Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Marsa new league leaders after Swieqi win
Nov 26, 2020
Posted in:
General
BOV Challenge League
(c) Stephen Gatt
(c) Stephen Gatt

  • (c) Stephen Gatt
  • (c) Stephen Gatt
  • (c) Marin Babanov
  • (c) Marin Babanov

Marsa bagged another six points in the space of five days to clearly establish their promotion intentions this season. We start this round up with the two matches played yesterday at the Centenary Stadium and also includes two interesting derby encounters.


Swieqi United 0 Marsa 1
Marsa climbed to the top of the table thanks to a hard-earned win over Swieqi. It was a deserved win for the Blues, who were the better team yesterday night. On seven minutes, Swieqi’s Joseph Willy cleared the ball from the goal line from a Patrick Teixeira attempt. Two minutes later, Marsa scored what proved to be the winner. Jackson Lima’s shot from the edge of the box was deflected behind goalkeeper Debattista via Lydon Micallef, already his ninth league goal of the season. Marsa continued to create the better chances during the first half, there was initially very little goal threat from Swieqi, who did find their feat eventually in the second half, in search for an equaliser. But the Marsa rear-guard stood firm, clearing anything which came their way.
 

Marsaxlokk 1 Vittoriosa Stars 1

A last gasp goal scored by Pablo Doffo saved Marsaxlokk from their second successive defeat. Vittoriosa were heading for victory when a Renan Bigode’s header was deflected into his own net by Nick Ghio just before the end of the first half. The game had a slow start and only came to life in the final part of the first half with both goalkeepers making a brilliant save from point blank efforts. Vittoriosa were unlucky on 44 minutes when a Gianluca Sultana effort hit the upright but from the following corner action they took the lead. On the resumption, Marsaxlokk made three changes and went on the attack. In the final moments Marsaxlokk pushed their opponents inside their area, with Stars goalkeeper Ryan Marmara making a couple of daring saves. But Marsaxlokk saved the game on 93 minutes with Doffo’s final shot of the game, following a good run on the left by substitute Dylan Sammut.

Marsa 3 San Ġwann 0

Marsa, projected for a place in the Premier League next season, inflicted the first defeat on San Gwann this season. They showed their worth in flashes of the game as they ran out worthy winners. Ivan Zammit’s side took control of the match from the very first whistle, but San Ġwann held well with some stubborn defending. On 36 minutes Marsa broke the deadlock with a superb lob from Lyden Micallef for a great goal indeed. San Ġwann had a very good reaction with Andrea Zammit hitting the base of the upright and from the rebound Zammit’s effort was cleared off the goal line by Mano Micallef. Just before the break, Patrick Teixeira drilled home after receiving from Jackson Lima. In the second half Lydon Micallef put the issue beyond doubt scoring the third goal on 53 minutes.

Marsaxlokk 0 Naxxar Lions 1

Marsaxlokk suffered the first defeat of the season at the hands of Naxxar Lions, who stopped their negative five-match streak. It was a deserved victory for the Lions who were the better team in a low-profile match. Naxxar held the initiative for long stretches and were denied by Marsaxlokk custodian Fredrick Tabone on 20 minutes, when he brilliantly saved an Edson Farias freekick. Naxxar’s best chance came on 38 minutes when Joel Ellul was floored by Tabone, who corrected his error by saving Farias’ penalty. On 62 minutes Naxxar scored what proved to be the winner when Joel Ellul scored a great goal with a shot from the edge of the area. Marsaxlokk’s best chance of saving the match came two minutes later with a Peter Xuereb header destined for the top corner, but somehow Omar Borg managed to arrive to tip the ball to a corner. Unfortunately, tempers flared after the final whistle with Marsaxlokk coach Edgar Degabriele shown the red card.

