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Qala Saints join Nadur Youngsters at the top of GFA Division One

Haraan Goncalves Barbosa (centre) scores Oratory Youths’ opening goal against Nadur Youngsters. PHOTO: ANTHONY CASSAR

Newly-promoted Qala Saints will end 2022 as co-leaders of the GFA Division One with Nadur Youngsters as they took full advantage of a slip by the Gozitan champions to join them at the top of the standings.

In the main match of the weekend, Qala Saints obtained a deserved 2-0 win over Kerċem Ajax to become the main challengers for the title to favourites Nadur Youngsters. 

Qala confirmed their strong potential in the championship with a dominant display over Kerċem for most of the 90 minutes. 

The win for the Maroons matured with a goal scored in each half.

Julian Yoiti Suzuki Bicudo opened the score directly from a free-kick on 25 minutes. 

The turning point of the encounter arrived on 59 minutes as the Ajax could have levelled the score but an effort from close in by Karl Formosa was well saved by Qala goalkeeper Owen Attard. 

The Ajax were made to pay for this miss as minutes later Qala made it 2-0 when Jordi Parnis fired home with a shot from the edge of the area.

Nadur Youngsters missed the chance to strengthen their grip on top spot when they were held to a 2-2 draw by relegation strugglers Oratory Youths.

Oratory stunned their opponents when they surged into a two-goal lead in the first half. Haraan Goncalves Barbosa put them ahead on 24 minutes following a swift break before Sunday Ubuwere pushed the ball home from close in three minutes from the break.

Nadur fought back strongly after the break and nine minutes into the second half they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Igor Nedeljkovic and Marcelo Barbosa made no mistake from the spot.

Nineteen minutes from time, the Gozitan champions restored parity when Gustavo Ferreira headed home from a Gennaro Hili cross.

Meanwhile, Victoria Hotspurs clinched three important points following a 1-0 win over Għajnsielem to move away from the relegation zone for the first time this season. 

This was a setback for Għajnsielem who missed the chance to move closer to the league pacesetters.

The all-important goal arrived on 19 minutes when Etienne Xiberras fired the ball home with a long-range strike that completely surprised the Għajnsielem goalkeeper.

GFA Division Two

SK Victoria Wanderers took full advantage of their rivals troubles last weekend to go top of the GFA Division Two.

The Wanderers clinched all three points following a 1-0 win over Għarb Rangers. The all-important goal was scored by Aud-Gustine James Obaje just past the hour mark.

Għarb ended the match with ten men as Justin Agius was sent off for a second bookable offence eight minutes from time. 

The Wanderers picked up another point last week when they were held to a goalless draw by St Lawrence Spurs in a rescheduled fixture from Match Day 3 that was postponed last November due to a waterlogged pitch.

Żebbuġ Rovers secured a crucial 3-2 win over promotion contenders Xagħra United to move up to second in the standings. This was Xagħra’s second defeat of the campaign. 

Żebbuġ took an early lead through Lorenzo Atzori (2) but Xaghra turned the result in their favour before half time through Joel Xuereb (21) and an own goal by Żebbuġ’s Manuel Gauci (42).

The Rovers were not demoralised and clinched the three points with second-half goals from Matthion Formosa (64) and a strike by Daniel Mesa Pineros (74).

Munxar Falcons and St Lawrence Spurs earned a point each following a goalless draw. 

The match became nervous during the final stages and in the third minute of stoppage time the two sides had a player each sent off.

Munxar’s Stefan Farrugia and George Portelli, of St Lawrence Spurs, were both shown the red card.

After the match, St Lawrence’s Jake Saliba was also shown a red card for protests with the referee.

NEXT FIXTURES

JANUARY 6

Gozo Stadium

GFA Division One

Xewkija T. vs Victoria H.            19.00

JANUARY 7

Kerċem Arkafort Stadium

GFA Division Two

SK Victoria W. vs Xagħra           12.45

St Lawrence vs Żebbuġ             15.00

Gozo Stadium

GFA Division One

Qala vs Sannat Lions   14.00

JANUARY 8

Kerċem Arkafort Stadium

GFA Division Two

Munxar vs Għarb Rangers        13.00

Gozo Stadium

GFA Division One

Għajnsielem vs Nadur               14.00

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