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Nadur Youngsters, Qala Saints win to strengthen leadership

Nadur's Marcelo Barbosa speeds through the Għajnsielem defence. Photo: Anthony Cassar

Joint-leaders Qala Saints and Nadur Youngsters both turned defeat into victory in their respective matches from Match Day 10 of the GFA Division One to extend their advantage over their nearest opponents.

Qala Saints chalked up a 3-1 win over bottom-placed Sannat Lions. 

The Lions surprised their opponents when taking the lead on 17 minutes through a low shot by Camilo Sanchez Gonzales. 

Qala, who had their regular central defenders missing due to suspension, hit back and levelled the scores on 32 minutes through a deflected strike by Julian Suzuki Bicudo.

Five minutes later, the Maroons took the lead with a goal scored by Nathan Chukwudi Njoku before Rafael Prudente made it 3-1 on the stroke of half-time.

Qala continued to dictate matters but failed to increase their advantage. 

The match ended on a negative note as Qala’s Joshua Buttigieg and Sannat’s Christian Dingli were sent off for retaliation.

Nadur Youngsters came from behind to overcome the challenge of Għajnsielem 4-2. 

With this result, Għajnsielem compromised their chances to be among the challengers for the title and are in danger of playing in the Relegation Pool this season.

Nadur could have taken the lead as early as the second minute when they were awarded a penalty for a foul by Daniel Farrugia on Igor Nedeljkovic.

But from the spot, Marcelo Barbosa’s shot was saved by Għajnsielem goalkeeper Adrian Parnis.

That proved too be a costly miss as a minute later Claudio Da Silva Barbosa fired them ahead.

But the Youngsters fought back and on 27 minutes Stefan Cassar pulled them level.

Nadur suffered a blow on the stroke of half-time when Lucas Baretto Da Silva was dismissed for a second bookable offence.

But despite being a man down, Nadur still headed into the break ahead when Għajnsielem’s Patrick Dos Santos Cruz inadvertently headed the ball into his own net.

Għajnsielem failed to make the most of their numerical advantage and it was Nadur who stretched their lead to 4-1 following an own goal by Daniel Farrugia (83) and Nedeljkovic (85). 

Għajnsielem pulled one back a minute from time through Joao Pedro who scored directly from a free-kick.

Both teams ended the match with ten men as Joseph Xerri and Junior Candido were both shown the red card.

Xewkija Tigers moved up to third place when they overcame Victoria Hotspurs 2-1.

The Hotspurs seemed more adventurous during the first half but it was Xewkija who capitalised from their chances and opened a two-goal lead through goals by Rodney Buttigeg (10) and Damir Andelovic (27). 

The Rabat side pulled a goal back four minutes from the break through Ralph Ebube Okpokwu.

On 73 minutes Xewkija had central defender Aleksa Bozovic sent off after receiving a second caution while Victoria’s substitute Christoph Caruana was also dismissed in the first minute of stoppage time.

GFA Division Two

SK Victoria Wanderers preserved top spot in GFA Division Two with a 1-0 win over Xagħra United.

The decisive goal of the encounter arrived in the second minute of stoppage time through Aud-Gustine James Obaje.

Żebbuġ Rovers responded to Victoria’s win with a 3-2 victory over St Lawrence Spurs. 

The Rovers took the lead on 25 minutes through Matthion Formosa but St Lawrence’s Victor John Saliba levelled the score on 33 minutes. 

Żebbuġ regained the lead early in the second half with a goal scored by Carl Gauci.

The Spurs fought back again on the hour as Luke Portelli made it 2-2.

Żebbuġ striker Daniel Pineros scored the decisive goal on 75 minutes to hand his team the three points.

Munxar Falcons and Gharb Rangers took a point each after sharing four goals in a hard-fought encounter, a result that left both teams in the lower part of the standings.

The first half remained goalless with Munxar having Robert Grima sent off on the stroke of half-time.

Għarb opened the score on 58 minutes through Carlos Cutajar.

But Munxar hit back and levelled matters on 81 minutes with a goal scored by Henry Fabian Solis. 

Two minutes later, Għarb’s debutant Vitor Gabriel Soarez Souza made it 2-1.

Munxar refused to throw in the towel and they saved a point when netting the equaliser in the fourth minute of stoppage time through Solis.

NEXT FIXTURES

PLAYING ON SATURDAY

KERĊEM ARKAFORT STADIUM

GFA DIVISION TWO

Għarb R. vs St Lawrence       12.45

Xagħra Utd vs Munxar            15.00

PLAYING ON SUNDAY

KerĊem Arkafort Stadium

GFA DIVISION TWO

Żebbuġ vs SK Victoria W.      12.45

PLAYING ON WEDNESDAY

GOZO STADIUM

GFA DIVISION ONE

Oratory Y. vs Kerċem A.         19.00

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