Kercem Ajax 1
Xaghra United 0

\n

A first-half goal, scored by Alfred Effiong, was enough for Kercem Ajax to stave aside the bold challenge of Xaghra United and move top of the standings in the only Division One match at the Gozo Stadium last week.

The Ajax are joint first with Nadur Youngsters who, however, have a game in hand.

Xaghra were looking to win this match and get back in the reckoning for the league title but this upset shattered their dreams. In the end, they had to complete the match in nine men after two red cards in the dying minutes.

Kercem's intentions were clear and Xaghra keeper Victor Agius had to be on his toes for most of the opening stages to stop Charles Hili and Effiong from scoring.

The Ajax had two goals disallowed by the referee midway through the half but scored what proved to be the winner five minutes from half-time.

Elton Vella started the move and the ball rolled Effiong's way. The latter showed little hesitation before planting the ball home.

Xaghra replied immediately and one minute later they were denied an equaliser by goalkeeper Aktpan. He turned to corner a Joseph Sultana shot.

Xaghra played better after the break and launched a series of attacks on the Ajax goal in their bid to level the score.

However, Aktpan was in excellent form and made a series of fine saves to preserve his side's slim lead.

Xaghra's hopes were dashed in the 79th minute when the referee showed a second yellow card to substitute Josef Bartolo.

Four minutes later it was Domenique Mbueko's turn to leave the pitch early after incurring a red card for a foul on Vella.

Kercem: I. Aktpan, F. Camilleri, M. Azzopardi, B. Portelli, J. Vella, J. Portelli, M. Cutajar, G. Conti (M. Mamo), E. Vella, C. Hili, A. Effiong.

Xaghra: V. Agius, A. Debono, S. Sultana, D. Mbueko, J. Sultana, J. Attard, F. Debono (J. Bartolo), J. Galea, K. Ndayi, D. Attard (R. Galea), S. Galea.

Referee: George Bitri.

Mini-football pitches

UEFA and the Malta FA have just signed contracts for the installation of four artificial turf mini-football pitches in Gozo, part of a scheme launched by the European governing body of football on the occasion of its 50th anniversary in 2004.

The scheme consists of 35 similar pitches for the Maltese islands, nine of which will be in Gozo.

The first four on the sister island will be managed by the Gozo FA, Qala St Joseph, St Lawrence Spurs and Gharb Rangers.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us