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Relegation issue to be decided on final day in GFA Division One

Nadur's Stefan Cassar moves past James Meilak, of SK Victoria Wanderers. Photo: Anthony Cassar

The four matches from the GFA Division One last weekend produced 17 goals with the top teams earning points while the two bottom sides, Sannat Lions and SK Victoria Wanderers, conceded defeats so that the relegation issue will be decided on the final day of the season.

Champions Nadur Youngsters obtained a 3-0 win over bottom-placed SK Victoria Wanderers to extend their lead at the top to 17 points.

Nadur paved their way to their victory when netting two first-half goals.

Jordi Parnis opened the score on 14 minutes when he headed the ball home following a Marcelo Barbosa cross.

The Youngsters were awarded a penalty on 27 minutes when Nicholas Grech handled the ball inside his own area and from the spot Barbosa made no mistake. For the Brazilian striker this was his 24th league goal to consolidate his top spot in the scorers’ list.

Nadur took their foot off the accelerator after the break and the Wanderers threatened to re-open the issue but efforts by Fabricio Rozkiewicz and Gabriel Cardona were stopped by the woodwork.

Nadur sealed their win on 75 minutes with a third goal scored by Ederson Bruno Domingos after being set up by Judivan Flor Da Silva.

Sannat Lions were on the receiving end of a heavy 6-1 defeat at the hands of Kerċem Ajax to remain one point clear of bottom-placed SK Victoria Wanderers.

Kerċem looked determined to make up for their poor showing in their previous match and following this win they made sure of finishing in third place in the final standings.

Kerċem had an excellent start and surged into a two-goal lead through a brace by Euller Da Silva Rodrigues (6,21). 

Sannat pulled a goal back on 25 minutes through a tap-in by Nicholas Grima.

But the Lions could not match their opponents’ intensity as Kerċem increased the pressure after the break and made sure of the win with four goals scored by a brace by Joshua Buttigieg (50, 65), as well as goals from Wesley Simeao Dos Santos (58) and Euller Da Silva Rodrigues (85). 

Sannat could have scored a second goal on 71 minutes when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Henry Fabian Solis.

From the spot, Solis’s shot came off the bar and from the rebound the Sannat forward headed the ball into the net but the ‘goal’ was disallowed for offside.

Xewkija Tigers and Għajnsielem shared eight goals in a thrilling encounter that could have gone either way.

Xewkija were the better side early on and took a two-goal lead through Matthias Mercieca (5, 16). 

Għajnsielem fought back and pulled a goal back on 18 minutes through Alberto Xuereb. 

Xewkija’s Matthias Mercieca completed his second consecutive hat-trick on 22 minutes.

But in the following minutes Għajnsielem increased their efforts and levelled matters with goals from Ryota Watanabe (30) and Igor Nedeljkovic (37). 

Two minutes from the break, Għajnsielem were reduced to ten men when goalkeeper Adrian Parnis was sent off for holding Elton Da Silva who was through on goal.

But Xewkija did not manage to take advantage of the extra player on the field. 

In fact, Għajnsielem seemed heading to victory when they were awarded a penalty after Shola Haruna handled the ball inside his own area. From the spot Nedeljkovic made no mistake.

But Xewkija saved the result eight minutes from time when they too were awarded a penalty for a foul on Elton Da Silva who went on to convert from the spot. 

The derby between Oratory Youths and Victoria Hotspurs produced few serious scoring opportunities and ended in a goalless draw. 

Oratory had the better scoring chances and were also unlucky midway through the second half when a free kick by Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira hit the crossbar.

Għajnsielem reach Cup final

Għajnsielem clinched a 3-0 win over second division champions Qala Saints 3-0, in the second semi-final of the GFA Cup.

The Blacks will now face Nadur in the final on May 8.

Għajnsielem were favourites to reach the final but Qala were well deployed and made it very difficult for the opposing strikers to create serious danger. 

The Blacks, however, managed to head into the half-time interval with a two-goal lead with goals from Lawrence Grima (35) and Igor Nedeljkovic (45). 

The Maroons improved after the break but missed some good scoring opportunities.

Instead it was Għajnsielem who sealed their win when they scored a third goal on 61 minutes through substitute Johnny Camilleri.

PROGRAMME

PLAYING ON FRIDAY

GFA DIVISION ONE

Victoria H. vs Xewkija T.            19.00

PLAYING ON SATURDAY

GFA DIVISION ONE

Kerċem A. vs Nadur Y. 16.00

PLAYING ON SUNDAY

GFA DIVISION ONE

Għajnsielem vs Sannat L.          13.30

SK Victoria W. vs Oratory         16.00

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