Total Pageviews

Thursday, December 18, 2014

PFB ON TOUR - VALLETTA : BIRKIRKARA

Sunday, 2/2/14 saw Malta's equivalent of a footballing Super Sunday with two attractive fixtures in the BOV Premier League making up the day's double-header at the National Stadium, Ta'Qali. Mosta Gunners put four goals past Naxxar Lions in the day's first match, a local derby, keeping a clean sheet in the process. Next up was the fixture many of Malta's football fans had been looking forward to: Valletta against Birkirkara.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Almost 5900 fans turned up to watch the top-of-the-table clash between the current champions Birkirkara and Valetta, Malta's most popular teams, and they did not let their favourites down, creating a terrific athmosphere long before kick-off.

Whilst the athmosphere was white-hot, the early stages of the match were anything but, though Birkirkara came close in the tenth minute when Jhonnattann's high ball was chested down by Shola Haruna, who rounded a Valletta defender but sidefooted wide with only Nukri Revishvili in the Valletta goal to beat.

FLAG DAY: Birkirkara fans ready themselves for the game against Valletta
Valletta went on the offensive, and they drew first blood in the 12th minute, after Ryan Fenech, having been left unmolested by the Birkirkara defence to come forward with the ball, struck suddenly from 20 yards out, and his shot eluded Justin Haber, going low to the Malta international's left.

An intricate move almost brought Birkirkara level on 17 minutes, when Gareth Sciberra's pass found Ryan Scicluna free in the Valletta box, but his shot from the near side was saved by Revishvili and went behind for a corner.

A stalemate of sorts ensued for the next quarter of an hour, but it was almost broken by Valletta's Jonathan Caruana after a cross from Abdelkarim Nafti in the 31st minute, but his header from close range went over the bar. At the other end, Birkirkara's Serbian defender Nikola Vukanac put a header wide from a Paul Fenech free-kick three minutes later.

Fenech himself had a chance to level things up with five minutes to go to half-time, courtesy of Caruana losing the ball to Haruna and then more or less passing it to Fenech, but the Birkirkara forward lofted his shot just over the bar.

Valletta's captain, Ryan Fenech, received a pass from Hamza Barry as the first half moved in to the second minute of injury-time and tried his luck from just over 20 yards out with a low shot, which went to the left of Haber and wide.

SMOKE ON THE PITCH: Birkirkara fans celebrate Shola Haruna's equaliser from the penalty-spot
  Birkirkara, who had won each of their last 13 league games, were clearly in the mood to increase their winning streak to 14 matches, and began the second half with purpose. A cross from Haruna on the left-hand side was headed just over the bar by Jhonnattan in the 47th minute, and, six minutes later, Haruna himself saw his rasping strike well saved by Revishvili after some good work from Rowen Muscat put him in a shooting position.

Revishvili's save resulted in a corner for the Stripes, and Zach Muscat connected with Jhonnatan's corner only to send the ball wide. However, the referee noticed that Alejandro Mendoza had been hauled back by Caruana in the penalty-area and pointed to the penalty spot. Haruna took the kick, though it was hardly the perfect penalty. The Nigerian's spot-kick was weak to say the least, but was no doubt relieved to see Revishvili dive to the right as the ball went to his left. Birkirkara were level and deservedly so.

They then moved up a gear, sensing that victory was theirs for the taking, and they were all over the pitch like a little swarm of red and yellow ants. Valletta, on the other hand, were struggling somewhat and could hardly string two passes together.





ACTION STATIONS: Birkirkara defend as Valletta press early in the second half

Paul Fenech was denied by a last-ditch tackle moments before Rowen Muscat tried his luck from the left, but his shot was fisted away by Rekashvili. Haruna cut in past a defender on the edge of the Valletta area and let fly, only to see his shot fly just over the bar. Birkirkara were deserving of a lead, and Haruna of his goal as he had been superb for the Stripes, but it was Valletta who got their noses in front in the 63rd minute thanks to a goal to savour.

Edmund Agius' free-kick was headed out as far as Hamza Barry, who thrashed the ball from 20 yards past Justin Haber's despairing dive into the top left-hand corner of the Birkirkara net. The Citizens' supporters, who were in the majority, were now in ecstasy after suffering in silence for most of the second half up to that point.

Shaun Bajada almost extended Valletta's lead two minutes later, but his shot, which came at the end of a run from midfield, went just wide of Haber's goal. As the roof over the West Stand began to leak, Barry did exactly the same for the Citizens in the 71st minute.

