The Malta Independent 24 October 2021, Sunday

Premier League: Late penalty saves day for Maroons

Simon Farrugia Monday, 23 August 2021, 06:56 Last update: about 2 months ago

Though dominating the proceedings for long stretches Gżira failed to gain their first win of the season and had to dig deep in order to save the match, drawing in the last six minutes against Santa Lucia. The Saints had taken an early lead and stood firm in holding at bay their opponents.

Gzira went into this match following a disappointing result against Hibernians in which they lost by a 3-1 scoreline. Though in the first half of that match they balanced their opponents, the second forty five minutes were a different preposition since they never matched the Paolites. So facing Santa Lucia in their second match they wanted to show to that performance was not the order of the day.

The Saints, on the other hand drew their first match against Floriana, a game in which they were twice in the lead.

Santa Lucia drew first blood on 11 minutes when off an Alan Da Silva Souza cross from the left flank Gianmarco Conti headed elegantly hitting the woodwork with the ball finally finishing in the net.

Three minutes later Gżira reacted with Martin Davis making his way on the right side of the pitch, sending a perfect cross which found Maia but the latters shot was saved by an alert Archibald.

The Maroons kept piling on the pressure and on 17 minutes a Mendoza shot finished just over the bar. And on the half hour Correa Duarte tried his luck with a shot from the edge of the area which just missed out. Eight minutes from the change of ends following a solo run Maia saw his low shot saved by Archibald.

On resumption Gżira kept venturing forward in their attempt to get back into the game. But they were finding the going tough in breaking a stubborn Saints rearguard. On 50 minutes a shot from the edge of the area by Scerri ended inches wide.

Gżira had a golden opportunity to draw level on 65 minutes when a header by Clive Gauci was cleared off the line by Prates Rodrigues. But six minutes from time Gżira were rewarded for their efforts when they drew level. Jefferson de Assis was brought down in the area by Jan Tanti with Maxwell Maia converting from the spot. Tanti was given the marching orders since this was his second bookable offence.

In stoppage time Gżira had two chances to steal victory at the death. First a Davis shot was blocked and a few seconds later off a Davis cross Maia’s header was tipped into a corner by Archibald.

Photos Domenic Aquilina


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