Luxol, Mqabba, Hamrun and Lija made it to the semi-finals of the Gatorade Knock-Out after winning their respective encounters at the Corradino Pavillion.
In an interesting match between two sides widely tipped to be among the protagonists of the Gatorade Elite Round, Luxol defeated Valletta 2-1. Valletta had opened the scoring in the third minute through a Cristian Cuadros Silva goal. Despite creating several chances, the St Andrews outfit had to wait until the second half to level the score through Clint Cope. This goal revitalized Luxol as they gained the lead that gave them the qualification after Carlo Scicluna found the net from close range.
Elite division side, Swieqi United were humbled by First Division outfit Mqabba for the first big shock of the competition. Kevin Loughborough’s side produced a brilliant performance to see off a sloppy Swieqi side 8-2 who was a shadow of the gutsy performances produced in the first round of the Gatorade League. Boicho Marev put Swieqi ahead after two minutes but Mqabba kept their composure and managed to score eight times through a hat-trick by Miguel Alcaraz, a double from Ryan Mifsud and goals from Robert Magro, Borja Lopez Fernandez and an own goal by Christian Wismayer.
Andre Ciancio reduced the gap for Swieqi.
Lija Athletic were also confirmed among the last four of the competition after winning 9-3 against Mdina Knights.
The plucky underdogs proved a hard nut to crack for Lija as the latter produced a gutsy performance. However Lija took advantage of some quick counter attacks to score some crucial goals in the final moments of the match. Iranian international was Lija’s inspirational player as he netted a poker, Kurt Bartolo hit the target twice while Andre Henrique, Nicola del Re and Chavi Montes Burgos added more goals. Ryan Micallef, Gaetano Gesualdi and Cleaven Portelli were Mdina’s goal scorers.
Hamrun Spartans also booked a place in the semifinals after seeing off Sirens 7-2. The league top scorer Raphael Felipe Ortiz de Oliveira helped himself with a poker while Madson Caetano, Marwan Terlisi and Michael Spiteri were also on the mark for the Spartans. Roderick Mascena and Ryan Gilmour Cassar reduced the deficit for Sirens.