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Għajnsielem, Nadur Youngsters win to underline title ambitions

 Victoria Hotspurs striker Paulo Santos De Azevedo tries to move past Anthony Sultana. PHOTO: ANTHONY CASSAR

Leaders Għajnsielem and champions Nadur Youngsters extended their winning run in the GFA Division One last weekend to further underline their ambition of challenging for the title crown this season.

Għajnsielem scored a resounding 6-1 win over Sannat Lions while Nadur Youngsters netted a goal in each half to overcome relegation strugglers SK Victoria Wanderers.

Elsewhere, Xewkija Tigers were stunned by Kerċem Ajax while Victoria Hotspurs were back to winning ways at the expense of Xagħra United.

Għajnsielem were the better side throughout their encounter against Sannat Lions but they only managed to put the match beyond their opponents’ reach when scoring four goals after the interval.

The Blacks opened the score on 18 minutes through a low shot by Joseph George Vella. Rodney Buttigieg made it 2-0 five minutes from the break when he stabbed the ball home from close in.

The Lions pulled a goal back two minutes into the second half when Lucas Baretto Da Silva headed home. 

But from then on, Għajn-sielem seized control of the match and all but wrapped up the points with goals from Jhon Arboleda Valencia (55, 59), Rodney Buttigieg (73) and Sebastien Martinez Turizo (86).

Reigning champions Nadur Youngsters beat SK Victoria Wanderers, despite having a player less for the whole of the second half.

The win lifted the Youngsters to second in the standings, three points adrift of Għajnsielem.

Nadur controlled play but had to wait until the 28th minute to take the lead when they were awarded a penalty when Eman Bugeja handled the ball inside the area. From the spot, Marcelo Barbosa drilled the ball into the net.

Four minutes from half-time, Nadur suffered blow when defender Luke Tabone was shown a straight red card after upending the goalbound Aud-Gustine James Obaje.

But despite being a man down, the Youngsters still managed to double their lead on 52 minutes when Barbosa hit a low shot that rolled into the net.

Victoria Hotspurs put behind them a poor run of results when they crushed Xagħra 7-0.

It was an important victory for the Rabat side who have now kept alive their hopes of a title challenge. 

The Hotspurs paved the way to their victory with four goals in the first half scored by Christian Mercieca (9), Christian Attard (30), Shaun Attard (36) and Paulo Santos De Azevedo (41). 

Henrique Maciel added a fifth goal on 52 minutes before Santos De Azevedo converted a penalty on 69 minutes.

Twelve minutes from time, Xagħra were reduced to ten men when Nebojsa Biculjevic was red-carded for a foul on Santos De Azevedo.

Victoria Hotspurs sealed their win ten minutes from time when Joseph Mario Vella scored directly from a free-kick.

Kerċem Ajax confirmed their good run of late when they surprised Xewkija Tigers 2-0.

The Ajax were on the front-foot throughout the match but only managed to grab the points when scoring two late goals.

It was Xewkija who should have taken the lead on 52 minutes when they were awarded a penalty  for a foul by Owen Spiteri on Emiliano Lattes. The Argentine picked himself up but saw his shot was saved by goalkeeper Gaetano Bugeja.

Xewkija were reduced to ten players two minutes later when Nicholas Micallef was dismissed for dissent.

Seventeen minutes from time, Kerċem took the lead from a free kick by Andrew Mizzi. 

The Tigers failed to respond and Kerċem wrapped up the points four minutes from time when Anthony Zammit surprised the Xewkija goalkeeper with a lob from outside the area.   

Division Two Cup

Għarb Rangers and Qala Saints opened their commitments in the GFA Division Two Cup when winning their opening qualifying round matches.

This year’s format sees the five participating teams involved in a round-robin phase with the top two teams contesting the final.

Għarb Rangers earned their first points following a 1-0 win over Żebbuġ Rovers, courtesy of a 55th minute goal scored by Mario Theuma.

Żebbuġ missed the chance to level matters on 70 minutes when a penalty by Matthias Michael Uzor ended high.

Nine minutes from time, Għarb substitute Ruben Zammit was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Qala Saints registered a 2-1 win over Munxar Falcons. 

Qala opened the score through Ralph Ebube Okpokwu (20) but Munxar levelled the score through Ayesller Carvalho (55).

The Maroons grabbed the winner on 59 minutes through Ebube Okpokwu.

PLAYED ON THURSDAY

Sannat Lions vs Kerċem Ajax           2-4

PLAYING ON FRIDAY

GOZO STADIUM

GFA Division One

Oratory Y. vs Nadur Y. 19.00

SATURDAY

KERĊEM STADIUM

GFA Division Two

St Lawrence vs Għarb R.           12.30

GOZO STADIUM

GFA Division One

SK Victoria vs Għajnsielem       15.00

PLAYING SUNDAY

KERĊEM STADIUM

GFA Division Two Cup

Żebbuġ vs Munxar       12.30

GOZO STADIUM

GFA Division One

Xewkija T. vs Victoria H.            15.00

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