Rabat strengthen top position

Tuesday, January 28, 2014, 12:27

By Victor Ciangura courtesy of The Malta Independent

APS Bank Under 17 Section C 1

Naxxar     1

Rabat       2

Rabat maintained their unbeaten run and now lead the standings on maximum points from 10 games and together with Naxxar , who are in second place on 24 points from same number of games, will compete in the Promotion Play-Offs. The Magpies turned defeat into victory after being a goal in arrears. The game was played at a very fast pace and both teams had their very good moments.

The game was only three minutes old when Naxxar opened the score. Adam Pace was fouled in midfield, Dylan Camilleri took charge of the free kick and his hard drive was helped by the strong wind and Rabat keeper Marc Ciangura was deceived by the bounce and the ball ended in the roof of the net.

In Rabat’s first action Andre’ Bugeja was fouled on the right flank and the ball was cleared to a corner from the free kick by Mario Spiteri.

In the 14th minute Naxxar nearly doubled their lead. Owen Magri released Matthew Urpani on the right flank and after the ball was partly cleared from his cross the ball was cleared on the line from the rebound shot by Magri, and minutes later they won a free kick as Rabat player Shaun Vassallo handled the ball on the right flank and Urpani missed the far post from his well-taken free kick.

Rabat equalised on the half hour with a choral move between three players. Andrea Mallia dribbled past an opponent on the left flank , crossed the ball in the area to Nicholas Ciantar who then served Vassallo with another cross and scored with a perfect header in the top left hand corner.

In another action by Rabat Justin Buttigieg served Isaac Abela with a through ball on the right flank and Naxxar keeper Matteo Farrugia neutralisewd the ball from his cross.

Naxxar then created the last action before the break as Magri served Pace with a square pass outside the area and Ciangura saved his shot in two attempts.

Four minutes after the restart Rabat took the lead as Naxxar player Nicholas Agius handled the ball outside the area and Abela scored with  a low hard drive from the resultant free kick.

In 51st minute Naxxar were awarded a penalty when Pace was tripped in the area after being served with a cross by Joel Ellul. Ellul took charge of the spot kick and Ciangura saved his hard grounder but the referee ordered a re-take for encroachment in the area, the same player again took charge of the kick but he drove well off target to the joy of the Rabat players and supporters.

Naxxar kept trying hard to level matters as they created two actions. Urpani was fouled in midfield and the ball was headed away with difficulty from the free kick by Camilleri and Agius was then fouled in midfield and from the free kick by Camilleri, Ciangura had to dive and save and parry the ball.

In an action by Rabat, Bugeja served Mallia with a square pass but he drove over the bar from outside the area, and just before the final whistle Naxxar created the last action when Pace was fouled in midfield and a defender cleared the ball away from the free kick by Camilleri.

Referee: Reno Refalo                                                                                      Player of the match: Andrea’ Mallia (Rabat)

Naxxar: M.Farrugia, I.Ciantar ( C.Azzopardi 24), D.Grech, D.Camilleri, N.Agius, L.Bezzina (L.Mifsud 41), J.Ellul, O.Magri (N.Farrguia 33), G.Grech, A.Pace, M.Urpani

Rabat: M.Ciangura, J.Buttigieg, K.Micallef, B.Micallef, M.Spiteri, G.Said, A.Bugeja, S.Vassallo, I.Abela, N.Ciantar, A.Mallia


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