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October 7, 2023

Nine-Man Hotspurs Reach Second Division Challenge Cup Final

GFA 2nd Division Challenge Cup (MD 4) – Sat 7 Oct 2023 – Kercem Stadium
Victoria Hotspurs FC – FT (2-2) – Sannat Lions FC

4’ (1-0) Wellington Valentim De Sousa
36’ (2-0) Lucas Farrugia

K. Barbara, L. Grima, L. Farrugia (A. Camilleri 90+15), J. Azzopardi, S. Attard, S.F. Bajada, J. Grech (L. Atzori 80), D. Mercieca, C. Caruana , J.G. Vella, W. Valentim De Sousa.

Vitoria Hotspurs and Sannat Lions remain co-leaders of the first phase of the second division Challenge Cup with a point obtained from a draw of four goals so that both teams earned mathematical qualification to the final which will take place near the end of this season.

The two sides, who are among the teams with the most honours won in Gozitan football, were aiming to obtain three points from this encounter as it was also a direct clash for the status of hot favourites for the honours of the category. The two sides lived up to the expectations and confirmed that they have a stronger potential than the other four teams of the lower category and that they are expected to be the main contenders for the honours. The match turned out to be well contested but it was marked with a negative period due to strong protests, and a reaction from the stands during the second period, which ended up with two players of Victoria who were sent off and the match was also suspended for around 11 minutes.

In this match, the Hotspurs opened a two-goal lead with goals scored during the first half but Sannat managed to level the score with two goals scored after the break. After the suspension, the two sides failed to create serious scoring opportunities so the score remained unchanged.


The Hotspurs came out more aggressive and scored an early goal but Sannat were not demoralised and tried to produce an immediate reaction. However, the Hotspurs were well deployed, managed to keep their area clear from danger and continued to be more dangerous mainly through counter breaks

4’ (1-0) The Hotspurs opened the score when Justin Azzopardi delivered the ball inside Sannat’s area from a free kick and from the resultant melee Wellington Valentim De Sousa netted from a closed angle, despite the attempt of the goalkeeper to block the danger.

22’ (penalty – crossbar) Sannat Lions had a golden opportunity to level the score when they were awarded a penalty for a foul on Joseph Bonnici in a melee following a corner action, but the shot from the penalty spot by Boubacar Kanta was stopped by the crossbar.

26’ The Hotspurs replied with an initiative by Wellington Valentim De Sousa but the striker had his close-ranged shot that was blocked by goalie Kyle Attard.

36’ (2-0) Victoria Hotspurs doubled their lead when Lucas Farrugia passed from the right flank and lobbed into an open goal as the goalkeeper left his position in an attempt to block the danger.

41’ Sannat’s goalie Kyle Attard was well placed and neutralised an attempt from a free kick by Victoria’s Joseph George Vella.

45+2’ Victoria’s goalie Kyle Barbara was called to make an important intervention to save to a corner an effort by Boubacar Kanta and from the same corner action, Sannat’s Aaron Azzopardi took the clearance by the defence but his shot was well saved by goalie Barbara.

HT (2-0)

Second Half

Sannat were more aggressive during the opening stages of the second period and managed to recover the two-goal deficit so that the match became much more interesting and the outcome for most of the time was uncertain.

10’ (2-1) Sannat re-opened the issue through a header by Boubacar Kanta following a corner kick by Aaron Azzopardi.

12’ (2-2) Sannat kept insisting and levelled the score when Boubacar Kanta insisted with a personal action on the right flank and surprised the goalkeeper with a fine shot from an angled position.

17’ (red card) The Hotspurs were reduced to ten players when Victoria’s striker Wellington Valentim De Sousa was shown a second yellow card for holding his direct opponent who ended up hitting his goalkeeper while chasing the ball.

(Suspension of the match) The decision was followed by protests from Victoria’s players and some disorder by the supporters, who also threw items on the field of play. At this point, the referee suspended the match until he saw that calm in the stands had been restored.

22’ (red card) In the meantime, the Hotspurs were reduced to nine players as Joseph George Vella was shown a red card for protests while the game was suspended.

28’ (play resumed) The restart of the encounter took place after a suspension of 11 minutes.

38’ Sannat could have created more danger but a strike from outside the area by Gabriel Debrincat ended high.

45+9’ The Hotspurs went close to regain the lead but an attempt directly from a free kick by Shaun Attard was blocked by goalie Kyle Attard and from the rebound Victoria’s strikers failed to conclude so that the defence cleared the danger to a corner with difficulty.

Match Report: Gozo FA

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