax win league openers

Samuel Saldanha tries to break through the SK Victoria defence. Photo: Anthony Cassar

Victoria Hotspurs and Kerċem Ajax opened their GFA Division One campaign in winning fashion after overcoming newly-promoted Sannat Lions and SK Victoria Wanderers respectively.

The Hotspurs, who are considered as serious title challengers to defending champions Nadur Youngsters, registered a 5-1 win over Sannat Lions.

The Rabat side made the most of their opponents’ inexperience and capitalised on their defensive lapses.

Henrique Maciel was the architect behind the Hotspurs’ opening two goals when seizing possession in Sannat’s half with Christian Mercieca firing home the opener on 13 minutes before Shaun Attard added a second three minutes later.

The Hotspurs added a third goal on 32 minutes when Mercieca initiated a quick counter-attack and fed Maciel who fired the ball home.

The Lions pulled a goal back on the stroke of half-time through a close-range shot by Damon Hili.

But the Hotspurs wrapped the points with two quick-fire goals early in the second half through Shaun Attard (50) and Rodrigo Dos Santos (59).

In the other match from Match Day One, Kerċem had an excellent start after defeating SK Victoria Wanderers in five-goal thriller.

This was a match that brought against each other two teams who are expected to battle to retain their top-flight status.

Victoria Hotspurs Shaun Attard (left) in a duel with Lucas Baretto Da Silva, of Sannat Lions. Photo: Anthony Cassar.  

The Ajax looked in better shape last week and took just 15 minutes to storm ahead courtesy of a Samuel Saldanha low shot.

But the Wanderers fought back and Emerson Zammit levelled matters on 34 minutes. 

Saldanha was again on the mark on 52 minutes as the Brazilian fired home following a corner action.

SK Victoria kept fighting and Kersten Grima made it 2-2.

But it was Kerċem who grabbed the winner on 70 minutes with a low shot from Joshua Buttigieg.

GFA Cup

Għarb Rangers and Xagħra United booked their place into the quarter-finals of the GFA Cup.

The Rangers bagged a 3-0 win over St Lawrence Spurs in a clash between two teams from the GFA Division Two.

Għarb wrapped up their qualification with three goals inside the first 30 minutes, courtesy of goals from Luke Attard (13), Milos Stojanovic (21) and Carlos Cutajar (30).

In the other match, Xagħra United grabbed a 1-0 win over Oratory Youths.

Oratory dominated the match for much of the first half but it was Xagħra who clinched the winner on 40 minutes through Savio Galea.

NEXT FIXTURES

SATURDAY

Kerċem Stadium

GFA Cup Preliminary Round

Sannat L. vs Qala Saints            12.30

GFA Division One

Xagħra Utd vs Xewkija T.          15.00

SUNDAY

GFA Cup Preliminary Round

SK Victoria W. vs Kerċem          12.30

GFA Division One

Oratory Y. vs Għajnsielem        15.00

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