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Għajnsielem, Nadur victorious as league pacesetters on song

Paulo Santos De Azevedo heads home Victoria Hotspurs' opening goal against Xewkija Tigers. Photo: Anthony Cassar

The first round from the GFA Division One came to an end last weekend with the top four teams in the standings recording comfortable victories leaving leaders Għajnsielem just six points ahead of Victoria Hotspurs and Kerċem Ajax who are sharing third place.

Għajnsielem maintained their leadership in the standings following a 4-2 win over SK Victoria Wanderers to remain the only side still unbeaten after the first round of matches.

The Blacks looked set to be strolling towards a comfortable victory when they surged into a two-goal lead in the opening stages.

After three minutes, Gabriel Cardona fouled Igor Nedeljkovic inside the area and the Serbian picked himself up to convert the resultant penalty before two minutes later Rodney Buttigieg made it 2-0.

Nedeljkovic struck again on 39 minutes when he scored directly from a free-kick to put the Blacks three goals ahead.

After the break, the Wanderers came more into the picture and managed to reopen the issue with goals from Aud-Gustine James Obaje (57) and Gabriel Cardona (69).

Cardona almost levelled matters but his curling drive just missed the upright.

The Rabat side’s hopes suffered a blow on 77 minutes when Kersten Grima was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

With a player more on the pitch, Għajnsielem quickly put the game beyond their opponents’ reach when Nedeljkovic completed his hat-trick ten minutes from time.

Nadur Youngsters scored three goals in each half to brush aside Oratory Youths 6-1 and remain just three points adrift of Għajnsielem.

The Youngsters were in control right from the outset and on 11 minutes Ederson put them ahead with a low drive.

Marcelo Barbosa made it 2-0 on 25 minutes when he tapped the ball home from close in.

Just before the break, the match was halted for a couple of minutes when persons in the stands were directing offensive language towards referee Trustin Farrugia Cann and his assistants for an offside decision and were escorted outside the Gozo Stadium.

When play resumed, Nadur added a third goal on 44 minutes courtesy of another goal from Ederson.

Oratory managed to pull a goal back on the hour mark when they were awarded a penalty for a foul by Gianluca Muscat on Diego Steven Maldonado. The latter made no mistake from the spot.

But it was Nadur who put the game beyond their opponents when scoring three times without reply through Marcelo Barbosa (76, 82) and Stefan Cassar (78).

Victoria Hotspurs regained third spot in the standings when they beat Xewkija Tigers 4-1 to revive their hopes of a late title push.

The match was evenly balanced early on but gradually the Hotspurs took command and forged ahead on 29 minutes when Paulo Santos De Azevedo headed the all into the net.

The Brazilian striker struck again just 30 seconds into the second half before Christian Mercieca made it 3-0 as Victoria were firmly in control.

Xewkija managed to pull a goal back on 63 minutes when Emiliano Lattes scored directly from a free-kick.

The Hotspurs sealed their win a minute from time when Henrique Maciel seized possession and fired a thumping drive that flew into the net.

Kerċem Ajax ended the first-round commitments in style when they beat Sannat Lions 4-2 to further distance themselves from the relegation places.

Sannat stunned their opponents with the opener after four minutes of play through a headed effort from Damon Hili.

Kerċem, however, fought back and managed to turn the result in their favour with two goals in the space of two minutes through Joshua Buttigieg (24) and Andrew Mizzi (26). 

Kerċem sealed the points with two second-half goals scored by Nathaniel Mercieca (47) and Andrew Mizzi (78).

Sannat made the score more respectable four minutes from time when Hili bagged his second of the game. 

GFA Division Two Cup

Munxar Falcons kept alive their hopes of reaching the final of the GFA Division Two Cup when they crushed Żebbuġ Rovers 5-0.

Ayesller Carvalho was the protagonist for the Falcons as the Brazilian striker netted four goals. He converted two penalties on 12 and 18 minutes before adding a third on 29 minutes.

Steve Dimech made it 4-0 on 55 minutes before Carvalho completed the rout on 62 minutes.

In the other match, St Lawrence Spurs and Għarb Rangers shared four goals in a tight match.

Għarb seemed heading towards victory when Joseph Cefai Farrugia put them ahead in first-half stoppage through Joseph Cefai Farrugia and Luke Attard made it 2-0 on 48 minutes.

Għarb should have added a third on 70 minutes when they were awarded a penalty but Milos Stojanovic saw his shot finish over the bar.

That missed proved costly as the Spurs fought back and pulled a goal back through Wayne Hili on 73 minutes before grabbing the equaliser deep into stoppage time with a header from Daniel Micallef. 

NEXT FIXTURES

PLAYING FRIDAY

Gozo Stadium

GFA Division One

Kercem vs SK Victoria W.          19.00

PLAYING SATURDAY

Kerċem Stadium

GFA Division Two Cup

Qala Saints vs St Lawrence 12.30

Gozo Stadium

GFA Division One

Victoria H. vs Sannat L.             15.00   

PLAYING SUNDAY

Kerċem  Stadium

GFA Division Two Cup

Għarb vs Munxar F.     12.30

Gozo Stadium

GFA Division One

Għajnsielem vs Oratory            15.00

PLAYING MONDAY

Gozo StadiuM

GFA Division One

Xewkija T. vs Xagħra Utd          19.00

WEDNESDAY

Gozo Stadium

BOV GFA Cup Preliminary Round

Għajnsielem vs Victoria H.       18.30

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