Gudja UTD News
Monday 04 November 2019
Hubert Vella congratulating Gabriel Mensah Photo: Domenic Aquilina
BIRKIRKARA 2 - 3 GUDJA UNITED
A spectacular strike from Gabriel Mensah propelled Gudja United to their first league win of the season when they upset Birkirkara by the odd goal in five at the Centenary Stadium.
It was a deserved victory for the newly-promoted side who, despite having to withstand Birkirkara’s pressure for most of the match, they managed to make the most chances that came their way.
Ghana forward Mensah was the mastermind behind their victory as he orchestrated Gudja’s best chances and he capped his performance with a spectacular strike, the second of the match that handed his team a much-needed victory.
As expected Birkirkara made all the early running for much of the opening 20 minutes as the Stripes pegged the Gudja defenders into their own half. However, despite all their possession count they struggled to create any danger to Jonathan Debono’s goal.
The first real chance came on 22 minutes when Miguel Alba’s cross from the right was not dealt with by the Gudja defenders with the ball falling kindly into the path of the unmarked Isaas Ntow. The Nigerian wingback, however, made poor contact with the ball as his effort finished high and wide.
Three minutes later, Federico Falcone dispossessed Juan Bolanos and fed Caio. The Brazilian quickly picked Miguel Alba who saw his thumping drive punched away by Debono.
However, it was Gudja who surprised their opponents with the opener on 27 minutes. Rundell Winchester embarked on a surging run that took him past Ryan Fenech and Cain Attard before pulling the ball back towards GABRIEL MENSAH who slid the ball past Andrew Hogg.
Gudja then suffered a double injury blow as Jonathan Bondin pulled out with a foot injury and was replaced by Allan Miranda. But the Costa Rican spent just a few minutes on the pitch as his involvement was ended after he picked up a head injury in a clash with Caio and was replaced by Llywelyn Cremona.
Birkirkara managed to restore equilibrium five minutes from half-time. Caio sent a fine cross towards Falcone and the Argentine headed the ball into the far corner of the net.
Gabriel Mensah Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Miguel Jimenez Photo: Dominic Borg
Gudja were unlucky not to restore their lead in stoppage time when Winchester picked up Aidan Friggieri who saw his thumping drive hit the bar.
The woodwork denied Gudja a second time a minute later and this time Friggieri fed Winchester and his downward header touched the upright before finishing wide.
After the break, the Stripes pressed on the accelerator in search for a winner but were still finding it tough to breach the Gudja defence.
Instead it was Winchester who almost struck on the hour when the Trinidad forward again showed his pace and power to go inside the area but shot straight at Andrew Hogg.
Birkirkara failed to heed the alarm bells as Gudja grabbed their second on 62 minutes, and what a goal it was.
MENSAH picked up possession some 30 metres and hit a thumping drive that flew past a stranded Hogg and into the net.
More woes followed for Birkirkara as on 71 minutes Friggieri played in Mensah who was upended in the area by Pepe with referee Philip Farrugia pointing to the spot.
The Italian defender was shown a second yellow card and was dismissed. RUNDELL WINCHESTER stepped up for the penalty and sent Hogg the wrong way.
Llwelyn Cremona Photo: Times Of Malta
Hubert Vella Photo: Dominic Borg
Birkirkara kept fighting and they pulled a goal back on 77 minutes when Michael Mifsud picked Falcone inside the area and the Argentine fired the ball home.
But that came too little too late as Gudja held on for the win.
BOV player of the match: Gabriel Mensah (Gudja United)
Match report: Valhmor Camilleri (Times Of Malta)