A goal scored by substitute Matteo Prandelli seven minutes from time gave holders Padania a close win over hosts Gozo in the opening match of Group 1 of the VIVA World Cup.
The match was quite interesting as Gozo were worthy opponents and remained in contention until the final stages of the match. Padania had a good start but seemed surprised by Gozo’s play particularly in the last part of the first period where skipper Daniel Bogdanovic and Chris Camilleri started to produce good moves that very often saw Padania’s rearguard under pressure. The winners of the last two editions of the VIVA World Cup remained calm and at the end managed to come out of their defence in the last quarter of the match and clinched the victory with a goal that arrived at a stage where the Gozitans did not have enough time to produce a reaction.
Although Padania came out with the wind blowing from behind play was rather balanced during the first 45 minutes. Gozo threatened Padania’s goal on 6 minutes through a shot from outside the area by Alex Simoncic that was neutralised by goalie Mattia Pedersoli. However, the reigning champions opened the score in the following action. A cross from the left by Vanni Chiarotto found Mauro Nannini in front of the goalkeeper and the striker netted in goal after having his first attempt partially saved by the Gozitan goalkeeper. On 11 minutes, Padania went again close to scoring through a direct free kick by Luca Mosti was deflected in corner by goalie Mark Grima.
Gozo gained confidence as time passed and started to take command of the midfield. On 13 minutes, Daniel Bogdanovic released John Camilleri in the area but goalie Pedersoli managed to save before Gozo’s striker could conclude. On 25 minutes, once again Bogdanovic distinguished himself with a move from the right flank, his cross shot surprised goalie Pedersoli but the rearguard managed to clear the danger in corner. Ten minutes later, John Camilleri failed to connect to an inviting low cross by Chris Camilleri and in the following action the same John Camilleri headed weakly off a free kick by Alex Simoncic. Goalie Mark Grima rushed to the edge of the area to anticipate Nannini who was released in the area by Costinotis on 38 minutes. Two minutes later an effort by Padania’s Motta was well saved by goalie Grima.
Gozo levelled the score five minutes from the break. Chris Camilleri entered the area from the left flank and from his low cross John Camilleri came from behind the rearguard and netted with a tap-in.
Six minutes in the second half, Padania could have regained the lead but goalie Grima managed to keep calm and turned in corner a good effort by Nannini following a personal move. Two minutes later, it was Padania’s goalie Pedersoli who was called to make a difficult save following a strike by Bogdanovic. From the resultant corner, another attempt by Bogdanovic was deflected into another corner by the defence. Play now became more exciting as the two sides increased their momentum in an attempt to take the lead. On 56 minutes, a header by Cortinotis from a cross by Nannini was cleared off the line in corner by Simonici and one minute later Gozo replied with a good shot by John Camilleri that ended just wide. Ten minutes later, an effort by substitute Andrea Rota hit a defender and ended in corner and then Nannini concluded incredibly wide from an ideal position. Padania increased their efforts in the final stages as Gozo seemed in an inferior physical condition. On 71 minutes, Gozo’s goalkeeper was called to make another difficult save following a free kick by Mosti.
Padania managed to score the goal that decided the issue seven minutes from time when substitute Matteo Prandelli netted from close distance a corner kick by Mosti.
Gozo did not manage to recover from the shock as Padania now started to control their one goal lead. Padania could have sealed the issue one minute form time but Prandelli incredibly concluded wide when he came face to face with the goalkeeper.
GOZO M. Grima, J. Cefai, F. Apap, A. Simoncic (M. Azzopardi), D. Bogdanovic, C. Camilleri, J.P. Grima (D. Farrugia), J. Camilleri (M. Cordina), I. Adesina (J. Portelli), M. Stojanovic, A. Williams.
PADANIA M. Pedersoli, L. Taddeo, S. Tignonsini, L. Mosti, M. Rostirolla (A. Rota), F. Calandrelli, R. Cortinotis (A. Casse), M. Bertoni, V. Chiarotto (F. Valtolina), A.G. Motta (E. Pedersoli), M. S. Nannini (M. Prandelli).
