A goal by Terence Scerri on the 19th minute handed Naxxar Lions three precious points in the battle for a place in the Championship Pool as they defeated Vittoriosa Stars 1-0 at the Hibernians Stadium. For Naxxar, this was the third successive win.
For Vittoriosa, this was a disappointing result as they were hoping to collect another positive result after earning the three points in their previous outing.
Naxxar lacked Andre Rocha da Silva while Filipe Aguilar was missing for Vittoriosa as both were serving a one-match ban. Vittoriosa, however, had David Garcia Mitogo making his debut.
The Lions were undoubtedly the better side during the first half, having the first attempt at goal on the 17th through a powerful shot by Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro which however ended high.
Naxxar managed to take the lead on the 19th minute when off a through pass by Bellia for Gilmar, the latter’s diagonal cross inside the penalty area brought Terrence Scerri in an ideal position to score with the Naxxar striker tapping the ball home.
Vittoriosa replied with a Marcelo Pereira low shot ending inches wide past the upright on 23 minutes. Eight minutes later, a Gilbert Martin effort ended a little bit high over the crossbar. Naxxar goalkeeper Julian Azzopardi then managed to block a close-range effort by Martin. Three minutes from the end of the first half, sent Angus Buhagiar through on the right with the latter’s powerful diagonal shot parried by Cini.
The second half was a more balanced affair with the Stars doing their utmost to notch the equaliser. On the 54th minute, Marcelo Pereira just failed to connect off a cross from the right by Oscar Guerrero. Four minutes later, a powerful rising shot by Victor Bellia was blocked by Cini with particular difficulty.
Vittoriosa went close to grabbing the equaliser on the 70th when in a swift counter attack, Guerrero sped on the right, his cross to the centre was met by Marcelo Pereria’s header which hit the upright.
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NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Victor Bellia, Angus Buhagiar, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Gilmar da Silva Riberio, Andrew Decesare (79′ Jeremiah Ani), Mattia Del Negro, Pablo Doffo, Thiago Lopes de Sousa, Terence Scerri (90′ Duane Bonnici), Evaldo Silva dos Santos.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, John Debono, Jurgen Debono, Daren Falzon, Yuri Martines de Oliveira.
Coach: Winston Muscat
VITTORIOSA Sean Cini, Francisco Bernardo Arrigada Mella (60′ Seydou Bamba), Ousmane Sidibe, Oscar Guerrero Alvarado, Malcolm Buttigieg, Luke Vella Critien (79′ Siraj Arab Eddin), Clive Spiteri, Gilbert Martin (60′ Adam Spiteri), David Garcia Mitogo, Samir Arab.
Subs not used: Lawrence Cauchi, Justin Camilleri, Liam Gauci, Ryan Mifsud.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Albert Borg Cardona
Additional Assistant Referees: Marco Borg, Fyodor Zammit
Fourth Official: Mitchell Scerri
Yellow Cards: Decesare, Guerrero, Gilmar, Buhagiar, Azzopardi
Scorers: 19′ Terence Scerri
BOV Player of the Match: Victor Bellia
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At the Centenary Stadium, Rabat Ajax and Qormi shared the spoils in a goalless draw. A draw which satisfied neither side as Rabat remain anchored at the bottom of the table while Qormi are still ninth.
Leading Qormi for the first time was Czech coach Karel Zeman, son of the former Foggia, Lazio and Roma coach Zdenek Zeman. Qormi lacked Leighton Grech, Emerson Vella and Jorge Pereira da Silva. Rabat welcomed back Pavle Velimirovic and Ivan Carapic but Adam Smeir was ruled out injured.
Qormi had the first serious scoring opportunity with a Gabriel effort from the right ending just over the crossbar on 22 minutes. Ryan Micallef, served by Malcolm Licari, had a good attempt blocked by Matthew Farrugia on the 29th. On the other side of the pitch, an assist by Abudulai Issaka for Jonathan Bondin saw the latter’s fine effort neutralised by Velimirovic.
Six minutes from the end of the first half, a shot by Ryan Micallef from outside the area ended high. Three minutes later, Issaka’s close-range effort, off a cross by Triston Caruana, was blocked into safety by Shaun Gauci. Just before half-time, following a good run on the right flank by Jonathan Bajada, he served Ryan Micallef whose conclusion was neutralised by the Qormi custodian.
Seven minutes in the second half, a freekick by Diego Carrillo scraped past the post. A minute later, off a cross by Carrillo from the left, Ryan Micallef headed high. On the 58th, Malcolm Licari’s header off a corner from the right by Carrillo was blocked by Matthew Farrugia on the goal line with the ball being cleared into safety by a defender.
Ryan Micallef rounded a number of players inside the Qormi area on the 76th minute before serving substitute AidanAzzopardi whose shot was neutralised by Farrugia. In a good move for Rabat, Diego Carrillo served Ryan Micallef who released David Azzopardi on the left with the latter’s diagonal shot scraping past the post.
RABAT Pavle Velimirovic, Shaun Gauci, David Azzopardi, Dylan Falzon, Ivan Carapic, Daniel Pelaez Bellido, Diego Carrillo Pendas, Joseph Caruana, Malcolm Licari (73′ Aidan Azzopardi), Ryan Micallef (90′ Chris Vella), Jonathan Bajada.
Subs not used: Jonathan Azzopardi, Patrick Borg, Etienne Scicluna, Zachary Tanti, Sacha Cortis.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Alfred Effiong, Roderick Sammut, Roderick Bajada, Joao Gabriel da Silva, Triston Caruana, Christian Terribile, Duncan Pisani, Jonathan Bondin, Marco Petrassi, Abudulai Issaka (59′ Gianluca Nucera).
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Terence Abela, Karl Sciortino, Gilmore Azzopardi, Owen Bugeja, Dylan Pirotta.
Coach: Karel Zeman
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Roberto Vella
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: R. Micallef
BOV Player of the Match: Ryan Micallef