Naxxar overcome Gżira to return to the top
Gżira United 0
Naxxar Lions 2
Naxxar Lions returned to the top of the Division One table after beating Gżira United 2-0.
Gżira enjoyed the better start but failed to take advantage from some favourable situations while Naxxar took their chances, scoring two quick goals in the first half to claim a deserved victory.
Victor Bellia, instrumental in Naxxar’s win, had two goalbound shots cleared off the line.
Naxxar, who drew 2-2 with Gżira in the first round, have gained 10 points in their last five matches while the Maroons have picked up six from the same number of games.
In the early stages, Gżira’s Sunny Ogbemudia missed a sitter when heading wide from an ideal position. On six minutes, Naxxar goalkeeper Julian Azzopardi produced a great save to stop a Pierre Grima free-kick.
Slowly but surely, Naxxar began to play better and created a couple of chances but their finishing left much to be desired. Bellia went close while Pablo Doffo blasted over the bar when well-placed.
On 32 minutes, the Lions broke the deadlock. Lyden Micallef passed to Brazilian forward Anderson Mendes Ribeiro who fired into the top corner.
Three minutes later, Naxxar doubled their lead when, from a Doffo corner, Andre Rocha Da Silva headed past a hesitant Simon Agius.
Two minutes before the break, Naxxar were unlucky not to add a third. Another Doffo corner sailed towards captain Bellia who fired towards goal but the ball was blocked on the line by Grima.
Naxxar controlled the match in the second half with Gżira never really testing Azzopardi. On the hour, Naxxar had another golden opportunity when Da Silva passed to Darren Falzon who came face-to-face with Agius but the Gżira custodian denied the Lions striker.
With 20 minutes left, Gżira went close to reducing the gap but Ogbemudia was foiled by Azzopardi.
Two minutes later, Naxxar were again unlucky when another Bellia scorcher was cleared off the line by Jeffrey Chetcuti.
Fifteen minutes from time, Naxxar were reduced to 10 men when Marlon Briffa was sent off for dissent. In stoppage time, Ogbemudia’s effort hit the post.
Gżira: S. Agius, A. White (V. Brincat), P. Grima, A. Xuereb, J. Chetcuti, A. Shenowo, S. Ogbemudia, S. Meilak, J. Hassey, Y. Tonna (M. Al Naffuri), S. Shead.
Naxxar: J. Azzopardi, J. Vella, K. Drago, M. Briffa, S. Eboh, V. Bellia, P. Doffo, A. Rocha Da Silva (A. Ewurun), L. Micallef, D. Falzon, A. Mendes Ribeiro.
Referee: Jude Amin Utulu.
Man of the match: Victor Bellia (Naxxar Lions).