28.09.17 U19s: Swieqi beat Santa Lucija in feisty encounter
Both teams ended the game with a man sent-off. Both benches were vociferous and determined throughout the 90 minutes... yet in the end, it was the Orange who left Santa Lucija smiling, digging deep to beat the Southerners 3-1 on the night.
The Orange got off to the perfect start when after only 9 minutes, Jake Scerri broke free on the left wing and scored with a close range shot.
Just when the Orange were beginning to impose themselves further on the game, Santa Lucija grabbed the equaliser on 22 minutes when their striker was left unmarked inside the box following a set play. Both teams continued to engage in a midfield battle and entered the break at one goal a piece.
Coach Rodney Bugeja's half-time team talk seemed to make the difference as the Owls came out all guns blazing in the second half. With Matthew Camilleri and Gary Bugeja marshalling the middle of the park, it was only a matter of time before Swieqi would make their pressure count.
Thankfully, on 79 minutes, Jake Scerri won a penalty after a foul in the box, and Captain Benji Frendo converted the spot kick in clinical fashion to send the Swieqi bench and supporting crowd into raptures.
With the Orange now firmly controlling the game, they could now afford to play on the counter-attack. Gary Bugeja was sent off right before the end for a second cautionable offence before Ben Caruana wrapped up the victory with a well taken goal with literally the last kick of the game, deep into stoppage time.
Swieqi continue to lead the way in Section C on maximum points from the four games played so far, with the next match being against Tarxien at the Pembroke Ground.
Formation: E. Gatt, D. Borg, K. Muscat, B. Frendo, T. Debono, M. Vella, M. Camilleri, G. Bugeja, T. Ayorinde, I. Yusuf, J. Scerri
Subs used: J. Ferry, B. Caruana, L. Gatt
Match report by Michael Calleja
Photo credits: Mark Chetcuti