Kercem Ajax VS Nadur Youngsters
Nadur Youngsters obtained qualification to the final of the GFA KO competition with a close win over holders Kercem Ajax. The semi-final match confirmed that both Nadur and Kercem are already in good form and that they have the potential to be among the challengers for the main honours this season. During the ninety minutes of play the two sides produced some good scoring opportunities and the final score remained uncertain until the final whistle.
Play was quite balanced during the first part of the encounter as the two sides were very cautious to avoid conceding an early goal. As time passed by the two sides became more adventurous and on 17 minutes Nadur’s Claudio Antunes entered Kercem’s area but his shot was weak and goalie Damien Spiteri saved without difficulty. Four minutes later Kercem’s Andrew Mizzi had a goal that was disallowed for an offside infringement and a minute later the same Mizzi had a close ranged attempt that was blocked by goalie Mark Grima. From the rebound the ball arrived to Jean paul Mizzi who concluded wide from a good position. Kercem maintained pressure over their opponents for the following minutes and on 24 minutes Nadur’s goalie Grima was well placed to neutralise a lob by Anderson Ribeiro who received from Andrew Mizzi. Nadur replied with a good move by Antunes but the final shot ended on the side of the net and in another occasion the same Brazilian striker hit badly from a good position following a cross by Brian Meilak and the ball ended away from goal. On 28 minutes Nadur’s Joseph Vella concluded weak a prolonged action in Kercem’s area and goalie Spiteri saved the danger and seven minutes later Kercem lost a good scoring opportunity when Nadur’s rearguard failed to clear the ball from the area and at the end Kercem’s Luke Meilak concluded over the crossbar with an open goal at his mercy.
Nadur had an excellent start to the second period and managed to score what had to be the decisive goal on 51 minutes through a header by Charles Mercieca following a corner kick by Joseph Grima. Kercem were shockjed and Nadur seemed in a position to control their lead. However, around the hour mark Kercem started to recover and they also threatened Nadur’s rearguard through a long ranged strike by Ian Xuereb that ended high. The Ajax increased their pressure for the last part of the encounter and went close to save the result on more than one occasion. On 72 minutes Petar Kyumyurdzhiev entered Nadur’s area with a solo action from the right flank but from his low inviting cross Ribeiro saw his shot ended inches wide. Three minutes later a free kick by Kyumyurdzhiev hoit the crossbar and from the rebound Ribeiro had his attempt well blocked by the defence. Kercem’s last scoring opportunity of the match arrived on the stroke of regular time when a cross by Jean Paul Mizzi arrived to player-coach Sabri Rais, who came in as a substitute for the last part of the match, but the latter concluded high from close distance.