Victoria Hotspurs retain sole leadership at the end of the first round
GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division I
Gozo Stadium 16 December 2018
Victoria Hotspurs FC : 3 (J. Bajada 7’, C. Mercieca 90+4’, E. Da Silva 90+6’)
Parnis, F. Apap, L. Grima, J.M. Vella (M. Bezzina), S. Miloskovic, J. Pace (C. Mercieca), A. Mizzi (A. Debrincat), J. Bajada, H. De Souza Maciel, E.A. Da Silva, E.P. Lattes.
Munxar Falcons FC : 2 (M.M. Uzor 56’, L. Garcia Panesso 79’)
J.P. Cassar, K. Borg, C. Bugeja, P. Parnis, C. Debono (J. Grima), O. Curmi (M. Azzopardi), L. Garcia Panesso, M. Debrincat, M.M. Uzor, J.J. Sandobal Guarin, G. Muscat.
Victoria Hotspurs scored two goals during stoppage time to turn a defeat into a 3-2 win over Munxar Falcons and with the points obtained they ended the first round at the top of the table. In this encounter the Hotspurs were aiming to recover from the defeat conceded during the week in a match form the KO competition, while Munxar were aiming to make up for the heavy defeat conceded in their previous match of the championship. The Hotspurs as expected held command of play throughout the ninety minutes but found it very difficult to convert their territorial supremacy into goals so that they ended up being surprised by Munxar. The latter were not conditioned by conceding an early goal, were well organized at their defense and kept Victoria’s rearguard under pressure through counter breaks. Munxar seemed heading towards a surprise win over Victoria as they were leading by one goal at the beginning of stoppage time but failed to protect the results o that they ended up leaving the field empty handed. The Hotspurs showed great character as they kept insisting to avoid an embarrassing result and ended up winning the full points at stake with two last gasp goals.
In the second minute of play the Hotspurs had a good strike by Joseph Mario Vella that was saved to a corner by goalie John Paul Cassar. One minute later Victoria’s defender Lawrence Grima made an important recovery and cleared the ball to a corner to deny Leiner Garcia Panesso from entering the area following a fast break. The Hotspurs opened the score on 7 minutes through a shot cross by Jonathan Bajada that ended in goal as Munxar’s keeper John Paul Cassar incredibly failed to hold the ball. Two minutes later Victoria’s Jason Pace had a good shot that ended high and Munxar replied on 17 minutes through a free kick from long distance by Jhon Jario Sandobal Guarin that was saved to a corner by goalie Adrian Parnis. On the half hour mark Munxar’s Christian Debono had an attempt from another free kick that was neutralized by Victoria’s keeper. Two minutes later the Hotspurs were again dangerous but a lob by Henrique Maciel, when Munxar’s keeper was out of his position, ended just wide. The same Maciel had a shot on 35 minutes that was saved by goalie John Paul Cassar and the same goalkeeper was called to make another good save on 43 minutes following a shot by Elton Da Silva so that the first half ended with the Hotspurs enjoying a one-goal lead.
After the break the Hotspurs tried to maintain command of play while Munxar continued to operate with counter breaks. Munxar managed to level the score on 56 minutes from a direct free kick by Matthias Michael Uzor from an angled position that surprised Victoria’s defense and the goalkeeper and ended at the far post. The Hotspurs had an immediate reaction and on 64 minutes a strike from outside the area by Joseph Mario Vella ended just over Munxar’s crossbar. The Hotspurs were again dangerous on 70 minutes through a strike by Elton Da Silva following a personal that was deflected to a corner by the defense. Four minutes later Munxar’s goalkeeper John Paul Cassar made the best save of the afternoon when he turned to a corner with difficulty a first timer by Henrique Maciel after receiving from Andrea Debrincat and in the following action Munxar protested for a penalty, alleging handling when Victoria’s Michael Bezzina blocked an initiative by Christian Debono inside Victoria’s area. Munxar however, turned the result in their favour on 79 minutes when Leiner Garcia Panesso entered Victoria’s territory in a counter break and fired in goal as the goalkeeper left his position in an attempt to block the danger. The Hotspurs tried to produce an immediate reaction and four minutes later a header by substitute Andrea Debrincat from a good position following a cross by Michael Bezzina ended high. Less than a minute later Victoria’s goalie Adrian Parnis blocked an effort by Matthias Michael Uzor at the edge of the area among protest by Munxar’s players alleging a foul by the goalkeeper on the striker. On 85 minutes the Hotspurs had an attempt by Andrea Debrincat that was blocked by Munxar’s defense and on 89 minutes Munxar could have sealed the win but a shot from an angled position by Matthias Michael Uzor was deflected to a corner. In the first minute of stoppage time Munxar’s keeper John Paul Cassar made two consecutive interventions to deny the Hotspurs from scoring when he blocked a low cross by Stanimir Miloskovic and also blocked the shot by Henrique Maciel from the short clearance. The Hotspurs were rewarded for their efforts as they leveled the score in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Ferdinando Apap’s header from a cross by Emiliano Lattes hit the post and from the rebound substitute Christian Mercieca took the ball and placed in goal with a low shot. The Hotspurs increased their efforts during the dying moments and in the sixth minute of stoppage time they managed to earn what seemed to be an unexpected win two minutes earlier, when Emiliano Lattes released Elton Da Silva on the left hand side of Munxar’s area and the Brazilian striker netted with an excellent curling that did not give any opportunity to Munxar’s keeper to neutralize and the score remained unchanged until the final whistle by the referee.
Referee: Paul Toledo