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Title race to go to the wire as Qala Saints and Nadur Youngsters win

Nadur’s Marcelo Barbosa (right) races past Owen Fenech. PHOTO: ANTHONY CASSAR

Qala Saints and Nadur Youngsters made sure the battle for the GFA Division One title this season will go down to the wire after emerging victorious from their matches last weekend to remain tied at the top of the standings.

The relegation battle was also thrown wide open after Oratory Youths registered an important win to overcome Għajnsielem to move out of the bottom space leaving four teams within four points with two matchdays to go.

Nadur Youngsters bounced back from their KO final defeat to Qala Saints when they eased past relegation strugglers Xagħra United 2-0.

It was a hard-fought win for the Youngsters who clinched the points with a goal scored in each half but were indebted to goalkeeper Steve Sultana who denied the Xagħra forwards time and again in this match.

Nadur took the lead on 26 minutes when Stefan Cassar won possession and teed up Marcelo Barbosa who fired home.

The Youngsters sealed their win with a second goal four minutes from time courtesy of a lob by Joao Vitor.

Qala Saints registered a 4-0 win over Xewkija Tigers and the final score could have been more pronounced had it not been for some fine saves from Xewkija goalkeeper Nikola Kosanin.

Qala took just two minutes to take the lead through skipper Joseph Buttigieg following a corner action. 

Qala continued to dominate play and could have doubled the score on 23 minutes when they were awarded a penalty for a foul by Josmar Vella on Igor Nedeljkovic but the same striker saw his shot hitting the upright. 

In stoppage time, Qala added two more goals in the space of a minute through Jordi Parnis as Qala headed to the half-time interval three goals up.

Xewkija’s reaction after the break was sterile and Qala sealed the win on 52 minutes with a fourth goal scored by Christian Mercieca.

Oratory Youths picked up three precious points after defeating Għajnsielem 2-1 to boost their hopes of avoiding the drop.

Għajnsielem needed a point from this match to make sure they would avoid relegation and looked on course when taking the lead on 39 minutes from a penalty scored by Bruno da Cruz.

Just before half time, a header by Oratory’s Luis Gabriel Santos Silva hit the crossbar but the Youths increased their efforts after the break and scored the equaliser on 73 minutes through Rafael Prudente. 

As the match seemed heading to a draw, Oratory netted the winner in the fourth minute of stoppage time when Għajnsielem defender Eriks De Souza Santos Pereira deflected the ball into his own net.

SK Victoria Wanderers extended their unbeaten run in the third round of the championship with a 3-2 win over Kerċem Ajax to regain the third spot in the standings while Kerċem slipped into the relegation zone. 

Kerċem had an excellent start and opened the score in the second minute through Pablo Vinicius. 

The Wanderers had a good reaction and equalised on nine minutes through Emerson Zammit. 

SK Victoria kept pushing and a header by Junior Conceicao hit the bar. 

Kerċem punished Victoria for some missed chances and regained the lead with another goal by Pablo Vinicius on 61 minutes. 

The Wanderers, however, equalised on 79 minutes through Nicholas Grech who scored from the rebound after Kenneth Mercieca’s shot hit the bar.

The Victoria side turned the result in their favour in stoppage time when they were awarded a penalty and Junior Conceicao made no mistake from the spot.

Hotspurs win Division Two KO

Victoria Hotspurs won the Division Two Knock Out after easing past Żebbuġ Rovers 4-0 to complete a clean sweep of honours in the second tier.

Victoria Hotspurs dominated this final and paved the way for the win by scoring three goals in the first half.

Joseph George Vella put them ahead from a penalty after 15 minutes before Wellington made it 2-0 eight minutes later. Shaun Attard made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time. 

The Hotspurs made sure of the win by adding a fourth goal in the second half through Wellington. 

At the end of the match, GFA president Samuel Azzopardi presented the trophy and medals to the Victoria Hotspurs clan.

In the GFA Division Two, Għarb Rangers and Żebbuġ Rovers took a point each following a 1-1 draw.

Għarb opened the score through Andrew Ofulue Chukwuwinke (9) but the Rovers levelled matters through Daniel Mesa Pineros (28).

Munxar Falcons secured the runners-up spot in the standings after beating St Lawrence Spurs 3-1.

Nathaniel Mercieca was the protagonist as he scored a hat-trick.  St Lawrence had equalised through Jurgen Portelli midway through the second half.




SK Victoria W. vs Qala             18.00

Xagħra vs Għajnsielem           20.00



Victoria H. vs Sannat L.          15.00



Xewkija T. vs Oratory Y.           14.00

Kerċem Ajax vs Nadur Y.        16.00



Għarb vs St Lawrence             18.00

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