 

Qrendi 2 Pembroke Athleta 2

Pembroke maintained their unbeaten run thanks to a last gasp equaliser against Qrendi in a thrilling encounter. After the defeats of San Ġwann and Marsaxlokk last weekend, Pembroke remain the only side still unbeaten in the Challenge League. Pembroke took the game by storm dominating the opening twenty minutes and taking an early lead on seven minutes through a Matthew Brincat low drive. On the resumption Qrendi were a transformed lot and turned the tide in their favour with two quick goals at the start. In the 47th minute, Daniel Bueno blasted home with a shot on the turn following a Michael Gatt opening. Six minutes later the same Bueno headed beautifully home a Pabon freekick from the left. Pembroke were in difficulty now but in the final 15 minutes they regrouped their ideas going close with an Abdul Abdeen header that smashed against the crossbar. However, when all seemed lost for Pembroke, it was Abdeen who headed in from close range following a corner action on the stroke of full-time.

 

Swieqi United 1 St Andrews 0

Swieqi United returned to winning ways after two successive defeats, beating St Andrews in a hard-fought derby. A draw would have been a fairer result as no one deserved to leave the pitch empty handed. In the first half a Joseph Farrugia freekick hit the base of the upright for St Andrews and in the second half a Schembri Wismayer scorcher was brilliantly saved by the Saints’ custodian Nicholas Grima. Eight minutes from time Swieqi scored the winner when substitute Matthew Camilleri fired home from the edge of the area with the ball also deflected by a Saints’ defender past Grima. 

 

Fgura United 1 Vittoriosa Stars 3

Vittoriosa registered a good comeback to beat Fgura United and move up the table. Fgura were the better team in the first half an hour of the game, but Vittoriosa were the better team for the rest of the game, especially in the second half in which Fgura were completely blotted out of the game. Fgura scored a great goal on twelve minutes, a breath-taking move between Saturday Nanapere, Giovanni Galea and Gilbert Martin, finished off by Nanapere. Vittoriosa took some time to settle down but equalised on 38 minutes with a low drive by Renan Bigode. Eleven minutes into the second half Gianluca Sultana scored a great goal with a low drive finishing in the corner of the net and on 71 minutes Vittoriosa sealed the issue with an unlucky own goal by Noah Ojuola who beat his own keeper in an attempt to clear a Ryan Previ cross from the right.

 

Qormi 1 Żebbuġ Rangers 1

The 53rd derby in history between Qormi and Żebbuġ derby produced two rather odd goals coming in the second half. Żebbuġ should have grabbed the three points at stake. They were the dominant force for the first hour of the game, with Qormi besieged in their own area. However, Żebbuġ failed to score, and to make matters worse, lost Jonatan Silva to injury just before the break.  Ten minutes into the second half Zebbug broke the deadlock when Clive Gauci won a rebound with the Qormi goalkeeper with the ball rocketing at the back of the net. The Qormi custodian was later substituted with Jonathan Vella who made two daring saves in the dying minutes of the match. Fifteen minutes from time Qormi unexpectedly drew level when John Micallef incredibly headed into his own net. The last minutes were the best part of the game with both sides attacking in full force in search of the winner which never arrived. 


Mqabba 1 St George’s 0

A second half well taken goal by substitute Gianfranco Micallef gave struggling Mqabba a precious win over fellow struggling side St. George’s. The Saints have only themselves to blame of missing out on this game. They dominated the first half, created the best chances, including a penalty. The penalty incident happened on 15 minutes when Dylan Caruana was floored by goalkeeper Jonathan Grech for an obvious penalty. But Grech made amends saving the penalty taken by the same Dylan Caruana. St. George’s had a couple of other good opportunities but were always found wanting in front of goal. In the second half Mqabba improved a lot and the game was balanced with Mqabba taking the initiative. On 77 minutes the decisive goal scored by a great strike from the edge of the area by Gianfranco Micallef. The Saints sieged their opponents in the remaining minutes, but they simply could not put the ball at the back of the net, to remain the only team still in search of victory.

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