Paul Fenech went close for Birkirkara in the 76th minute, when, following yet another foraging run from midfield, his shot from more than 20 yards went just over Rekashvili's bar. Fenech's effort was followed by a couple of half-chances for both teams, none of which were taken. His namesake Ryan also had a shot on goal for Valletta as the game approached its conclusion, but his shot was wayward. Another shot from Paul Fenech was blocked as the 90-minute mark approached, and another effort shortly afterward flew over the Valletta bar.

Birkirkara intensified their pressure on the Valletta goal during injury-time, but created nothing of note in that time. It really was a case of too little, too late as the Stripes' impressive 14-match winning streak in league competition was ended by a victory for the team in white, which was celebrated in rapturous fashion by the City fans, and which closed the gap between the two teams to three points.




 
VALLETTA: Nukri REVISHVILI, Jonathan CARUANA, Steve BORG, Ryan FENECH, Edmond AGIUS, Roderick BRIFFA, Abayomi Seun OWONIKOKO, (Jean-Pierre MIFSUD TRIGANZA), Hamza BARRY, Shaun BAJADA, Jason Lee VANDELANNOITE (A DA SILVA SOUZA), Abdelkarim NAFTI (Ian AZZOPARDI)

BIRKIRKARA: Justin HABER, Zach MUSCAT, Alejandro MENDOZA, Nikola VUKANAC, Ryan CAMENZULI, Gareth SCIBERRAS (Daniel ZERAFA), Ryan SCICLUNA (Frank TEMILE) , Rowen MUSCAT, Shola HARUNA, Paul FENECH (Terence VELLA), JHONNATTANN BENITES
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Due to the lack of provision of team-sheets (they had apparently already been given out to the local press corps), some of the above information was taken from the Times of Malta and from Wikipedia.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

2014-15 VATICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP FIXTURE-LIST

The 2014-15 Campionato Vaticano got under way on 13/10/14 with a match between Associazione SS Pietro e Paolo and reigning champions San Pietro, which San Pietro won in resounding fashion, running out 6:1 winners.

Next up were Fortitudo/Pantheon - a merger of two of the teams which took part in last year's league and cup tournaments - against Dirtel, and the latter took the spoils with a 3:1 victory. Guardia, who finished bottom last season, and last year's runners-up Santos came up against each other in the Tuesday night match, and Santos won this one by the odd goal in five.

Seven teams are taking part in this season's championship, with Musei Vaticani being the only side that weren't in action in the first round of fixtures. A total of fourteen rounds of regular league football will be played, with the now-familiar two-leg semi-finals to follow on 16/3/15 and 23/3/15, and the championship final bringing an end to the league season. The final is scheduled to take place, as will all matches during the season, at the Associazione Sportivo La Salle complex in Rome on 30/3/15. 

All results from the league competition shall be published throughout the season on the Pat's Football Blog page on Facebook as and when they are made available. For now, though, please find below the fixture-list for the 2014-15 Vatican City league championship.

REGULAR SEASON

13/10/14 19:45 Ass. SS P & P 1:6 San Pietro
13/10/14 20:45 Fortitudo/Pantheon 1:3 Dirtel
14/10/14 20:45 Guardia 2:3 Santos
20/10/14 19:45 Musei Vaticani : Dirtel
20/10/14 20:45 San Pietro : Fortitudo/Pantheon 
21/10/14 20:45 Ass. SS P & P : Guardia
27/10/14 19:45 Santos : San Pietro
27/10/14 20:45 Dirtel : Ass. SS P & P
28/10/14 20:45 Guardia : Misei Vaticani
03/11/14 19:45 Ass. SS P & P : Fortitudo/Pantheon 
03/11/14 20:45 Musei Vaticani : Santos
04/11/14 20:45 Guardia : Dirtel
10/11/14 19:45 San Pietro : Musei Vaticani
10/11/14 20:45 Santos : Ass. SS P & P
11/11/14 20:45 Fortitudo/Pantheon : Guardia
17/11/14 19:45 Fortitudo/Pantheon : Santos
17/11/14 20:45 Dirtel : San Pietro
18/11/14 20:45 Musei Vaticani : Ass. SS P & P
24/11/14 19:45 Santos : Dirtel
24/11/14 20:45 Musei Vaticani : Fortitudo/Pantheon
25/11/14 20:45 Guardia : San Pietro
01/12/14 19:45 Dirtel : Fortitudo/Pantheon
01/12/14 20:45 San Pietro : Ass. SS P & P
02/12/14 20:45 Santos : Guardia
02/02/15 19:45 Fortitudo/Pantheon : San Pietro
02/02/15 20:45 Dirtel : Musei Vaticani
03/02/15 20:45 Guardia : Ass. SS P & P
09/02/15 19:45 Ass. SS P & P : Dirtel
09/02/15 20:45 San Pietro : Santos
10/02/15 20:45 Musei Vaticani : Guardia
16/02/15 19:45 Musei Vaticani : Santos
16/02/15 20:45 Fortitudo/Pantheon : Ass. SS P & P
17/02/15 20:45 Dirtel : Guardia
23/02/15 19:45 Ass. SS P & P : Santos
23/02/15 20:45 Musei Vaticani : San Pietro
24/02/15 20:45 Guardia : Fortitudo/Pantheon
02/03/15 19:45 San Pietro : Dirtel
02/03/15 20:45 Ass. SS P & P : Musei Vaticani
03/03/15 20:45 Santos : Fortitudo/Pantheon
09/03/15 19:45 Fortitudo/Pantheon : Musei Vaticani
09/03/15 20:45 Dirtel : Santos
10/03/15 20:45 San Pietro : Guardia

