Tigers maintain hope in comeback

GFL Division I – Matchday 10

Sunday, 31st January, 2016


Gozo Stadium

Xewkija Tigers vs Kercem Ajax


Xewkija Tigers managed to regather their hopes for another title after coming back from a 3-0 score to draw 3-3 in an exciting match. Although the Tigers lost another two points, the point won maintains the title hopes alive although their faith remain in other’s hands. For this match Alex Simoncic lined-up the usual 4-2-3-1, with Thiago Melo dos Santos once again being preferred to the other foreigner Lubos Adamec. At the back, Joseph Cefai and Peter-Paul Buttigieg returned to the starting 11. For the Greens, Claudio Antunes’ suspension was removed after the referee admitting a mistake. Charles Mercieca was moved into midfield while Manuel Tabone was played in the heart of the defence. For Kercem, former Victoria Hotspurs captain Daniel Farrugia debuted in the right full-back position.

The match initiated in a contested manner when in the 11th minute, the referee ordered a penalty after Josmar Vella was adjudged holding Claudio Anunes. From the spot-kick, Claudio Antunes made no mistake. Xewkija responded immediately and hit the post after a shot from Dene Shields. The Tigers had a goal by Thiago Melo dos Santos disallowed for an offside infringement and Daniel Bogdanovic hit high a free-kick from an interesting position. The half-time ended bad for Xewkija as they went 2-0 down in the 1st minute of injury time after Elton Vella passed between Joseph Cefai and Peter-Paul Buttigieg to conclude with a low shot.


Things went from bad to worse in the 54th minute when Shaun Attard was lucky enough to see his shot saved by Steve Sultana with the ricochet ending up in the net. The Tigers could have easily thrown the towel and let the gap between them, Ghajnsielem and Kercem grow more as the game was nearing a bad end but this wasn’t the case. In fact, in the 61st minute Dene Shields initiated the comeback after concluding low from inside the box. 2 minutes later the score became 3-2 as Johnny Camilleri received from Shields and concluded inside the net.  Josmar Vella completed the comeback in the 76th minute when he placed into the net after Adrian Parnis’ short clearance. After this goal, the tempo of the match increased incredibly and Xewkija Tigers could have scored after Thiago Melo dos Santos and Dene Shields attempts. Play became more intense and actions were happening up and down the field. In the 84th minute, Kercem were rewarded a penalty after Peter-Paul Buttigieg cleared on the goal-line with his hands. Incredibly Claudio Antunes shot wide. Immediately, Xewkija Tigers had a free-kick from Christ Camilleri which created no harm. Kercem tried their luck with a Petar Kyumyurdzhiev effort from the edge of the box and Steve Sultana saved the point for the Tigers after saving on Claudio Antunes.


Final Result: Xewkija Tigers   3     Kercem Ajax   3


Xewkija T. – 99.Dene Shields (61’), 9.Johnny Camilleri (63’), 4.Josmar Vella (76’).

Kercem A. – 9.Claudio Antunes (11’ p.), 10.Elton Vella (45’+1), 8.Shaun Attard (54’)


Sent Off:

Xewkija T. – 5.Peter-Paul Buttigieg (84’)




Xewkija Tigers:- 1-Steve Sultana, 4-Josmar Vella, 5-Peter Paul Buttigieg, 23-Manuel Xerri (9-Johnny Camilleri), 14-Joseph Cefai (C.) (28-Johann Attard), 10-Christ Camilleri, 13-Gennaro Hili (7-Jason Portelli), 80-Daniel Bogdanovic, 20-Rodney Buttigieg, 18-Thiago Melo dos Santos, 99-Dene Shields.

Kercem Ajax:- 1-Adrian Parnis, 11.Petar Kyumyurdzhiev, 15-Charles Mercieca, 4-John Paul Mizzi (C.), 2-Manuel Tabone, 5-Daniel Farrugia, 8-Shaun Attard, 10-Elton Vella (20-Andrew Mizzi), 19-Ian Xuereb, 18-Mario Mifsud, 9-Claudio Antunes.


Referee: Daniel Portelli




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