GŻIRA UNITED 3
Maxuell 14; Jefferson 24, 38
SANTA LUCIA 1
D. Zarkov-6, G. Bohrer-6, N. Muscat-7, Z. Scerri-6 (90 A. Borg), M. Dias-5.5, L. Riascos-7, C. Gauci-6 (66 S. Pisani), R. Duarte Correa-7, M. Cosic-6, M. Maxuell-6.5, Jefferson-6 (90 B. Borg).
M. Calleja Cremona-4, L. Fonseca-5 (60 F. Rodrigues), S. Rier-5, N. Pulis (36 E. Camilleri-4) (60 B. Agius), R. Bairam-5, D. Valpoort-5, L. Bah-5, D. Xuereb-6, J. Pisani-6, E. Serna-4 (54 R. Saito), M. Alba-6.
Referee: Matthew DeGabriele
Yellow cards: Alba, Valpoort, Rodrigues.
BOV player of the match: Jefferson da Assis (Gzira United)
The Maroons took just 38 minutes to brush aside the feeble challenge of Santa Lucia and chalk up the first win of the season.
Gżira, in great physical shape after their European endevours, dominated the match from the outset, surging into a two-goal lead inside the first 25 minutes before Santa Lucia goalkeeper Matthew Calleja Cremona gifted the Maroons the third goal to leave coach Pablo Cortes Sanchez reflecting on the size of the task he faces.
The Yellows had spent most of the summer preparing for life in the second tier of the Maltese game before they leapt at the chance of competing again in the country’s elite division despite the monumental task awaiting them.
The Maroons started brightly, when Gabriel Bohrer curled in a cross from the left and Maxuell Maia rose high to loop his header for his first goal of the new campaign.
In a frenetic opening passage of play Maia provided attacking impetus for Gżira, three times getting into the Santa Lucia box, only to be denied by the post on 16 minutes.
On 24 minutes, Zachary Scerri’s corner looked to be a routine effort, but Jefferson nipped in front of Calleja Cremona to lob the ball over the goalkeeper with a backheel.
The goal rocked Pablo Cortes Sanchez’s side but Santa Lucia did not falter and Miguel Alba dragged his side back into the game.
The Argentine winger hit an angled drive into the low corner.
But any hopes Santa Lucia had of equalising disappeared on 38 minutes when Calleja Cremona came out of his area only to miss the ball allowing Jefferson a clear shot at goal.
After the interval, San Lucia refused to buckle. On 70 minutes, Jurgen Pisani ran free in the box as he was served by Liam Bah. The Santa Lucia captain’s effort squeezed under the Gżira goalkeeper, but the ball bounced out.
Calleja Cremona looked to have regained his composure with a diving save to keep out Nikolai Muscat’s drive.
However, at death, the Santa Lucia goalkeeper looked to have cleared any danger when he came out of his box to dispossess Ricardo Correa as he bore down on goal. But Calleja Cremona slipped to let the ball run loose, the Uruguayan player stole in only to see his effort cleared off the line by Pisani.