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Għajnsielem hand first defeat to leaders Nadur Youngsters

Igor Nedeljkovic, of Għajnsielem (right) is challenged by Lucas Moreira. PHOTO: ANTHONY CASSAR

Għajnsielem were in rampant form last weekend when they surged past Nadur Youngsters 5-3 to hand the runaway leaders with their first defeat of the season.  

Nadur were seen as favourites to extend their positive run in the championship as they looked to wrap up the league title so early in the season.

But Għajnsielem had other plans as they seemed determined to make up for their disappointment of dropping out of the title race due to an inconsistent run of results.

Għajnsielem approached this match without any pressure despite the fact that their coach Gottard Conti had some regular players missing due to injury.

However, the Blacks produced an impressive defensive performance and surprised their more-quoted opponents by being clinical in front of goal, particularly in the final part of the match with striker Igor Nedeljkovic netting a hat-trick.

Nadur could have scored an early goal but an effort by Ederson hit the foot of the post. 

The match remained evenly tight until the half-time interval as both sides failed to capitalise from their scoring opportunities. 

Nadur had a better start in the second period and opened the score through a close-range shot by Jordi Parnis (48). 

Għajnsielem however hit back and turned the result in their favour when scoring three goals without reply. 

On 54 minutes, the Blacks levelled the score when Shaun Attard netted from close in following a corner action.

On 67 minutes substitute Kevin Farrugia headed the ball home following a cross by Alberto Xuereb. 

Għajnsielem were awarded a penalty on 72 minutes for a foul on the same Xuereb and Nedeljkovic made it 3-1.

The Youngsters re-opened the issue on 81 minutes when Marcelo Barbosa tapped the ball home from close in following a cross by Ederson.

But one minute later Ghajnsielem re-established their two-goal lead when Nedeljkovic headed the ball home from close in.

The Blacks went on to score their fifth goal from a penalty in the 90th minute for a foul on Nedeljkovic and the same player made no mistake from the spot.

Nadur made the score more respectable in the fourth minute of stoppage time when a shot by Barbosa hit the crossbar and from the rebound Ederson headed the ball into the net.

The other three matches played last weekend focused on the relegation battle.

Victoria Hotspurs took an important step towards becoming mathematically sure of their First Division status when they beat Sannat Lions 3-1 despite playing for more than an hour with a player less. 

The Hotspurs opened the score from a penalty on 20 minutes converted by Robinson Blandon Rendon and nine minutes later they had Oliver Cremona sent off for a second bookable offence.

The Hotspurs, however, scored two more goals through Rendon (42) and Olimpio Gabriel Fernandes (48).  Sannat Lions pulled a goal back on 57 minutes from a penalty converted by Henry Fabian Solis.

In the first minute of stoppage time, numerical parity was restored when Sannat Lions’ Marlon Mamo was sent off after receiving a second yellow card.

Xewkija Tigers and Oratory Youths earned a point each following a 1-1 draw.

Oratory opened the score on the hour mark through a strike by Ishmael Belhadj.

But Xewkija saved the result two minutes from time following a penalty converted by Elton Da Silva.

In the other match, Kerċem Ajax and SK Victoria Wanderers also shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.

Kerċem opened the score after 13 minutes with a shot by Sebastien Martinez Turizo. But the Wanderers equalised through Gabriel Cardona on 39 minutes.

GFA Division Two

Qala Saints confirmed their superiority in the lower category when they obtained a 1-0 win over Xagħra United to preserve their unbeaten record. 

The decisive goal of the match arrived on 48 minutes through Brandon Said. 

After the final whistle Xaghra had Steve Sultana sent off for fighting.

Munxar Falcons were back to winning ways when they beat St Lawrence Spurs 2-1.

St Lawrence opened the score with an early goal scored by Alen Haska. But Munxar turned the result in their favour with a goal scored in each half by Ayesller Carvalho (39, 49).

Żebbuġ Rovers and Għarb Rangers took a point each following a 1-1 draw.

Għarb opened the score on 42 minutes through Gabriel Debrincat but Żebbuġ levelled matters  on 50 minutes through Eman Bugeja. 

Just before the final whistle, Żebbuġ had Daniel Mesa Pineros sent off for a second bookable offence.

NEXT FIXTURES

PLAYING ON FRIDAY

GOZO STADIUM

GFA DIVISION ONE

Għajnsielem vs SK Victoria       19.00

PLAYING ON SATURDAY

KERĊEM STADIUM

GFA DIVISION TWO

Xagħra vs Żebbuġ        12.00

St Lawrence vs Qala    14.15

GOZO STADIUM

GFA DIVISION ONE

Oratory vs Kerċem Ajax            16.00

PLAYING ON SUNDAY 

KERĊEM STADIUM

GFA DIVISION TWO

Għarb vs Munxar Falcons         13.30

GOZO STADIUM

GFA DIVISION ONE

Victoria H. vs Nadur    16.00

PLAYING MONDAY

GOZO STADIUM

GFA DIVISION ONE

Xewkija vs Sannat Lions            19.00

PLAYING WEDNESDAY

GOZO STADIUM

GFA CUP SEMI-FINAL

Oratory vs Nadur Y.    18.30

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