SIRENS GREENTUBE……………… 12
SAN ĠILJAN TUM INVEST………. 14
(2-3), (2-2), (3-3), (4-3), (1-1), (0-2)
Champions San Ġiljan TUM Invest are one step away for reaching the final in their quest to win their 11th championship as they won the first game in best of three series. They had to scratch to scrape past through a resilient Sirens side that stayed in the game.
But one must not forget that this win is a six-pointer for San Ġiljan as they were without their coach Marko Orlovic and foreigner Paulo Obradovic, while Dino Zammit returned from injury. This shows the character that San Ġiljan have as now they are the heavy favourties to qualify to the final next Wednesday.
Goals from Paul Fava and a brace by Ben Plumpton overturned the initial goal by Nicolas Bicari, as Marc Grech reduced the gap with a shot that goalkeeper Jake Tanti had responsibility in it.
San Ġiljan kept their goal advantage at the end of the second session but they had to fight for it, as Sirens showed that they were no pushovers, equalising twice from Edward Aquilina and Bicari. Andreas Galea made it 5-4 for San Ġiljan at the end of the session.
Sirens’ ongoing protest from the second session to the beginning of the third one, resulted in a sending-off for their coach Sasko Popovic. Ben Plumpton gave a double advantage, but Sirens were concentrated enough to stay in the game, equalising again from Clint Mercieca and Bicari.
The Matthew Zammit show continued in the fourth session, but Nicolas Bicari also had his say in what was supposed to be the last session. The game will still open and Luke Caruana made it 11-11. San Ġiljan had the chance to win it at the end but the penalty by Matthew Zammit hit the post.
San Ġiljan were even in disadvantage after Bicari made it 12-11, but Zammit equalised few seconds later. Andreas Galea gave the champions the lead and Dino Zammit sealed the win as Sirens protested for a foul.
Sirens: N. Grixti, P. Privitera, E. Aquilina (1), N. Bicari (7), M. Grech (1), I. Riolo, C. Mercieca (1), J. Sciberras, J. Napier, G. Sammut, L. Caruana (1), J. Brownrigg (1), G. Galea Curmi
San Ġiljan: J. Tanti, P. Borg (1), A. Galea (1), B. Grech, C. Farrugia, M. Zammit (6), B. Plumpton (3), Da. Zammit, T. Said, D. Ciantar, P. Fava (1), Di. Zammit (1), T. Micallef
Referees: Alex De Raffaele, Luca Castagnola
Neptunes win in dramatic fashion
NEPTUNES LEO VEGAS………….. 8
SLIEMA FRANK SALT…………….. 7
(2-1), (1-0), (2-4), (3-2)
Neptunes Leo Vegas gave themselves a boost to reach the play-off final when they squeezed past Sliema Frank Salt in a win that came in a dramatic fashion.
The game was heading to extra-time as Jamie Gambin equalised with less than a minute to play but veteran Niki Lanzon had other plans as he scored the winning goal with the last shot of the game.
Neptunes were cruising in the first part of the game. They looked solid in defence and composed in attack, leaving few spaces to their opponents. Petar Muslim and Jordan Camilleri gave Neptunes a double advantage while a splendid goal by Zach Mizzi.
Muslim widened the gap with the only goal scored in the second session. At that point, Neptunes looked to be in control.
But things changed in the beginning of the third session. Jerome Gabarretta scored from the first action of the session and Mark Meli and Jamie Gambin turned the table to give Sliema a 4-3 lead that raised the eyebrows of Neptunes coach Jovan Popovic.
But the coach from Montenegro got the reaction he wanted as Neptunes equalised twice, first from Stevie Camilleri, and then from Miguel Zammit after Nicholas Bugelli’s low drive gave them a partial 5-4 lead.
It was the turn of their talisman Stevie Camilleri to shine as he have advantage to his team twice, but Sliema replied from Christian Presciutti and later from Jamie Gambin. Most of the supporters present at the National Pool assumed that the game was set to continue in extra time, but captain Niki Lanzon scored right at the end from the right side.
Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon (1), K. Erdogan, G. Pace, P. Muslim (2), N. Zammit, S. Camilleri (3), J. Camilleri (1), J. Abela, M. Zammit (1), J. Muscat, M. Azzopardi, J. Parnis
Sliema: J. Sammut, J. Gabarretta (1), C. Presciutti (1), J. Saliba, M. Meli (1), K. Dowling, M. Spiteri Staines, D. Fenech, M. Cordina, J. Gambin (2), Z. Mizzi (1), N. Bugelli (1), Z. Sciberras
Referees: Peter Balzan, Alessandro Severo
MARSAXLOKK BROWN’S………. 7
MARSASKALA TRANSCRIPTA…. 6
(2-2), (2-1), (3-2), (0-1)
Marsaxlokk: R. Coleiro, C. Spiteri Debarro (1), L. Calleja, C. Bonello, C. Gialanze, N. Hosnyanszky (1), J. Galea, M. Rizzo (3), B. Buhagiar (1), R. Scerri, M. Pace, O. Zammit, K. Lanzon
Marsaskala: J. Micallef, J.C. Cutajar, J. Borg, D. Borg Millo (1), A. Vlahovic (2), L. Grixti, K. Navarro, J. Busuttil, J. Bajada (2), C. Mifsud, D. Cassar, R. Attard (1), J. Cremona
Referees: Ronnie Spiteri, Luca Castagnola
Original article found on The Malta Independent