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Nadur Youngsters back to winning ways to close in on league title

Nadur Youngsters striker Marcelo Barbosa races past Chris Cardona. Photo: Anthony Cassar

GFA Division One leaders Nadur Youngsters bounced back from their defeat to rivals Għajnsielem when they eased past Victoria Hotspurs 2-0.

The Youngsters have now preserved their ten-point lead over Għajnsielem and need just six points from their remaining five matches to be crowned champions.

Victoria Hotspurs were forced to field a depleted side due to a number of suspensions and injuries and inevitably found it hard to match the quality of their opponents.

Nadur dominated the match and sealed the points with a goal in each half.

Marcelo Barbosa opened the score on 29 minutes before Stefan Cassar doubled the lead on 75 minutes.

Second-placed Għajnsielem also obtained a 2-0 win over bottom placed SK Victoria Wanderers. 

The Blacks could have scored a more pronounced victory but were denied by some fine interventions from the Wanderers goalkeeper.

Għajnsielem took the lead on 18 minutes through Alberto Xuereb and then sealed the points with a second goal scored 12 minutes from time.

The direct clash between relegation rivals Xewkija Tigers and Sannat Lions, who were sharing second-from-bottom spot in the standings, produced a seven-goal thriller with Xewkija coming out on top courtesy of a late own goal.

Sannat were in the driving set for most of the encounter and opened the score on 32 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Xewkija defender Martin Hrubsa handled the ball inside the area. The Czech midfielder was shown the red card and from the spot Henry Solis drilled the ball home.

Solis doubled Sannat’s lead five minutes from half-time when he scored from close in.

But in stoppage time, Xewkija managed to pull a goal back when Rodney Buttigieg was floored inside the area by Daniel Borg and Elton Da Silva duly converted from the spot.

Sannat regained their two-goal lead on 48 minutes through a long-range strike by Nebojsa Biculjevic that completely surprised the Xewkija goalkeeper. 

Sannat failed to administer their lead and as time passed Xewkija grew in stature.

The Tigers reduced the deficit on 64 minutes through a low drive by Emiliano Lattes.

Two minutes from time, Xewkija levelled matters through a header by Shola Haruna. 

When it looked as though that the match would finish in a draw, in the second minute of stoppage time, Xewkija’s Rodney Buttigieg took the drop ball following an injury and hit the ball towards goal. 

Sannat goalkeeper Lorjean Xuereb lost his balance and finished with the ball beyond the goalline committing an own goal to hand all three points to Xewkija.

In the other top-flight match played last week, Oratory Youths and Kerċem Ajax also produced an exciting finish as the two sides shared the spoils in a 3-3 draw.

Oratory surely left the field more disappointed as they threw away a two-goal lead during the dying moments of the match. 

The Youths opened the score on 43 minutes through a long-range shot from Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira.

The Brazilian forward made it 2-0 on 49 minutes from a penalty, awarded for a foul by Nicholas Inguanez on Goncalves Barbosa. 

On 54 minutes, Kerċem pulled a goal back from a direct free kick by Euller da Silva Rodrigues.

But Oratory added a third goal ten minutes later through Barbosa following a quick break. 

Kerċem failed to throw in the towel and pulled a goal back two minutes from time through Wesley Simeao Dos Santos.

The Ajax went on to bag the equaliser in stoppage time courtesy of Luiz Santana Motta.

In the second minute of stoppage time Oratory had substitute Daniel Azzopardi sent off for a second bookable offence.

Qala Saints promoted

Qala Saints will return to the top division of Gozitan football next season as they were  mathematically confirmed as champions following a 3-0 win over St Lawrence Spurs.

Qala were determined to ensure they crowned their successful season in this match and produced a dominant display against the Spurs.

The Saints, however, obtained the win with three goals scored midway through the second period through Ralph Okpokwu (67), a penalty converted by Emanuel Buttigieg (71), and Charlon Farrugia (72).

Munxar Falcons consolidated their second place in the standings with a 2-0 win over bottom placed Għarb Rangers. 

Ayesller Carvalho was his team’s hero when he scored a goal in each half.

In the other match, Żebbuġ Rovers obtained a 3-1 win over Xagħra United to move up to third in the standings.

The Rovers opened the score on 49 minutes through Mattias Camilleri Psaila.

Xagħra were reduced to ten men on 75 minutes when Arthur Farrugia was sent off for a second bookable offence. 

Nathan John Cini made it 2-0 on 82 minutes with Xagħra pulling a goal back seven minutes later through Christian Camilleri

Xagħra had a second player sent off in the second minute of stoppage time when goalkeeper Leonard Camilleri was red-carded for dissent.

After 14 minutes of stoppage time, Żebbuġ made sure of the win with a goal scored by Orlando Atzori.

Nadur reach Cup final

Nadur Youngsters retained their chances to win all the honours in Gozitan football when they eased past Oratory Youths 3-0 to reach the GFA Cup final.

Oratory created the better chances in the first half but as time passed by Nadur imposed their superiority and sealed qualification with goals scored by Joseph Zammit (44), Stefan Cassar (54) and a penalty scored by Marcelo Barbosa.

In the final, Nadur will meet the winner of the second semi-final which will be contested by Għajnsielem and Qala Saints.

NEXT FIXTURES

PLAYING ON FRIDAY

GOZO STADIUM

GFA DIVISION ONE

SK Victoria W. vs Victoria         19.00

PLAYING ON SATURDAY

KERĊEM STADIUM

GFA DIVISION TWO

Żebbuġ vs St Lawrence             12.00

Xagħra Utd vs Għarb   14.15

GOZO STADIUM

GFA DIVISION ONE

Kerċem vs Għajnsielem            16.00

PLAYING ON SUNDAY

KERĊEM STADIUM

GFA DIVISION TWO

Qala Saints vs Munxar F.          13.30

GOZO STADIUM

GFA DIVISION ONE

Nadur Y. vs Xewkija Tigers        16.00

PLAYING MONDAY

GOZO STADIUM

GFA DIVISION ONE

Sannat Lions vs Oratory            19.00

PLAYING TUESDAY

KERĊEM STADIUM

GFA DIVISION TWO

St Lawrence vs Xaghra              20.00

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