Naxxar win derby against Mosta to secure Premier League safety

Mosta forced to play a relegation play off decider against Gzira United next week to determine their status in the Premier League

In a much anticipated derby which could potentially determine one of the two teams playing in the relegation play off against Gzira,

Both sides were eager to obtain a victory by playing open football as both coaches were aware that utilising a defensive approach could prove to be risky, also considering the existing rivalry between both teams.

Naxxar started the match on the offensive, going close as early as the third minute when off a corner from the right taken by Gilmar, Angus Buhagiar’s attempted header at goal was turned into another corner by Adrian Borg.  From the resultant corner, Santos hit the post following his low drive effort with the ball bouncing back towards the Mosta defence who managed to clear the danger in time.

Three minutes later Naxxar were again on the attack through Gilmar who after running past two midfielders, played the ball towards Ryan Grech with the Naxxar winger crossing the ball towards Pablo Doffo who’s effort drove high.

On 14 minutes Naxxar were again dangerous through influential midfielder Doffo who’s shot from outside the area was turned into a corner by keeper Omar Borg.

From the resultant corner which was headed away by the Mosta defence, Udo Fortune advanced through the middle of the pitch playing the ball towards the advancing Kyle Frendo who tried his luck from a distance with his effort going high.

18 minutes of play and from another Gilmar corner kick for Naxxar, Santos jumped high with a powerful header which was miraculously turned into another corner by defender Ekani.

Naxxar were in this moment controlling their opponents, having been awarded six corners in the opening 20 minutes.

Mosta created their first dangerous attack when Farrugia released Udo Fortune with a long range pass with the latter finding himself alone in front of keeper Azzopardi with the Naxxar custodian blocking the striker’s effort.

Mosta were again dangerous this time on two consecutive occasions on the 26th minute through the effective Fortune who went close with two attempted shots from outside the area.

The Blues were now showing more confidence in their play with Adrian Borg playing in a slightly more advanced role from his usual central back role, proving to be extremely effective.

On 36 minutes, a long range powerful drive from Santos Silva was pushed away with difficulty by Borg.

Borg was again called into action on 40 minutes turning away a swerving Doffo drive from a relative distance.

An entertaining first half indeed with both teams going into half time with the score still goalless.

The second half resumed on a much slower tempo with possession mainly being held in the middle of the pitch with both teams struggling to create any form of attacking threat towards goal.

Naxxar finally broke the deadlock on 68 minutes when off a free kick from the left by Gilmar, Terence Vella headed the ball home with the Mosta defence clearly at fault.

The lions all but sealed their place in the top flight and condemning their rivals for a relegation play off four minutes from time with star player Gilmar scoring a beauty with a thunderous strike ending in the top corner.

However Mosta reduced the gap two minutes later when Tyrone Farrugia beat keeper Azzopardi with a well taken header.

The final whistle sees Naxxar going out 2-1 winners with their status all but safe for another Premier League campaign  with Mosta now having to settle for a relegation play off against Gzira United next Friday.

BOV Man of the Match: Gilmar (Naxxar Lions)

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