General Category

Marsaskala beat Kalkara United after penalties in Amateur Cup QFs

Thu 02 Dec 2021, 14:26

Zabbar St Patrick reached the semi-final of the 2021/22 Amateur Cup with a comfortable 3-0 win over Ta’ Xbiex. The match was completely dominated by Zabbar, who however lacked the cutting edge in their chances and initially could not find a goal. The biggest chance of the opening half arrived on 28 minutes when Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza’s close range effort was saved brilliantly by Ta’ Xbiex goalkeeper Cliff Aquilina. The yellows finally opened the score close to the hour when Kyle Tanti scored a wonderful goal with a shot from just outside the box, with the ball ending up in the top corner. Following this goal, Zabbar settled down and started playing some great football. On 74 minutes, Rowan Benhamed found Isaac Abela, who sent through Mifsud Triganza, who skipped past a player and finished off the attack into an empty net. Three minutes from full-time, Zabbar added a third. Benhamed’s effort from outside the box was parried by Aquilina and Michael Camilleri scored from the rebound. Zabbar also qualified for the Izibet FA Trophy and play Mqabba in the Preliminary Round.

The Marsaskala versus Kalkara United encounter was a balanced match between two teams who are in top shape in the league. To be fair, Marsaskala created most chances and should have finished off the game already before the penalties, but Kalkara had their moments as well. Early in the first half, Joseph Chectuti was sent through but his attempt missed target. Marsaskala’s best opportunity was for Nicky Zammit on the stroke of half-time, who brought the best out of Kalkara goalkeeper Brandon Debono, turning his volley into a corner. The second half started in torrential rains which made any type of football impossible. Large parts of the pitch were waterlogged. On 53 minutes however, Chetcuti beat Debono with a shot from the edge of the box after a corner action, in which the Kalkara defence failed to clear the ball. Just after the hour, Kalkara’s Liam Ciantar received a straight red card for dissent. Three minutes later, Chetcuti missed a sitter from close-range, after Debono blocked a shot by Nicky Zammit. On 67 minutes, an Adrian Carabott attempt missed target. On the other side however, on 69 minutes, Jean-Claude Galea, in an attempt to clear the ball, committed an unfortunate own goal, sending the match into extra time. In the second minute of extra time, Carabott was also send off with a straight red, also for dissent, restoring numerical equilibrium. Marsaskala kept on taking the initiative and on 115 minutes, substitute Fabrizio Zammit should have done better with a free header from close range. In the attack that followed, Jean-Claud Cesare’s rising shot was saved by Mario Bartolo. Marsaskala took the penalties better then Kalkara, kicking four behind Debono, while Matthew Vassallo’s attempt hit the crossbar and Ahmed Ayoub’s final penalty was being saved by Bartolo. Marsaskala also qualified for the FA Trophy Preliminary Round and are going to make a trip to Gozo against Sannat Lions next Wednesday.

Also Mellieha progressed to the semi-final of the Amateur Cup, with a minimal 1-0 win against Santa Venera Lightnings, in a game which never reached any heights. In the first 45 minutes of the game both teams lacked cohesion and did not create any real chances or even shots on target. The second half of the game was more exciting, producing more goalscoring opportunities and better football. In the 59th minute Tyrone Grech had an opportunity to open the score for the Lightnings after a good run but his shot sailed over the crossbar. Ten minutes later Santa Venera’s Jeremy Grixti’s shot went wide. As the game looked like it was heading into extra time, in the 76th minute, Mellieha scored the winner from a set piece. Stefan Vasilevski’s freekick ended up into the box and was met by defender Fabian Axisa who headed past goalkeeper Bradley Scalpello. Six minutes later, Brian Bartolo’s men were inches away from doubling their lead when Miguel Camilleri’s close-range effort hit the post and was cleared off the line by a Santa Venera defender. The Blues did not only qualify for the Semi’s of the Amateur Cup, but also play in the Preliminary round on the Izibet FA Trophy, meeting Vittoriosa Stars next Wednesday.

Zurrieq, last season’s Amateur Cup finalists, once more confirmed their established name as Cup fighters with a handsome win over Xghajra Tornados, who played most of the second half with ten after a Clint Barbara sending off, just after the break. Zurrieq were the better side throughout the game and it was Giovanni Galea who put his side ahead on 37 minutes. Miguel Simiana passed to Galea, who saw Luke Attard too far in front of his goal, beating the Xghajra custodian with a nice lob from 20 meters distance. Galea had another great opportunity on the stroke of half-time but missed target from an ideal position with only Attard to beat. Six minutes after the break, Xghajra had to continue with ten players as Clint Barbara received his second yellow card. But it was initially Xghajra who showed the better ideas, with a good opportunity on 58 minutes when Deemer Cutajar’s header sailed inches over the crossbar from a Glenn Brincat freekick. But on 68 minutes, Kurt Darmanin curled a wonderful free-kick behind a hapless Luke Attard, to give Zurrieq a comfortable two goal lead. The Xghajra custodian performed a fine save on Andre-Joe Cutajar’s close range attempt with eight minutes on the clock left. Three minutes later, Timmy Thomas missed a sitter from close range after a cross by Cutajar. However, Melvin Busuttil added Zurrieq’s third with a header from a corner action and Keith Muscat added a fourth with a tap in from close range on the stroke of full-time. Zurrieq now meet St Andrews in the Preliminary round of the FA Trophy.

Images copyright by Stephen Gatt