SEMI-FINALS

16/03/15 19:45 1ST : 4TH (SF1)
16/03/15 20:45 2ND : 3RD (SF2)
23/03/14 19:45 3RD : 2ND (SF2)
23/03/14 20:45 4TH : 1ST (SF1)

FINAL

30/03/14 19:45 SF1 : SF2

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Many thanks, as always, to the ACDV (Attività Calcistica Dipendenti Vaticani) and Aurelio for kindly providing the above information.























 




Tuesday, October 14, 2014

B-67 RETAIN TITLE IN GREENLAND

Nuuk side B-67 won the 2014 Greenlandic national championship at the final tournament played in their home town between 4-9/8/14, which was hosted by fellow Nuuk side NÛK, by defeating FC Malamuk 1:0 in the final on 9/8/14.

In direct contrast to last year's tournament, all of the drama took place on the pitch,and B-67 were once again the dominant team throughout, though they almost came a cropper against Illulissat side Nagdlúnguak 48 in their final group game, drawing 1:1; that, though was as close as they came to suffering defeat during the entire championship season.


Perhaps the biggest surprise was the performance of the third side representing the capital in this year's competition, debutants IT-79, who finished third and picked up a couple of notable scalps along the way. They defeated Nagdlúnguak 48 3:2 in a game which many expected would be a walkover for the men from Ililissat, and, although defeated 1:0 in the semi-final stage by FC Malamuk, put up a good show, and proceeded to spring the biggest surprise in the whole tournament by defeating G-44 in the third-place match. 

As ever, G-44 were among the pre-tournament favourites, but were defeated in the other semi-final by B-67, in a game which many would have thought worthy of the final itself. 

Before the third-place play-off and the final took place, the minor placings were decided, and Eqaluk 54 defeated Nagtoralik by 3 goals to 2 in the wooden-spoon decider. Tasiusaq-based Eqaluk 54 had shipped 15 goals in their three group games, finishing pointless, though they were placed in what was arguably the more difficult group of the two.

Nagtoralik, who hail from Paamiut, only qualified because TM-62, from the eastern town of Kulusuk, who qualified for the final stages by winning their regional championship, were unable to take part due to financial considerations. Nagtoralik finished bottom of their group with one point, which came courtesy of a draw with NÛK.


NÛK were up against Nagdlúnguak 48 in the fifth-place play-off, and, particularly for the latter, the competition was something of a disappointment. Disqualified from last year's competition for fielding an ineligible player during the regional round, Nagdlúnguak had something of a point to prove. However, the wheels came off the bus during their first game against IT-79 when they lost 3:3, though they recovered their poise to beat Eqaluk 54 5:0. They needed to defeat B-67 by something like 7:0 to stand any chance of reaching the final, but could only manage a 1:1 draw.

NÛK had performed with credit in Group 2, drawing their first two games, but lost their final game 2:0 against eventual group winners FC Malamuk. Most of the matches in Group 2 were fairly close affairs, with few goals being scored. NÛK scored only twice in their three matches, and this run continued against their visitors, with Nagdlúnguak running out 1:0 winners.


Surprise team IT-79 had to face Qeqertarsuaq's finest, G-44, in the third-place play-off, which was, in G-44's case at least, something of a disappointment in itself. G-44, you may remember, were runners-up in last year's competition and were favourites to finish first in Group 2. They finished unbeaten in the group, but were undone by drawing their first two matches, and finished two points adrift of FC Malamuk despite defeating them 2:0 in the final group match.
 

