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GFA Cup quarter-final abandoned as assistant referee hit by a cigarette

Referee Andrea Naudi (centre) poses with the two teams captains and match officials at the Kerċem Stadium. Photo: Anthony Cassar

The GFA Cup quarter-final between Qala Saints and Victoria Hotspurs was abandoned at half-time after the assistant referee was hit by a cigarette thrown from the stands on Sunday.

Qala Saints and Victoria Hotspurs were going head to head for a place in the sem-finals of the Cup competition at the Kerċem Stadium.

The incident happened five minutes from half-time when assistant referee Patrick Falzon was hit by a cigarette on his neck after it was thrown by a fan from the stands where the Victoria Hotspurs fans sat, forcing the referee Andrea Naudi to suspend the match for three minutes.

Play was restarted and the first half was concluded as scheduled.

However, during the half-time interval, the referee Andrea Naudi and his assistants Max Lee Muscat and Patrick Falzon discussed the incident and the referee decided that they would not continue the match as they deemed there weren’t the safety conditions needed to resume.

The officials called the two teams’ captains and informed them of the decision, and the match was subsequently suspended.

At that point, Qala Saints were leading the match 1-0 courtesy of a Nathan Chukwudi Njoku goal on 37 minutes. The forward was first to react and bundle the ball home after Igor Nedeljkovic’s penalty was pushed away by Victoria Hotspurs goalkeeper Kyle Barbara.

But the referees did not come out for the second half. They called the two captains and informed them that the match officials were not feeling safe to continue and abandoned the match.

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