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Second win in a row for Gudja, Lija soar

Gudja United 3
Dingli Swallows 2

After surprising Vittoriosa in their previous match, newly-promoted Gudja yesterday beat Dingli 3-2 to notch their second victory in the championship.

Dingli conceded their third defeat as the side coached by Robert Magro looked bereft of ideas and will have to improve significantly not to get embroiled in another tense fight against the drop.

Gudja, with former Dingli defender Francis Owusu making his debut, adopted a cautious approach but all the Swallows had to show in the initial stages was a Kurt Formosa drive that was neutralised by keeper Matthew Xerxen.

Dingli threatened again with a Senior David header that was also dealt with by Xerxen as Gudja hit back with a Ryan Sell grounder that just missed the post.

Xerxen did well to keep out a Rio Micallef effort and, at the other end, Kiril Aleksandrov’s header was kept out by goalkeeper Jeffrey Farrugia.

The game came to life on the half hour when Gudja opened the score through Sell and Dingli hitting back and drawing level three minutes later with an Evair Grech goal from a Formosa free-kick.

This was an open game and eight minutes after the restart Gudja regained the lead when Peter Paul Sammut was brought down in the box by Rio Micallef. Kurtusic made it 2-1 from the spot.

This time Dingli did not react and 15 minutes from time Gudja scored again. Sammut showed his true mettle with a perfect ball for Aleksandrov to hit the back of the net.

Gudja had a couple of good chances to make it 4-1 but found goalkeeper Farrugia in their way.

In stoppage time, Dingli pulled a goal back through Grech but it was too late for them to save the match.

Gudja: M. Xerxen, E. Bugeja, A. Abela, F. Owusu, R. Buhagiar, K. Polidano (K. Bonello), I. Kurtusic, R. Sell (D. Bonnici), K. Azzopardi, K. Aleksandrov, P.P. Sammut (G. Chircop).

Dingli: J. Farrugia, K. Pace (R. Vella), R. Briffa, R. Micallef, B. Guga, L. Konda, K. Formosa, S. David, E. Farrugia, E. Grech, L. Micallef (D. Cilia).

Referee: Fyodor Zammit.

Man of the match: Kiril Aleksandrov (Gudja United).

St Andrews 0
Lija Athletic 3

Lija surprised promotion favourites St Andrew’s at their own den yesterday to go top of the standings along with Marsaxlokk on the seven-point mark as the Saints conceded their first defeat of the season.

Brian Spiteri’s side scored an early goal and, with Erjon Beu in fine form, they never looked back after that.

Lija started stronger and it was no surprise that they forged ahead after only nine minutes.

Antoine Sacco burst through and despite being marked by a couple of defenders he just managed to slot the ball home.

The Saints regrouped and started pushing forward but their play was rather erratic as Lija operated on the counter and almost doubled their lead on 32 minutes but Beu failed to make contact from close distance after a Beppe Antignolo cross inside the box.

Beu was denied by the bar and just before the break Rumen Kerekov hit a missile from the edge of the area, but Lija keeper Bonnici was alert to stop his shot.

On resumption, Beu scored a beauty when he lifted the net from the edge of the area to make it 2-0.

St Andrew’s were unlucky not to pull one back soon after but Kerekov’s header hit the Lija woodwork. However, on 51 minutes Beu delivered a perfect ball to Sacco who had no difficulty in shooting home from close range.

The Saints were a spent force.

In fact, Lija could have made it 4-0 when Ige found substitute Severino with Matthew Towns saving well.

To make matters worse for St Andrew’s they had William Camilleri sent off in stoppage time.

St Andrew’s: M. Towns, N. Chetcuti, L. Cesareo, W. Camilleri, B. Said, S. Kadri (M. Desira Buttigieg), J. Farrugia, A. Amato (J. Briscoe White), N. Vella Petroni (M. Hyzler), R. Kerekov, T. Grozev.

Lija: L. Bonnici, T. Fleri Soler, C. Giordmaina, M. Fleri Soler, D. Scerri, E. Beu (D. Vukovic), E. Briffa, A. Scicluna, B. Antignolo (B. Camilleri ), A. Ige, A. Sacco (R. Severino Goncalves).

Referee: Alan Mario Sant.

Man of the match: Erjon Beu (Lija Athletic).


P W D L F A Pts
Lija 3 2 1 0 6 2 7
Marsaxlokk 3 2 1 0 5 2 7
Pietà 2 2 0 0 10 2 6
Gudja 3 2 0 1 7 6 6
St Andrews 3 2 0 1 7 7 6
Żejtun 2 1 1 0 1 0 4
Naxxar 3 1 1 1 4 5 4
Vittoriosa 2 1 0 1 4 3 3
Mqabba 2 0 1 1 4 5 1
Gżira 3 0 1 2 5 9 1
Birżebbuġa 3 0 0 3 1 6 0
Dingli 3 0 0 3 4 11 0
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