Gzira wrap up 2022 with another victory and in second place
Santa Lucia 0 Gzira United 1
15th December 2022, Centenary Stadium, Ta’Qali
Gzira wrapped up the year with an important victory against Santa Lucia, registering the first double of the second round. This was the first match of the second round and Gzira's win ensured that they would finish off the year on their own in second place.
Gzira dominated possession for most of the match against Santa Lucia. In the first half Gzira created a number of chances and could have easily closed the match before halftime. The match especially in the first half was played mainly in Santa Lucia's half, where Santa Lucia where more focused on neutralising Gzira's attacks rather than creating chances of their own.
Gzira scored their goal on the stroke of halftime which ensured they went into the second half with more authority to control the match. However, due to the fact that Gzira did not score their second goal, this gave Santa Lucia more initiative in the second half. The second half turned out to be more balanced and Gzira operated with counter attacks on several occasions to try to seal the victory. Despite an improved Santa Lucia in the second half, Gzira managed to coast home to a well-deserved victory.
Gzira started the match taking the initiative on the offensive. In the 6th minute Gzira’s Kolega cross, was met by a De Assis header which just went wide of the upright. In the 16th minute a cross by Dias was headed by De Assis over the bar from a central position within the penalty area.
At the stoke of the 18th minute, Santa Lucia tried to start advancing further into Gzira’s territory but with no real threat, with the Maroons continuing to persist in their pressure.
In the 22nd minute a Gzira one two between Dias and Pisani finished off with an attempt on target being saved by Santa Lucia’s keeper Calleja Cremona, who was once more put into action by saving a cross by Kolega with difficulty in the 23rd minute.
In the 25th minute Gzira’s Bohrer tried his luck with a long range shot and then in the 28th minute with a free kick from outside the box, but both attempts finished just wide from target.
In the 30th and 31st minute, Santa Lucia delivered two freekicks from the left flank which were cleared to safety by the Gzira defense.
In the 36th minute a long pass by Gzira’s Maia to De Assis went off target. In the 37th minute it was De Assis’s turn to reciprocate to the onrushing Maia but once more the end effort did not produce any reward.
In the 43rd minute a shot by Gzira’s Pisani bounced off the upright but found no takers from his team mates to tap in. This was a prelude to Gzira’s goal. In the 44th minute Pisani took possession just off the half-way line and with a long cross from the left, the ball finished at the far-post despite a desperate attempt by the Santa Lucia back line to clear. The first half concluded with Gzira meritedly in the lead.
The second half started with Santa Lucia trying to start creating some attempts on Gzira’s rearguard. Their first serious attempt on Gzira’s goal came in the 48th minute. Soares’s freekick was deflected and finished just wide of Gzira’s keeper Zarkov, far post.
Santa Lucia showed better play in the second half to trouble Gzira, but the Maroons managed to control well and operate with their customary counter attacks.
In the 62nd minute a Gzira De Assis breakaway and follow up pass found Santa Lucia’s goalkeeper intercept from the onrushing Maia. Following this, Scerri of Gzira had his shot blocked by Santa Lucia’s Pulis, after good work by Dias.
In the 68th and 73rd minutes Santa Lucia responded with shots by Blie Bi Bah and substitute Valpoort, being well saved by Gzira’s keeper Zarkov.
In the 80th minute Gzira’s Maia had his effort saved by Calleja Cremona and in the 84th minute a freekick by Correa Duarte from the left was missed by Bohrer.
A lost ball in Gzira’s half could have proved costly for Gzira, but the Maroons held on and in fact Gzira could have closed the match in additional time when a run and shot by substitute Brooklyn Borg was saved with a dive from the Santa Lucia’s goalkeeper.
The final whistle brought the game to an end, to the relief and satisfaction of the Gzira clan, ensuring that 2022 finished off on a positive note and in second place of the championship standings.
The players and technical staff of Gzira United now get a well-deserved break for the festivities and resume training on the 27thDecember to resume their challenge for the Premier League, together with the other front runners, with Gzira’s next match in the New Year scheduled for the 7thJanuary 2023 against Gudja United. May the New Year 2023 bring more successes to Gzira United Football Club and their supporters.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH: Marcelo Dias