Malta Football Association
SK Victoria Wanderers extend fairytale run
Feb 20, 2017
Posted in:
Cups & Competitions
Photo: Anthony Cassar/GFA
Photo: Anthony Cassar/GFA

  • Photo: Anthony Cassar/GFA
  • Photo: Anthony Cassar/GFA

SK Victoria Wanderers extended their fairytale run in this season’s FA Trophy as the Gozitan club overcame BOV Premier League side Pembroke Athleta at the Gozo Stadium to reach the semi-finals.

An own goal from Miguel Attard, after 28 minutes, and a strong header from Serbian striker Predrag Djordjevic, who made perfect contact with a cross from Milanko Raskovic five minutes into the second half, secured a deserved 2-0 win for SK who made history after becoming the first Gozitan club to advance to the semi-finals of the FA Trophy.


No wonder Mark Buttigieg, the coach of SK Victoria Wanderers, hailed his team’s passage to the last four as “a dream”.


“This is like living in a dream,” Buttigieg, who is among the coaches doing the first UEFA Pro Course organised by the MFA Technical Centre, was quoted as saying.


“We had already accomplished a massive feat by reaching the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy and now we have gone a step further.


“This is an honour for the club, the players who have achieved it and Gozitan football in general.


“It’s certainly a big thing for Gozo. Now we are in the semi-finals and we have nothing to lose.”


To make matters worse for Pembroke, they had Italian defender Andrera Scozzese sent off in the closing stages.


Tarxien Rainbows also tore up the formbook as they knocked out Balzan who were regarded among the favourites to win the FA Trophy this season.


Balzan, who lost to Sliema Wanderers on penalties in the final last season, seized the lead two minutes from half-time when Tarxien defender Ebiabowei Baker turned Bojan Kaljevic’s cross into his own net.


Tarxien equalised early in the second half from a penalty, given for Samir Arab’s foul on Alex Nilsson. Captain Triston Caruana drilled his shot past Ivan Janjusevic from the spot.


Caruana spoiled his afternoon as he was dismissed for two bookings with 14 minutes remaining but Tarxien held on as the game headed into extra-time.


Balzan’s failure to make their numerical advantage count proved costly as it was Tarxien who got the winner six minutes from the end of extra-time, Arab putting the ball into his own net in an attempt to cut out a Nilsson cross.


Floriana will have high hopes of going all the way in the FA Trophy after progressing to the semis following a 2-0 win over ─Žamrun Spartans.


Goals from Mario Fontanella and Enrico Pepe inside the opening 25 minutes laid the platform for Floriana’s comfortable win over the low-key Spartans on Sunday.


Holders Sliema Wanderers strengthened their chances of retaining the KO honour but they did it the hard way.


The sending-off of striker Jean Paul Farrugia, nine minutes from half-time, was a blow for Sliema in their quarter-final clash with Division One Senglea Athletic but the Blues had the final word after winning a tense penalty shoot-out.


No goals were scored in the regular 90 minutes and in extra-time but the two goalkeepers, Sliema’s Giuseppe Sarao and Jonathan Martinelli, of Senglea, stole the show in the penalty shoot-out.


Martinelli looked to have given Senglea the edge after saving from Mark Scerri and Riccardo Correa Duarte but Sarao rescued Sliema when stopping the efforts of Keith Tanti, James Obaje and Beppe Muscat.


Alex Muscat hit the winning penalty that sent the Blues through to the last four.


Sliema striker Wisdom Salomon was sent off during the penalty shoot-out.


The draw of the FA Trophy semi-finals is scheduled to take place on May 8.

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