Referee: Per-Anders Blind (Sweden)
Asst. Referees: 1st Karim Azad Hatim (Kurdistan), 2nd Lawrence Azzopardi (Malta)
4th Official: Antonio Guido (Italy)
Scorers: J. Camilleri 40’ (G); M.S. Nannini 7’, M. Prandelli 83’ (P)
EASY WIN FOR KURDISTAN IN OPENING MATCH
The runners-up of the last edition of the VIVA World Cup – Kurdistan had an excellent start in the tournament with a convincing win over debutants Regno delle Due Sicilie. Kurdistan deserved he win as they were more effective in their play and produced the better scoring opportunities. The Italians tried to take supremacy through better possession of the ball but failed to create serious danger to their opponents’ rear-guard. The match was practically decided during the early stages of the second period when Kurdistan scored two goals in the space of four minutes and made it very difficult for their opponents to recover the deficit.
During the early stages of the match, Kurdistan had a cautious approach and operated mainly through counter breaks. In the 4th minute, a goal by Ayoob Ayad was disallowed for a foul in the area by Hydar Qaraman. Both Ayad and Qaraman together with Shkar Muhsin continued to threaten their opponents rearguard and their efforts were rewarded on 21 minutes. Shkar Muhsin was released in the area and the striker placed easily past goalie Roberto Izzo with a low shot.
Regno delle Due Sicilie failed to produce a reaction and Kurdistan continued to control play with authority. On 31 minutes Kurdistan were dangerous through a direct free kick by Qaraman that missed the target. The Italians had a good patch of play near the end of the first half and went close to level the score through a direct free kick by Gianluca Esposito that ended wide and a shot on 45 minutes by Vincenzo Basso that ended on top of the crossbar.
After just two minutes of play into the second period an effort by Alessio Bonavolonta following a free kick was cleared off the line by Schakormirdan. Kurdistan soon regained command of play and doubled the score on 51 minutes when a clearance by goalie Izzo arrived to an unmarked Hydar Qamaran who placed into an open goal from close distance.
Four minutes later, the same Qamaran was at the right place for a tap-in to an inviting low cross by Ayad to put Kurdistan’s win beyond doubt.
Regno delle Due Sicilie went close through two efforts by substitute Pietro Cappuccilli. On 69 minutes Kurdistan’s substitute Karzan Abdallah entered the area in a solo action but his low shot was saved by goalie Izzo.
The Italians managed to pull one goal back on 67 minutes through a strike by Cappuccilli following an indirect free kick in the area.
However Kurdistan sealed the issue with a fourth goal that arrived seven minutes from time through substitute Karzan Abdallah who guided the ball into an open goal following a cross from the right flank by Rahman.
KURDISTAN D.H. Hamed, H. Hamakhan, S. Haseebweli, A. Schakormirdan, H. Seyamnd, N.Y. Shukri (A. Aziztahir), B. Abdulkarim (H. Noorduldeen), D. Rahman, S. Muhsin (K. Mohammed), H. Qaraman (P. Abdulradha), A. Ayad (K. Abdullah).
REGNO DELLE DUE SICILIE R. Izzo, M. Capezzuto, G. Baghara, G.L. Espositio, V. Basso (R. Di Giacomo), D. Macari, A. De Luca, M. Altieri (P. Cappuccilli), E. Velardi, B. Rea, A. Bonavolonta (E. Lepre)
Referee: Aaron Refalo (Malta)
Asst. Referees: 1st Joe Bajada (Gozo), 2nd Eucharist Portelli (Gozo)
4th Official: Georgi Radu (Rumania)
Scorers: S. Mushin 21’, H. Qaraman 51’, 55’; K. Abdullah 83’ (K); P. Cappuccilli 67’ (RDS)