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October 27, 2022

Victoria Hotspurs out of GFA Cup

Ghajnsielem FC : 5
Victoria Hotspurs FC : 2

10’ (1-1) Olimpio Gabriel Fernandes
90+3’ (5-2) Olimpio Gabriel Fernandes

K. Barbara, D.C. Kassekar, O.G. Fernandes, D. Hili (G. Borg), E.R. Okpokwu, A. Xiberras (L. Farrugia), L. Mancuso Lemos Santos Ferreira, J. Grech (O. Cremona), S. Sillato, A. Debrincat, E. Xiberras.

Ghajnsielem obtained a 5-2 win over Victoria Hotspurs in a match from the preliminary round of the BOV GFA Cup so that they earned a place in the next stage of the competition. This was a match between two sides who were aiming to make up for the disappointing results registered in the first round of the championship by challenging for the second most important honour in Gozitan football.

The two sides, who registered a draw each in their respective previous match, had some changes in their starting formation. Ghajnsielem’s Brazilian strikers, who were missing from the formation in the previous match, were making a return in the team, while the Hotspurs gave a debut to goalie Kyle Barbara and Nigerian striker Ebube Ralph Okpokwu.

The match was very interesting during the first hour of play. The two sides created good scoring opportunities during the first half and the outcome was uncertain although the Hotspurs took the break trailing by one goal. Ghajnsielem opened a two-goal lead before the hour mark and seemed in a position to administer the advantage but during the final minutes of the encounter, the Hotspurs increased their efforts and went close to re-open their chances to save the result. However, Ghajnsielem punished their opponents for the missed chances and made sure of the win by scoring two more goals during stoppage time and second, from the final whistle, the Hotspurs scored their second goal to make the final score more respectable.

The two sides came out very aggressive in an attempt to take command of the play and as a result, the first minutes of play produced scoring opportunities at the two ends of the field.

3’ Ghajnsielem went very close to scoring an early goal but a close-ranged header by Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbosa following a cross by Kurt Grima was blocked to a corner by debutant goalie Kyle Barbara.

5’ Ghajnsielem’s keeper Adrian Parnis was also called to make a good save to turn to a corner in an attempt to form a good position by debutant Ebube Ralph Okpokwu.

8’ (1-0) Ghajnsielem opened the score when Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbosa received the ball inside Victoria’s area and fired in goal from goal distance.

10’ (1-1) The Hotspurs had an immediate reply and scored the equaliser through a low shot from outside the area by Olimpio Gabriel Fernandes that ended in the lower corner of Ghajnsielem’s goal.

16’ Ghajnsielem could have created more danger when Patrick Dos Santos Cruz insisted on a personal action inside Victoria’s area but from his cross, Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbosa failed to reach the ball and the defence cleared the ball from the area.

17’ (2-1) Ghajnsielem regained the lead when Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos passed inside Victoria’s area, had his first attempt from an angled position that was partially blocked by goalie Kyle Barbara but the same Oliveira Santos took the rebound and the ball ended in goal despite the attempt of Victoria’s defence to clear the ball from the goalmouth.

29’ Ghajnsielem went very close to adding another goal but a good shot by Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbosa, who was unmarked inside Victoria’s area was blocked by Victoria’s goalie Kyle Barbara and the defence cleared the danger from the area.

36’ The Hotspurs produced a good action through an initiative by Joey Grech but from his low cross Ebube Ralph Okpokwu’s shot was weak and goalie Adrian Parnis saved without difficulty.

45+2’ Ghajnsielem’s goalie denied the Hotspurs from levelling the score when he blocked a fine strike from outside the area by Adrian Xiberras.

HT (2-1)

Second Half

The Hotspurs came out for the second period determined to recover the deficit but Ghajnsielem were well organised in their defence and their goalkeeper was not called to make difficult interventions during the opening minutes. Ghajnsielem however managed to add another goal before the hour mark and was in a position to administer play. The Hotspurs seemed shocked but produced their reaction during the final stages when there was not much time left to allow a recovery, so during the dying moments they compromised the result by conceding more goals.

10’ (3-1) Ghajnsielem increased their lead when they operated a counter break and Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbosa and from his low pass, Alberto Xuereb concluded in goal with a low shot.

36’ The Hotspurs could have re-opened the issue but an attempt by Olimpio Gabriel Fernandes, following a melee that resulted from a corner action, was well saved by goalie Adrian Parnis.

37’ The same Fernandes created danger inside Ghajnsielem’s area but from his cross, central defender Kevin Farrugia headed away from the goalmouth in time to deny Ebube Ralph Okpokwu from concluding into an open goal.

39’ In another occasion a shot on the run by Victoria’s Ebube Ralph Okpukwu ended just wide.

44’ (red card) Ghajnsielem operated a counter break where Patrick Dos Santos Cruz entered Victoria’s area but was floored by central defender Lucas Mancuso Lemos Santos Ferreira. The referee awarded a penalty and showed a red card to the defender for denying a goal-scoring opportunity.

45’ (4-1) penalty From the resultant penalty kick Patrick Dos Santos Cruz fired in goal with a low shot.

45+1’ (5-1) Victoria conceded another goal that arrived through a fine shot from outside the area by Claudio Henrique Da Silva Barbosa that ended out of the reach of Victoria’s keeper.

45+3’ (5-2) The Hotspurs managed to score their second goal that arrived through an initiative by Olimpio Gabriel Fernandes who surprised Ghajnsielem’s goalie with a shot from an angled position.

FT (GHJ 5 – VH 2)

Referee: Alex Johnson

Match Report: Gozo FA
Photos: Paul Scicluna

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