The Malta Independent 20 November 2018, Tuesday

Football – Bank Of Valletta First Division: Dozie hat trick puts Lija in deep trouble

Malta Independent Monday, 3 April 2006, 00:00 Last update: about 7 years ago

Naxxar made a firm step towards safety when they beat Lija in a decisive clash in the lower part of the table. This defeat on the other hand puts Lija in deep trouble and they now have to fight hard with other direct opponents San Gwann to avoid the drop.

The score is very harsh on Lija, as the match was balanced and keenly contested, but Gatt's sending off on 70 minutes, after a rather controversial decision by referee Kevin Azzopardi, was the real turning point of the game as Naxxar scored two quick goals in succession to put the issue beyond doubt.

Chima Dozie was surely Naxxar's best player. The Lions welcomed back Simon Muscat but were without the services of promising Glenn Magri.

Naxxar were the better team in the initial stages with Chima Dozie missing an easy chance after four minutes, but making amends five minutes later when his diagonal from just inside the area found the back of the net.

After taking the lead however, Naxxar had to suffer Lija's constant pressure with Anicic and Calabretta in the limelight. On 18 minutes Alan Ellul missed a good opportunity in front of goal when he headed high a good Anicic cross from the left. A minute later Anicic passed to the unmarked Calabretta who hit the side netting from the edge of the area.

Lija continued to keep the Lions' defence under pressure with a Calabretta shot going over the bar, and a good Paul Camilleri first timer was blocked by Kevin Agius.

In the second half Lija's pressure was less intense and Naxxar were again dangerous in their attacks. Lija's Daniel Scerri had a good first timer saved by Agius, while Naxxar had some near misses with Dozie and Gilbert Camilleri.

Lija romped in striker Glenn Barry after a long lay-off, but were reduced to ten men when referee Azzopardi sent off Michael Gatt for dissent after the official had ruled that Calabretta, who was heading for goal, had fouled an opponent.

Naxxar immediately took full advantage scoring the second goal through Dozie following a Bellia freekick. Five minutes later Dozie achieved his hat-trick when Gilbert Camilleri nodded down to Dozie who made no mistake in front of Vella.

Lija's despair was complete on 82 minutes when Simon Muscat received a long ball from defence and lobbed over the Lija goalkeeper.

The dying minutes were a nightmare for Lija, missing a penalty taken by Elton Azzopardi, as Naxxar missed some four glaring chances in front of goal, even hitting the crossbar with a great Sciberras dipper.

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