IT-79 both surprised and impressed during their maiden appearance at the national championship stage; the club, which was only founded in 1979 by a group of students who had returned to Nuuk after studying in Denmark, only began entering the regional stages a few years ago. and since then normally finished third or fourth in the regional competition. NÛK's designation as hosts opened the door somewhat for IT-79 to qualify for the national championships, and they did so by winning two of their three qualifying matches. IT-79 lost 6:0 to B-67 during the qualifying tournament, and lost 3:0 against them in their Group 1 game. They had shocked Naglúnguak 48 in their first group match, and defeated Equaluk 54 4:1 to qualify for the semi-finals, where they lost 1:0 to FC Malamuk.

G-44, who had lost 2:1 to B-67 in their semi-final, were strong favourites to take third place; however, the underdogs from the capital had other ideas, and, despite being under the cosh for most of the game, did not wilt under the pressure and came away with a 2:1 win. IT-79 more than deserved their place in the sun, and team manager Allan Geisler admitted that he was proud of his team for their efforts, singling out midfielder Kaassannguaq Zeeb for special praise.

The final between B-67 and FC Malamuk was perhaps not one which everyone had expected, but the end result was.  B-67 dominated the final against a plucky FC Malamuk, and deserved their 1:0 win. It was B-67's tenth national title, equalling Nagdlúnguak 48's record, and both teams' performance in reaching the final was rewarded with both teams having three representatives in the tournament's Best XI. An extra source of consolation for FC Malamuk came in the shape of defender Niels Svane being voted Player of the Tournament. For B-67, it was a case of their cementing their place at the top of the pile in Greenland and, unlike last year, with the minimum of fuss and controversy.


GROUP 1: Eqaluk 54 (Tasiusaq); B-67 (Nuuk); Nagdlúnguak 48 (Ilulissat); IT-79 (Nuuk)

4/8/14 15:00 B-67 6:0 Eqaluk 54
4/8/14 19:30 Nagdlúnguak 48 2:3 IT-79
5/8/14 15:00 Eqaluk 54 0:5 Nagdlúnguak 48
5/8/14 17:00 IT-79 0:3 B-67
6/8/14 13:00 Eqaluk 54 1:4 IT-79
6/8/14 15:00 B-67 1:1 Nagdlúnguak 48


TEAM
P
W
D
L
GF
GA
PTS
GD
B-67
3
2
1
0
10
1
7
9
IT-79
3
2
0
1
7
6
6
1
Nagdlúnguak 48
3
1
1
1
8
3
4
5
Eqaluk 54
3
0
0
3
1
16
0
-15
 


GROUP 2: Nagtoralik (Paamiut); FC Malamuk (Uummannaq); NÛK (Nuuk); G-44 (Qeqertarsuaq)

4/8/14 13:00 NÛK 1:1 G-44
4/8/14 17:00 Nagtoralik 1:4 FC Malamuk
5/8/14 13:00 FC Malamuk 2:2 G-44 
5/8/14 19:00 Nagtoralik 1:1 NÛK
6/8/14 17:00 Nagtoralik  0:2 G-44
6/8/14 19:00 FC Malamuk 2:0 NÛK


TEAM
P
W
D
L
GF
GA
PTS
GD
FC Malamuk
3
2
1
0
8
3
7
5
G-44
3
1
2
0
5
3
6
2
NÛK
3
0
2
1
8
3
5
-2
Nagtoralik
3
0
1
2
2
7
1
-5


SCRATCHED: TM-62 (Kulusuk)

SEVENTH-PLACE PLAY-OFF

8/8/14 13:00 Eqaluk 54 3:2 Nagtoralik

FIFTH-PLACE PLAY-OFF

8/8/14 15:00 Nagdlúnguak 48 1:0 NÛK

SEMI-FINALS 

8/8/14 17:00 B-67 2:1 G-44 (SF1)

B-67: 12 Loke SVANE; 2 Mike PETERSEN, 5 Peter KNUDSEN, 13 Aputsiaq BIRCH, 14 Lars Peter BROBERG; 10 Maasi MAQE, 77 Jens Frederik NIELSEN, 90 John Ludvig BROBERG; 4 Jakob MØLLER, 15 Patrick FREDRIKSEN, 89 Malik JUHL

