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Nadur Youngsters extend positive run but Għajnsielem slump to defeat

Oratory Youth’s Haraan Barbosa (left) moves past Jefferson. PHOTO: ANTHONY CASSAR

Nadur Youngsters extended their excellent run of form when they registered their ninth consecutive win in the championship with a 2-0 victory over Xewkija Tigers.

With this result, the Youngsters remained the only side still unbeaten in the top flight this season and have consolidated their status as hot favourites to win the title.

Moreso, after their nearest rivals Għajnsielem slumped to an unexpected defeat at the expense of relegation-threatened Oratory Youths.

The Youngsters were in mourning for the match against Xewkija Tigers as their treasurer and ex-goalkeeper Kevin Vella passed away during the week. 

Nadur were determined to obtain a positive performance to honour Vella’s memory and dominated their opponents during the initial stages.

The Youngsters broke the stalemate on 20 minutes through a low shot by Marcelo Barbosa. 

Xewkija, who were looking to make up for the heavy defeat conceded to their opponents in the corresponding first-round fixture, tried to fight back but failed to capitalise on some good scoring opportunities. 

Nadur punished their opponent and doubled the score on 39 minutes with a close-range header by Barbosa. 

Xewkija were demoralised after the break and Nadur sealed the win on 81 minutes through a direct free-kick by Ederson Bruno Domingos.

Victoria Hotspurs obtained a 1-0 win over SK Victoria Wanderers to move away from the relegation places.

The Hotspurs grabbed the all-important goal on 52 minutes when Aaron Touarha fouled Olimpio Fernandes inside the area and from the spot Robinson Blandon Rendon made no mistake.

Rendon’s day was marred on 68 minutes when he was sent off but despite being with a player less the Hotspurs managed to preserve their one-goal lead till the end.

Oratory Youths created the biggest upset of the weekend when they stunned Għajnsielem 3-0 to boost their fight against relegation.

The defeat inevitably had repercussions on the future of coach Daniel Bogdanovic who decided to step down from his post with immediate effect following talks with the club.

Oratory were more dangerous than their opponents throughout the 90 minutes.  They opened the score on 15 minutes from a penalty, awarded for a foul by Shaun Attard on Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira, and the same striker converted from the spot.

Għajnsielem’s reaction never materialised and it was the Youths who doubled their lead on 54 minutes with another goal scored by Ferreira. Twelve minutes later the match was over as a contest when Haraan Barbosa added a third goal.

On 85 minutes, Għajnsielem ended the match with ten players when Johnny Camilleri was sent off for a rough foul on an opponent in midfield.

Division Two

Munxar Falcons and Żebbuġ Rovers both lost the chance to remain close to current leaders Qala Saints as they were both held to a draw in their respective matches.

The Falcons were held by St Lawrence Spurs in a four-goal thriller.

The Spurs took the lead on 52 minutes through Alen Haska but Munxar’s substitute Aaron Buttigieg levelled the score nine minutes later. 

St Lawrence regained the lead on 70 minutes with a goal scored by Christopher Cauchi but the Falcons saved the result when netting a second goal from a penalty converted by Ayesller Carvalho on 79 minutes.

Żebbuġ Rovers and Xagħra United produced another exciting match when sharing six goals.

Żebbuġ seemed to be heading towards a comfortable victory as they ended the first half with a two-goal lead following a brace by Nathan John Cini (19, 45). 

Xagħra fought back strongly after the break when they turned the result in their favour with goals scored by Matthias Cordina (55) and a brace by Shemar Tristan Blair.

On the stroke of time, Xaghra could have snatched all points with a fourth goal but Blair had a shot that was stopped by the post with an open goal at his mercy. 

Xagħra paid dearly for that miss as in the first minute of stoppage time Żebbuġ levelled the score through a header by Daniel Mesa Pineros.

NEXT FIXTURES

PLAYING ON FRIDAY

GOZO STADIUM

GFA DIVISION ONE

Kerċem vs Victoria H.  19.00

PLAYING ON SATURDAY

KERĊEM STADIUM

GFA DIVISION TWO

Qala vs St Lawrence    12.30

GFA DIVISION ONE

SK Victoria W. vs Xewkija          15.00

PLAYING ON SUNDAY

KERĊEM STADIUM

GFA DIVISION TWO

Munxar F. vs Għarb     12.30

GFA DIVISION ONE

Nadur Y. vs Sannat Lions          15.00

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