Hotspurs Open New Year with a Loss
GFA BOV Gozo Football League Division I (MD 10) – Fri 6 Jan 2023 – Gozo Stadium
Xewkija Tigers FC – FT (2-1) – Victoria Hotspurs FC
Referee: Stefan Pace
41’ (2-1) Ebube Ralph Okpokwu
K. Barbara, D.C. Kassekar, O.G. Fernandes, A. Debrincat (J. Grech), L. Farrugia, J. Pace, E.R.Okpokwu, A. Xiberras, L. Mancuso Lemos Santos Ferreira, S. Sillato (C. Caruana), E. Xiberras.
Xewkija Tigers obtained three very important points from a 2-1 win over Victoria Hotspurs and took the
third spot on the table so that they consolidated their chances to play with the top four teams in the
second phase of the championship.
The two sides were coming from a win in their respective previous match and were both aiming to extend
their good moment of form by obtaining the full points at stake and improving their respective position on
the table. Xewkija seeking to earn a spot in the championship pool during the last phase of the
championship, while the Hotspurs need to earn points in an attempt to increase their lead over the teams
involved in the relegation zone. As a result, the match turned out to be well-contested and the outcome
remained uncertain until the final whistle.
The Hotspurs saw more of the ball throughout the encounter but found it difficult to convert their offensive
play into good scoring opportunities. On the other hand, Xewkija confirmed the solidity of their defensive
department and also capitalised from their chances so that they paved the way to the win by scoring two
goals within the first half hour of play.
The Hotspurs seemed more aggressive and held territorial supremacy during the first half so that
Xewkija were forced to place their players to protect their area. Xewkija surprised their opponents and
opened a two-goal lead but the Citizens were not demoralised and re-opened the issue with a goal
scored just before halftime.
7’ The Hotspurs could have created more danger but a header from a good position by Ebube Ralph
Okpokwu following a corner kick by Olimpio Gabriel Fernandes was neutralised by goalie Nikola
10’ The same goalkeeper was at the right place and saved without difficulty a weak header by Lucas
Farrugia following a clearance by the defence.
11’ (1-0) Xewkija opened the score when Damir Andelovic released Rodney Buttigieg and the latter
entered the area and fired into the goal from an angled position.
14’ Victoria replied through an effort by Ebube Ralph Okpokwu but the ball ended away from the goal.
21’ Xewkija’s goalie Nikola Kosanin was called to make a critical intervention to save a corner
cross by Victoria’s Samuel Sillato that got a deflection by a defender.
29’ (2-0) Xewkija doubled their lead through a shot directly from a free kick by Damir Andelovic that
surprised Victoria’s goalie Kyle Barbara.
33’ The Hotspurs were dangerous through a low shot from outside the area by Lucas Mancuso that was
saved to a corner by goalie Nikola Kosanin.
41’ (2-1) The Hotspurs reduced the deficit when Xewkija’s keeper Nikola Kosanin failed to neutralise a
a low shot by Adrian Xiberras and from the clearance Andrea Debrincat headed towards the goalmouth
and Ebube Ralph Okpokwu headed in goal when the goalkeeper was out of his position.
After the break, the Hotspurs increased their efforts in an attempt to level the score and produced some
pressure on Xewkija’s defence, but the latter maintained their organised deployment at the defence and
kept the danger away from the area.
15’ Xewkija could have capitalised better but an attempt from a free kick by Damir Andelovic ended over
17’ The Hotspurs replied through an attempt by Andrea Debrincat but the ball missed the target.
25’ Xewkija were again dangerous but a shot from outside the area by Matthias Mercieca following a
clearance by Victoria’s goalie ended high.
26’ Victoria had an immediate reply through a strike by Etienne Xiberras was well saved by goalie Nikola
28’ (red card) Xewkija were reduced to ten players when central defender Aleksa Bozovic was sent off
after receiving a second yellow card for denying Ebube Ralph Okpokwu from running alone towards the
34’ The Hotspurs were denied from levelling the score by Xewkija’s goalie Nikola Kosanin who turned
with difficulty to a corner a strike from outside the area by Victoria’s Lucas Mancuso.
36’ Xewkija also went close to regain the two-goal lead but a good shot from an angled position by Jhon
Arboleda Valencia was saved to a corner by Victoria’s goalie Kyle Barbara.
45+1’ (red card) the Hotspurs were also reduced to ten players when substitute Christoph Caruana was
shown two consecutive yellow cards for intervention on Josiah Buttigieg.
45+5’ The Hotspurs missed their last opportunity to level the score when Xewkija’s goalie failed to clear
the ball following a corner kick by Olimpio Gabriel Fernandes, Lucas Mancuso headed inside the area
but from the resultant melee, both Ebube Ralph Okpokwu and substitute Joey Grech did not manage to
hit the ball towards the goal.
45+6’ Xewkija could have sealed the win when Jhon Arboleda Valencia entered Victoria’s territory but his
an attempt was blocked by goalie Kyle Barbara.
Victoria Hotspurs F.C.
Gozo Stadium | 13:00