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Vella rues early red card as Fgura held by Mqabba

Fgura's Giovanni Galea celebrates after scoring against Mqabba. Photo: Wally Galea


Fgura United extended their unbeaten run this season despite being held by Mqabba 2-2 on Saturday at the Victor Tedesco Stadium.

Kevin Vella’s Fgura side were in the lead twice even though they played the majority of the match with ten men after Donys Quintero got his marching orders after just half an hour.

“I think the game was conditioned by the sending off,” Vella told The Times of Malta.

“The team created a lot of chances and we could have got the win by the first 30 minutes but their goalkeeper (Jonathan Grech) did his job very well. After the red card, we also lost another player through injury which was a setback for us.

“When we went 2-1 up, honestly, I believe we deserved the three points but ultimately their goal came and took away two points. The team was playing with ten men, but I think we deserved to win the match.”

This has been a very different start to the season for Fgura, as this time around last year, they had struggled out of the blocks to retain their place in the division.

Now, they have won their first two games and drew their last.

“Last season, we were still coming up from the second division. Even this year, we’ve got seven out of our first 11 who stayed with us from the second division. It’s a team we have continued to build upon and we haven’t really made much changes,” Vella explained.

“One has to also note that last season, we only lost one of our last 12 matches so the team has been performing at a high level since January. Now we’ve won two games and a draw so I believe the team is at a stage where it can give every team a run for their money.”

Fgura got off the mark with the first action of the match on three minutes. After a misplaced pass in defence, Saturday Nanapere, who joined the side from Żebbug Rangers this summer, intercepted but was floored right inside the area, leaving Trustin Farrugia Cann no option but to point to the spot. Giovanni Galea left no space for error as he slotted home the opener.

However, Vella’s side were going to have to show their fighting spirit heading into the break, as they were down a man on 36 minutes after Quintero was sent off for retaliation.

Mqabba made the most of their numerical advantage a few minutes after the change of ends, when Karl Cutajar’s cross from way outside the area found Johan Castano who headed past Brandon Bartolo.

The match remained balanced but Fgura restored their lead on 71 minutes.
After a cross-shot from in-form forward Nanapere was only tipped away by Grech for a corner, Shawn Borg headed in at the second post amid confusion in the Mqabba goalkeeper’s box.

But Mqabba were not to be denied a point as late in the game, Fgura defenders miskicked a clearance and Ryan Cutajar fired in a pinpoint volley to top up what had been a truly intense game.

FGURA: B. Bartolo, J. Stensen, J. Barbara, JP Attard, D. Quintero, S. Nanapere, C. Gandini (44 J. Cassar), J. Vella, S. Borg (87 T. Grech), N. Ojuola, G. Galea (62 R. Gove).
MQABBA: J. Grech, N. Falzon, G. Mannino, J. Castano, Y. Tonna, K. Cutajar, R. Spiteri (63 G. Cesani), K. Borg (79 R. Cutajar), G. Bugeja, G. Micallef (79 C. Cutajar), R. Cauchi.
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann.
Red card: Quintero (F) 36.
Best Player: Saturday Nana-pere (Fgura United).



PEMBROKE: P. Schranz, K. Farrugia, D. Sant, K. Rendo, J. Ogunuppe (10 P. Santos), M. Zarb (65 K. Aquilina), A. Temitope, T. Fenech (87 N. Grech), J. Bajada, M. Borg, J. Etim (87 A. Marshall).
SWIEQI UNITED: E. Gatt, I. Micallef (90 K. Muscat), J. Micallef (61 J. Magri Overend), J. Willy, I. Salis, A. Schembri Wismayer, M. Vella, M. Ivanovic (85 F. Temile), C. Cutajar (85 S. Elfarsi), J. Azzopardi, D. Borg (46 A. Shaw).
Referee: Daniel Casha.
Scorers: Temitope (P) 26; Salis (S) 53 pen.; Frendo (P) 78.


ŻEBBUG RANGERS: M. Grech, S. Bugeja, J. Micallef, T. Bartolo (62 A. Azzopardi), A. Mizzi (78 K. Zammit), L. Mijic, J. Silveira (78 K. Bondin), R. Vella, C. Vella (35 C. Gauci), G. Gesualdi, J. Carbone (78 K. Tanti).
ST GEORGE’S: J. Azzopardi, M. Caruana, R. Mandic, L. Bonett (83 N. Camilleri), D. Caruana, B. Gomes, S. Darmanin, L. Agius (65 D. Serna), A. Hili, O. Magro, J. Grech (56 F. Lufi).
Referee: Aleksandar Jovanovic.
Scorers: Silveira 43; Gauci 57; Mijic 74 pen.


ST ANDREWS: D. Formosa, K. Bituemi, L. Borg, A. Borg Olivier, W. Camilleri (81 L. Grech), M. D’Alessandro, D. Jackson, R. Micallef Decesare, M. Muscat, J. Sixsmith (75 S. Cassar Torregiani), M. Vella Vidal (84 Z.
NAXXAR LIONS: O. Borg, A. Azzopardi, A. Azzopardi, N. Borg, R. Cassar, E. Ferreira, M. Fenech, M. Mifsud (75 B. Schembri), A. Tenorio (67 T. Battaglia), S. Meilak (75 J. Ellul), F. Zuniga.
Referee: Sandro Spiteri.


SAN GWANN: C. Formosa, J. Bowman, C. Gauci, O. Spiteri, A. Chibueze (85 D. Fava), A. Zammit, C. Omoruanzoje, D. Mifsud (60 P. Kanzurov), C. Gauci, C. Umeh (11 N. Avouaisha), G. Pace.
PIETÀ HOTSPURS: M. Chetcuti, S. Okoh, L. Cassar Jackson, M. Portelli (76 N. Pisani), J. Ghio, D. Segura, S. Pisani, C. Ze Lucas, J. Irimiya, J. Scicluna, C. Bouvet.
Referee: Ezekiel Barbara.

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