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Champions Għajnsielem tame Tigers in opener

Xewkija’s Daniel Bogdanovic (left) tries to go past Stefan Cassar, of Għajnsielem. Photo: Anthony Cassar

Xewkija’s Daniel Bogdanovic (left) tries to go past Stefan Cassar, of Għajnsielem. Photo: Anthony Cassar

Għajnsielem launched their title defence with a straightforward 3-0 win over rivals Xewkija Tigers, last weekend.

The champions were all out for revenge after losing the Super Cup match to the Tigers in the season curtain-raiser earlier this month.

They neutralised Xewkija strikers Dene Shields and Daniel Bogdanovic and held an edge on their opponents thanks also to the contributions of Raphael Kooh Sohna and Chris Camilleri.

Xewkija had a difficult start as they were reduced to 10 men on 14 minutes when Rodney Buttigieg was sent off for elbowing.

The Blacks looked to profit from the numerical advantage but on 34 minutes they also ended up with ten players when defender Alex Tramboo was sent off for a second bookable offence.

Għajnsielem were jolted but two minutes later Camilleri hit home with a fine lob from an angled position to open the score.

Xewkija were finding it hard to create openings and a few minutes after the interval Kooh Sohna was unlucky to see his effort stopped by the upright with the goalkeeper beaten.

However, on 78 minutes Għajnsielem doubled their lead when referee Malcolm Spiteri awarded them a penalty for a foul by keeper Steve Sultana on John Camilleri. Kooh Sohna made no mistake from the spot.

In stoppage time, the champions made sure with a third goal after a John Camilleri grounder rolled past Sultana.

Victoria Hotspurs are expected to be among the challengers for the title this season.

However, they only managed to earn a point from their clash against neighbours SK Victoria Wanderers after a 2-2 draw.

The Wanderers took the lead from a Predrag Djordevic penalty before half-time and, although they were reduced to ten players on 59 minutes, when Sam Harland was sent off for dissent, they scored again thanks to a Milanko Raskovic goal on 69 minutes.

The Hotspurs hit back strongly and saved the match with two quick goals scored by Charles Mercieca and Henrique Maciel.

The match between Kerċem Ajax and Oratory Youths saw the former team winning the encounter 2-1.

Oratory scored early on through Everton Felipe Da Silva Santos but Kerċem levelled after the break following a fine shot by Elton Vella.

The Youths ended with ten players as Javier Polo Longarela was sent off for a second caution.

Kerċem ventured forward in search of a winner and on 80 minutes Trayo Grozev was on the right spot to hit home their second goal.

Meanwhile, Nadur Youngsters beat Xagħra 1-0 in a match bet-ween the two promoted teams.

The Youngsters produced more offensive play and could have made sure of the victory with a wider margin.

Nadur had a Milos Stojanovic ‘goal’ disallowed for offside but he was not to be denied and scored the goal that mattered on 21 minutes with a tap-in following an inviting Claudio Antunes pass.

Division Two

Żebbug Rovers were deserved winners in their championship opener after soundly beating Qala Saints 3-1.

Ikechukwu Ogwemeke scored a double in the opening half as  Qala reduced the arrears through Steve Dimech ten minutes after the restart.

However, the Rovers sealed victory with a Manwel Cordina goal on 62 minutes.

In a match between two promotion contenders this season, Sannat Lions beat St Lawrence Spurs 1-0.

The two teams lived up to expectations with Sunday Baala’s 15th-minute goal giving the Lions their first victory of the season in a lively match.

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