Xewkija Tigers 2 - Ghajnsielem 0 (H.T. 0-0)

J.Xuereb; J.Vella, P.Camilleri, J.Vella, M.Xerri; B.Chibueze, C.Bugeja, P.Rapa (J.Azzopardi), J.Cefai; R.Buttigieg, S.Sultana (J.Azzopardi) 

Xewkija Tigers obtained three precious points over title contenders Ghajnsielem to move just three points away from the same blacks.  With this win, the Tigers open a 7 point gap over Kercem Ajax who occupy the foot of the table with 3 games left until the end of the season.



For this match Xewkija Tigers had Josef Xerri and Andreas Fotso missing for suspension and fielded for the first time former Hamrun Spartans and National Team player Stefan Sultana whose experience proved vital in this win.  Basil Chibueze also played a huge contribution in today's win where apart from the opening goal he was instrumental with his forward runs and for blocking Ghajnsielem's most dangerous midfielder, player-coach Alex Simoncic.

The Blacks saw more of the ball in the opening stages of the match  and in the third minute Joseph Attard headed wide from an ideal position following a cross by Thiago Dos Santos. Xewkija's reply arrived after 9 minutes, when Buttigieg's cross from the right found the unmarked Sultana in the box, who controlled the ball ease, fired his shot towards goal, but his effort was saved by goalie Grech to deny Sultana the debut-goal.  Three minutes later Ghajnsielem could have opened the score following a free kick by player-coach Alex Simoncic, whose cross was met by Thiago Dos Santos head which hit the cross bar and from the resultant melee, Kenneth Mercieca was twice denied in front of an open goal by goalie Xuereb and then by the Xewkija defence who cleared the danger.



Ghajnsielem were once again dangerous on the half hour mark with Basil Chibueze clearing off the line an attempt by Rodrigo Cariaga with goalie Xuereb beaten.  And 7 minutes later Ghajnsielem lost another good scoring opportunity when Dos Santos released Joseph Attard in the box but the latter's attempt on goal ended just wide without creating any trouble to Xuereb.  One minute later, Kenneth Mercieca concluded incredibly high over the cross bar and inviting cross from the right flank by Dos Santos.


In the second half, the Tigers started to share more of the game play with their opponents and the match became much more exciting.  On 52 minutes, Ghajnsielem goalie Grech blocked Basil Chibueze's effort who was released on goal by Stefan Sultana.  Three minutes later Chibueze came close again but concluded high following a cross by Joseph Cefai from the left.  

Xewkija could have opened the score on 58 minutes when Basil Chibueze escaped on a fast break, released Rodney Buttigieg whose effort hit the base of the post.  Ghajnsielem replied 6 minutes later with a direct free kick by Dos Santos which saved with difficulty by goalie Xuereb.  On 67 minutes the Tigers came close once again when Christian Bugeja's run from the left unmarked Stefan Sultana who laid back to captain Joseph Cefai but his shot from inside the area ended high.  The same Cefai came close once again when he escaped once again the offside trap and following his run on the left flank he entered the box but his effort on goal was deflected wide by goalie Grech.


Skipper Cefai was once again the protagonist in the 70th minute when his corner kick was handled in the box by substitute Frank Lee Galea with the referee pointing to the penalty spot, from which Basil Chibueze made no mistake to give the Tigers the lead.  This Chibueze's 6th goal in the league.

Ghajnsielem were shocked and in the few occasions they managed to be dangerous on goal, they found goalie Xuereb on a perfect day where he denied them from any possibility to re-open the issue.  On 77 minutes Xuereb turned into a corner kick a header by Cariaga  and two mintues later the same goalkeeper blocked Joseph Attard twice.  Ghajnsielem lost a golden opportunity on 81 minutes when Cariaga released in the 6-yard box Dos Santos who with goalie Xuereb out of position, had his effort blocked by the woodwork with an open goal in front of him. 


Ghajnsielem were punished for these lost opportunities on 89 minutes when the Tigers managed to find their second goal of the game.  Stefan Sultana won a midfield battle, released Buttigieg who avoided the offside trap and placed in goal a low effort shot which beat goalie Grech.  This proved to be the final nail in the coffin as Ghajnsielem could produce a reaction and Xewkija managed to control the end result until the final whistle. 

Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 24 March 2010 05:52 )