Despite being April Fool’s Day, it was not a joke that Gzira United suffered their third consecutive defeat, this time in a 2-1 loss to Mosta. This defeat cost dearly for Gzira who after being in total command of second place for a number of weeks with a comfortable margin of points over third place, this margin of points has now dwindled away, with the consequence that Gzira United have now been surpassed by Birkirkara in second place.
With three matches left, Gzira now occupy third place, two points adrift of Birkirkara in second place and with a two-point margin over fourth place, now jointly occupied by Mosta and Balzan.
However, despite this latest setback, Gzira still have enough quality to see it through to European competition participation this Summer, however the Maroons cannot jeopardise their position further with the loss of more precious points at such a crucial stage of the season, especially with top clashes against B’ Kara and Balzan coming up next. Gzira can make amends for this week’s upset by regaining second place next week, by hopefully attaining the three points against B’Kara in the clash for second place.
In the match against Mosta, Gzira dominated possession for most of the match, creating most attempts on goal, but failed to exchange their superiority into goals. The Maroons lacked punch and incisiveness in front of goal. Despite taking an early lead, Gzira could not find a second goal to make their position more comfortable but instead let Mosta into the match by conceding a soft goal. Mosta from their part defended for most of the match and were well organised to keep the Gzira’s attacks at bay. In attack, Mosta were more effective by taking two of the few chances which came their way. Their second goal in the match, came a bit to late for Gzira to mount a serious challenge to salvage something from this match.
The match started with Gzira taking an early lead in the 9th minute. A one-two between Marcelo Dias and Jefferson De Assis on the edge of the Mosta penalty area, found Dias controlling well the back heal assist by De Assis and after dribbling past the last Mosta defender in the six-year box, chipped the ball into the net beyond the reach of Mosta’s keeper Akpan.
Mosta responded with an equalizer in the 17th minute. Mosta earned a freekick way out of Gzira’s penalty area. Mosta’s Failla stepped up to take the free kick and his strong long-range shot missed the grasp and punch of Gzira’s goalkeeper Zarkov ending at the back of the net.
A minute later Gzira could have taken the lead. A through ball by Evertton, found De Assis entering the penalty area beating Akpan, but only to see his low shot strike the upright with Mosta’s Farrugia clearing off the line to safety.
On the 28th minute, a long ball by Gzira’s captain Muscat put De Assis through, only to see his final attempt being intercepted by Mosta’s custodian outside the penalty area.
Gzira started the second half, when in the 47th minute a cross by Pisani from the left flank found Kolega shooting wide from a central position.
In the 66th minute, a cross by Dias from the right flank found substitute Maia just missing the target with an acrobatic kick.
In the 79th minute, Mosta scored after a rare counterattack. A header by Mosta’s Zachary Brincat was well saved by Gzira’s substitute keeper Cassar to a corner. However, from the ensuing corner, Cassar could do nothing to save Brincat’s header, after being loosely marked at the edge of Gzira’s six-yard box.
Gzira mounted further pressure on Mosta’s fort in the final stages of the match with De Assis having the best chance in additional time when his header went just wide after a cross assist by Riascos. The referee’s final whistle saw Gzira finish the match empty handed for the third consecutive time.
Another disappointment for Gzira
Gzira United 1 Mosta 2
1st April 2023, National Stadium, Ta’ Qali