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Qala Saints win to close gap on leaders Nadur Youngsters

Xagħra United battled for a 1-1 draw against Nadur Youngsters. Photo: Anthony Cassar

Qala Saints closed the gap on leaders Nadur Youngsters after the latter dropped two precious points against lowly Xagħra United.

Oratory Youths remained in serious relegation trouble while the other five teams are now squashed within four points, all tussling for a safe place in the standings.

Nadur Youngsters were held to a 1-1 draw by relegation strugglers Xagħra United as the Gozitan champions failed to beat them for the second time this season. 

Nadur held territorial supremacy early on but they found it extremely difficult to create scoring chances.

The Youngsters managed to take the lead on 28 minutes when Joao Vitor pounced on a Xagħra error in defence and fired home with a low shot.

Xagħra goalkeeper Lorjean Xuereb was the protagonist as he made a series of good interventions after the break to keep his side in contention. 

Nadur were punished for these missed chances as Xagħra equalised on 84 minutes through a strike by Marco Morgon Filho.

Qala Saints came from behind to beat Xewkija Tigers 2-1 and bridge the gap with Nadur to just three points.

Xewkija took the lead with a fine header by Brian Alejandro Parada from a corner action on 38 minutes.

But Qala had a strong reaction after the break and turned the score in their favour with goals from substitute Nathan Chukwudi Njoku (62) and Christian Mercieca (75). 

Xewkija could have levelled the score on 76 minutes but a low drive by Parada was stopped by the post.

Kerċem Ajax came from behind to edge SK Victoria Wanderers 3-2. 

With this result the Ajax moved away from the relegation places and moved just two points behind the third-placed Wanderers. 

SK Victoria had started the match strongly and surged into a two-goal lead through Gabriel Farrugia (23) and Junior Conceicao Cabral (40). 

Kerċem, however, were not demoralised and re-opened the issue just before half time through Andrew Mizzi (45). 

The Ajax scored the equaliser in the first minute of the second half through a low drive by Owen Peter Bugeja and went on to clinch the winner on 58 minutes through a strike from outside the area by Olimpio Fernandes. 

In the fourth minute of stoppage time the Wanderers had Nicholas Grech sent off for denying a clear goal-scoring opportunity to Kerċem’s Pablo Vinicius.

In a direct relegation clash, Ghajnsielem secured a 3-1 win over Oratory Youths and with this result, the Youths remain in serious relegation trouble as they are now five points away from the teams above them in the standings.

Għajnsielem could have scored an early goal but a penalty kick by Bruno Da Cruz was saved by Oratory’s goalie Angelo Brignoli after eight minutes. 

GFA Division Two

Da Cruz made up for his mistake and opened the score on 43 minutes but Oratory had an immediate reaction and levelled the score two minutes later through a strike by Leonardo Bruno Coca. 

Għajnsielem came out more determined after the break and clinched the win by scoring two goals through Godwin Emmanuel (48) and Da Cruz (67).

Victoria Hotspurs scored four goals in each half to obtain an

8-1 win over bottom placed St Lawrence Spurs to join Sannat Lions at the top of the standings.

The Citizens scored two early goals through Lorenzo Atzori (10) and Wellington (23). 

St Lawrence pulled one back on 27 minutes through Daniel Micallef. 

However, the Hotspurs converted their superiority by scoring six more goals through an hat-trick by Shaun Attard (30, 32, 59), Wellington (48, 64), and a goal by Joseph George Vella (51).

In the other match from the same category, Għarb Rangers confirmed their good moment of form with a 4-1 win over Żebbuġ Rovers. 

This was Għarb’s second win in the campaign and with the points obtained, they took a mid-table position. 

Għarb opened the score on 13 minutes from a penalty converted by Andrew Ofulue Chukwuwinke and two minutes later Carlos Cutajar doubled the lead.

Żebbuġ reduced the deficit with a goal scored by Daniel Pineros (39). But Gharb made sure of the win with two goals scored after the break by Carlos Cutajar (49, 67).

NEXT FIXTURES 

FEBRUARY 16 – GOZO STADIUM

GFA Division One

Għajnsielem vs Xaghra              18.00

Qala S. vs SK Victoria  20.00

FEBRUARY 17, KERĊEM STADIUM

GFA Division Two

Sannat L. vs Victoria H.             14.30

St Lawrence vs Munxar F.         17.00

FEBRUARY 18, GOZO STADIUM

GFA Division One

Nadur Y. vs Kerċem Ajax           14.00

Xewkija T. vs Oratory Y.            16.00

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