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Kerċem Ajax, Xewkija Tigers progress to GFA Cup quarter-finals

Kerċem Ajax and Xewkija Tigers prevailed in GFA Cup clashes involving top-flight sides as the preliminary round matches were played last weekend.

SK Victoria Wanderers and Oratory Youths also progressed to the next round and were joined by Division Two sides Munxar Falcons and Victoria Hotspurs.

The six qualified teams will join holders Nadur Youngsters and Qala Saints in the quarter-final draw.

Kerċem Ajax secured a 2-0 win over Xagħra United and made up for the disappointing results obtained in their last matches in the championship. 

The match was quite balanced for long stretches but the Ajax scored two late goals through Gabriel Cardona (83) and Pablo Vinicius De Moraes Ferreira (87) to reach the next round.

The match between Għajnsielem and Xewkija Tigers turned out to be another well-contested encounter which saw the Tigers prevail 5-2 after extra-time.

Xewkija opened the score against the run of play on 19 minutes with a close-ranged shot by Matthias Mercieca.

But a minute later Għajnsielem were awarded a penalty when Josiah Buttigieg handled the ball inside the area and from the spot Luiz Henrique Santana Motta made no mistake from the spot.

The Blacks were reduced to ten men on 39 minutes as goalkeeper Luke Buttigieg was sent off for a rash challenge on Matthias Mercieca.

Damir Andelovic converted the resultant penalty to restore Xewkija’s lead.

The Tigers could have added a third goal on 75 minutes when they were awarded a second penalty for a foul by Antonio Xuereb on substitute Andrea Debrincat.

But Stefan Tesic saw his shot saved by goalkeeper Carlos Camilleri. 

Xewkija were made to pay for the missed opportunity as Għajnsielem pulled themselves level against through a low shot by substitute Emil Grozdanov to send the match into extra-time.

Xewkija dominated play during extra time and assured themselves of qualification when netting three times through Andrea Debrincat (98) and a brace by Tesic (114, 118).

SK Victoria Wanderers FC also reached the last eight with a 4-0 win over second division side Għarb Rangers.

The Wanderers as expected held territorial supremacy and secured the win through a hat-trick by Junior Conceicao Cabral (42, 64, 88) and a goal by Marcus Vincius Claudino Ramos (78).

First division side Oratory Youths progressed to the next round with a hard-earned 3-2 win over second division side St Lawrence Spurs. 

The Spurs surprised their opponents and took the lead in the third minute through Jurgen Mario Portelli. 

Oratory managed gradually grew in stature and turned the result in their favour with goals scored by Rian Almeida Lopes (25), a penalty converted by Andre Gabriel Castro Martins (59) and an own goal committed by St Lawrence’s Christian Grima (81).

St Lawrence pulled a goal back on 87 minutes from a penalty kick scored by Ayesller Carvalho but the Youths held on to their lead until the end.

In the first match between two sides from the lower division, Munxar Falcons brushed aside Żebbuġ Rovers 6-2. 

Munxar scored three early goals through Sheridan Spiteri (8), Matthew Zammit (15) and Vitor Gabriel Soarez Souza (22). 

Żebbuġ produced a reaction and reduced the deficit to one goal with goals by Ryan Grech (29p) and Miguel Angel Moreno Ampudia (51).

Munxar however regained command of play and made sure of the qualification with three more goals that arrived through a brace by Vitor Gabriel Soarez Souza (60, 84) and Neil Mifsud (66).

The direct clash between the two favourites for promotion to the GFA Division One, Victoria Hotspurs and Sannat Lions, ended with an impressive 7-0 win for the Citizens. 

The Hotspurs were very aggressive throughout the first half while Sannat practically threw the towel on 28 minutes when they were reduced to ten men as Aaron Azzopardi was sent off for a second bookable offence. 

Victoria opened the score after six minutes through Shaun Attard and added four more goals before half time courtesy of a brace each by Wellington Valentim De Sousa (20, 33) and Elton Da Silva (29, 35). 

The Hotspurs reduced their pressure during the second period but they scored two more goals before the end of the encounter through Joey Grech (83) and Elton (89).


Playing on Sunday – Kerċem

GFA Division One KO Q/Fs

Qala Saints vs Oratory Y.          12.45

Kercem Ajax vs Nadur Y.           15.00

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