G-44: 1 Johan Frederik ZEEB; 3 Knud BRANDT, 14 Ilasiannguaq MARTINSEN, 23 Gedion KLEIST, 33 Mika DAVIDSEN; 4 Nukannguaq ZEEB, 9 Hans Jørgen ZEEB, 11 Mads ANDERSEN, 13 Peter LEIBHARDT; 18 Eli SIMONSEN, 22 Inooraq SVENDSEN


8/8/14 19:00 FC Malamuk 1:0 IT-79 (SF2)

FC MALAMUK: 92 Gaaba PETERSEN; 2 Inunnguaq LANGE, 3 Niels SVANE, 5 Aqqalua SKADE, 14 Mads Henrik JAKOBSEN; 7 Joorsi SKADE, 8 Lars Peter SVANE, 10 Angunnuaq LØVSTRØM, 17 Nikku MATHIASSEN; 9 Morten MARKUSSEN FLEISCHER, 13 Mikkel RAARUP PETERSEN


IT-79: 1 Edvard SKADE; 3 Pauli THOMSEN, 4 Danni BRANDT, 6 Paw HJORTSTRØM, 9 Jakob FLEISCHER; 11 Kuluk EZEKIASSEN, 13 Leiffeeraq KARLSEN, 23 Anton OVERBALLE; 30 Johan HANSEN, 31 Isak LYBERTH, 33 Kaassannguaq ZEEB

THIRD-PLACE PLAY-OFF

9/8/14 17:00 G-44 1:2 IT-79

G-44: 1 Johan Frederik ZEEB; 3 Knud BRANDT, 14 Ilasiannguaq MARTINSEN, 23 Gedion KLEIST, 33 Mika DAVIDSEN; 7 Steve BROBERG, 9 Hans Jørgen ZEEB, 13 Peter LEIBHARDT, 22 Inooraq SVENDSEN; 4 Nukannguaq ZEEB, 18 Eli SIMONSEN

IT-79: 1 Edvard SKADE; 3 Pauli THOMSEN, 4 Dannt BRANDT, 7 Minik MØLER PEDERSEN, 8 Telef JOHNSEN, 9 Jakob FLEISCHER, 10 Qillaq KRISTIENSEN, 11 Kuluk EZEKIASSEN, 18 Lars MØLLER, 23 Anton OVERBALLE, 33 Kaassannguaq ZEEB

FINAL

9/8/14 19:00 B-67 1:0 FC Malamuk

B-67: 12 Loke SVANE; 5 Peter KNUDSEN, 13 Aputsiaq BIRCH, 14 Lars Peter BROBERG, 15 Patrick FREDRIKSEN; 10 Maasi MAQE, 77 Jens Frederik NIELSEN, 90 John Ludvig BROBERG; 2 Mike PETERSEN, 4 Jakob MØLLER, 89 Malik JUHL

FC MALAMUK: 92 Gaaba PETERSEN; 2 Inunnguaq LANGE, 3 Niels SVANE, 5 Aqqalua SKADE, 14 Mads Henrik JAKOBSEN; 7 Joorsi SKADE, 8 Lars Peter SVANE, 10 Angunnuaq LØVSTRØM, 17 Nikku MATHIASSEN; 9 Morten MARKUSSEN FLEISCHER, 13 Mikkel RAARUP PETERSEN  

REFEREE: Albrecht BRANDT

LINESMEN & FOURTH OFFICIAL: Josva POULSEN, Allan ERIKSEN; Ulloriaq GRØNVOLD


TEAM OF THE TOURNAMENT

GOALKEEPER: Gaabba Petersen (FC Malamuk)

DEFENDERS: Aputsiaq Birch (IT-79), Kaali LUND MATHÆUSSEN (Nagdlúnguak 48), NIels SVANE (FC Malamuk), Lars-Peter BROBERG (B-67)

MIDFIELDERS: Mikkel Raarup PETERSEN (FC Malamuk), Kaassannguaq ZEEB (IT-79), Maasi MAQE (B-67), Kim ANDREASEN (Nagtoralik)

FORWARDS: Karl-Frederik FREDIKSEN (Nagtoralik), Markus Jensen (Nagdlúnguak 48)


PLAYER OF THE TOURNAMENT: Niels SVANE (FC Malamuk)

MOST TECHNICAL PLAYER: Anton OVERBALLE (IT-79)

MOST COMBATIVE PLAYER: Kaassannguaq ZEEB (IT-79)

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
AUTHOR'S NOTE: Much of the above information was gleaned from KNR and Sermitsiaq; thanks, too, to Allan Geisler, IT-79's team manager. A couple of the results were taken from the RSSSF website. For those wishing to watch the games on the KNR archive, it would appear, sadly, that the links have been removed from their website.