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Gudja rally to beat Naxxar Lions

Gudja United edged Naxxar Lions with two second-half goals. Photo: Cyprian Dalli

GUDJA UNITED            2         

Muchardi 34; Plut 50 pen

NAXXAR LIONS            1         

Blandon 28

GUDJA UNITED G. Zammit, J. Bolanos, A. Prates, J. Mintoff (90 J. Attard), T. Nagamatsu, V. Plut, A. Azzopardi (10 N. Navarrete), J. Arthur, K. Micallef, N. Tabone, M. Muchardi.

NAXXAR LIONS A. Fenech, M. Fenech, E. Cerqueira, J. Suda, E. Ferreira, A. Azzopardi (60 R. Mercieca), J. Bajada, J. Ellul, J. Azzopardi, R. Blandon, A. Marshall (49 N. Pace Cocks).

Referee M. Spiteri.

Yellow cards Arthur, A. Azzopardi (Naxxar), Ferreira

Gudja United came from behind to beat Challenge League side Naxxar Lions 2-1 to set up a clash with Sirens in the Round of 16 of the Izibet FA Trophy.

Although Andrea Agostinelli’s side held the initiative in the early stages, a stunning goal by Robinson Blandon Rendon handed Naxxar the lead.

But Gudja were quick to level matters, notching the winner thanks to a penalty early in the second half. However, Naxxar deserve credit for giving a good account of themselves.

Gudja could have taken the lead after just 16 seconds but Vito Plut, served on the right, had a powerful shot turned into a corner by Naxxar goalkeeper Andre Fenech.

A low shot from outside the area by Matias Muchardi was parried by Fenech on 12 minutes.

The Naxxar goalkeeper was prominent once again on 21 minutes, turning into a corner a Tatsuro Nagamatsu effort from inside the area.

Seven minutes later, Naxxar took the lead.

It was a great goal by Blandon Rendon who received an assist from the right and with a fine rising shot from a distance of around 25 metres, he placed the ball in the top left corner.

However, Gudja restored equilibrium on 34 minutes. Substitute Nicolas Navarrete squared low for Matias Muchardi who slotted the ball past Fenech.

The Lions replied with a Jonathan Bajada effort from outside the area but his attempt was parried by Gudja custodian Glenn Zammit five minutes from the end of the first half.

Five minutes into the second half, Gudja forged ahead. Jonathan Bajada brought Tatsuro Nagamatsu down inside the area, and from the spot, Plut duly converted.

Gudja went close once again four minutes with an attempt by Matias Muchardi whose shot ended just over the bar.

However, having nothing to lose, Naxxar started to press for the equaliser although it was only in the final stages that they created some serious scoring opportunities.

Eight minutes from time, Edson Farias headed just wide off an inviting cross by Joel Ellul from the right.

Three minutes in added time, Randon headed high from close range off a Neil Pace Cocks cross from the left.

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