Nadur Youngsters came out on top in their much-awaited clash against Għajnsielem to go six points clear at the top of the GFA Division One.
With this win, the Youngsters are now the firm favourites to claim the title crown as the Blacks have somewhat compromised their chances to challenge for the top honour after suffering back-to-back defeats.
Nadur started the direct clash against Għajnsielem as favourites as they were at full strength. The Blacks had striker Jhon Arboleda Valencia missing due to suspension while skipper Kenneth Mercieca was ruled out by injury.
Nadur held command of play from the early stages and opened the score on 33 minutes through a header by Judivan Flor Da Silva following a cross by Marcelo Barbosa.
The Youngsters failed to convert their territorial supremacy into more goals and were punished in the first minute of added time when Għajnsielem scored the equaliser.
Johnny Camilleri tapped the ball home from close in after the Nadur goalkeeper failed to hold onto Shaun Attard’s header.
On the restart, Għajnsielem grew in stature but when it looked they could grab a second goal it was Nadur who struck on 64 minutes. Barbosa hit a low drive that rolled into the net.
Għajnsielem tried hard to get themselves back into the match but ended up playing with nine players in the closing minutes.
First Kevin Farrugia was shown a straight red card on 75 minutes for hitting an opponent while Keith Borg was sent off for a second bookable offence on 86 minutes.
Nadur could have added another goal during the dying moments but Barbosa’s strike was disallowed for an offside infringement.
Kerċem Ajax and SK Victoria Wanderers shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.
With this result, Kerċem went level with Għajnsielem in second place in the standings while the Wanderers kept their hopes of moving away from the relegation zone.
The match turned out to be a well-contested affair and the win could have gone either way.
SK Victoria Wanderers opened the score on 20 minutes through a close-range shot by Neil Camilleri.
Kerċem produced a strong reaction and created various chances but had to wait until the 74th minute to level the score with an effort from Nathaniel Mercieca.
During the final stages, the two sides missed good scoring opportunities to win it as the stalemate prevailed.
GFA Division Two
Żebbuġ Rovers dropped the first points in the campaign as they were held to a goalless draw by Munxar Falcons.
The Rovers failed to perform in this match as Munxar saw more of the ball and had the better chances but could not find the breakthrough.
Qala Saints took advantage of Żebbuġ’s result beat bottom-placed Għarb Rangers 2-0 and join the Rangers at the
top of the standings, just before the direct clash between the two sides next weekend.
Michael Zerafa opened the score on 45 minutes before Brandon Said sealed the win with the second goal in the first minute of stoppage time. Meanwhile, St Lawrence Spurs registered a 3-1 win over Xaghra United.
This was St Lawrence’s first win and with the points obtained they leapfrogged Xagħra in the table.
St Lawrence were the better side and opened a two-goal lead through Alen Haska (41) and Christopher Cauchi.
Xaghra pulled a goal back through Shemar Tristan Blair (61).
But the Spurs made sure of the win with a third goal scored by Haska from the penalty spot.
PLAYING ON SATURDAY
GFA DIVISION TWO
Xagħra vs Munxar F. 12.30
Qala Saints vs Zebbug R. 15.00
PLAYING ON SUNDAY
GFA DIVISION TWO
St Lawrence vs Għarb 12.30
GFA DIVISION ONE
Sannat L. vs Xewkija T. 15.00
GFA DIVISION ONE
Kerċem Ajax vs Oratory 15.00