The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Waterpolo: Stunning first session paves the way for an easy Sliema win

Stewart Said Sunday, 13 August 2017, 21:38 Last update: about 2 years ago

SLIEMA FRANK SALT.......14

VALLETTA UNITED...........5

(6-1), (1-2), (6-1), (1-1)

After Valletta’ surprise win in their last encounter, the prediction of the game forecasted a balanced affair, but this was not the case as Sliema Frank Salt demolished Valletta United with an easy win, winning by a nine-goal margin.

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Sliema avenged their defeat in the best possible way as they started the match on a high that paved the way for the win. This game showed that there’s quality in the squad of Sliema and the hope of all those supporting Sliema, is that they can show a similar performance in the finali.

Coach Bogdan Rath made an interesting choice as he opted for young Zach Sciberras instead of regular goalkeeper Ryan Coleiro, a decision which proved to be a good decision as Sciberras had a very positive game.

(Photos Domenic Aquilina)

Valletta disappointed and couldn’t control their opponents, led in the pitch by Guillermo Molina and his team-mates. They were aiming to make another surprise and reach the final for the first time in 27 years, but they didn’t had the same determination as their opponents.

Sliema started the game determined as ever not to let Valletta spring a surprise, and after Michael Cordina’s opener, Sliema started dominating scoring one goal after another to finish the session 6-1, a more than comfortable lead after only eight effective minutes of play.

Valletta were caught off guard by the performance of their opponents, and were looking to find a way to enter back into the game. They only managed to stop the destruction as they still trailed by four goals before half way the game.

That reaction proved only to be partial as Sliema tuned up again the band and after Cordina responded to Gambin and Gabarretta’s goals, Sliema scored four consecutive goals by Gambin, Mizzi, Spiteri Staines and Molina to wrap up the session with a definite score of 13-4.

Bogdan Rath’s team reduced their rhythm in the last session as they controlled the game without no difficulty, finishing a brilliant game and maybe this game can serve as an inspiration to try and surprise the dominant team of San Ġiljan.

Sliema: R. Coleiro, J. Gabarretta (2), E. Aquilina, C. Cluett (1), G. Molina (3), K. Dowling (1), M. Spiteri Staines (2), L. Galea, J. Gambin (3), M. Meli (1), Z. Mizzi (1), R. Greco, Z. Sciberras

Valletta: R. Sciortino, J. Spiteri Staines (1), A. Agius, M. Rizzo, M. Fenech, R. Mock, D. Paolella, N. Bonello Ghio, M. Cordina (2), B. Vapenski (1), K. Galea, D. Fenech, A. Mifsud (1)

Referees: Massimo Angileri, Daniele Bianco

 

Mora shines in Birżebbuġa’s win

OTTERS NIVEA............8

BIRŻEBBUĠA..............10

(1-1), (2-5), (2-3), (3-1)

After 15 years of absence from the local waterpolo scene, Birżebbuġa not only gave a tough match to every team, but even made it to the knock-out final after beating Otters Nivea 10-8 to face Marsaxlokk Fischer in the final.

Otters had a good match but lost concentration following repeated protests and had to chase the result after losing track with their opponents. Sergi Mora had a positive game for Birżebbuġa as he was instrumental in his team’s play.

Edward Meli struck first for Otters, but Sergi Mora equalised for Birżebbuġa. The Gozitan team went again ahead in the second season from veteran Charlie Zammit, but Birżebbuġa managed to turn the tables with a brace by Kurt Gauci and another goal by Mora, amid heavy protests by Otters for the control of the Italian referee. Jelaka reduced the gap partially but Birżebbuġa soon regained control and finished the session with a worthy three-goal lead.

Birżebbuġa were looking to be cruising in the game after Karl Rizzo Naudi made it 7-3, but Otters fought to stay in the game and scored twice from Luke Hyzler and Charlie Zammit. Marco Risso’s harsh instructions stuck in the head of his players and resulted into two goals by Pace Lupi and the ever present Sergi Mora to consolidate their advantage.

But Otters weren’t going to be defeated so easily and still had a fighting life to save the game. Croatian Marko Jelaka managed to score twice followed by Michael Borg Millo to trim the gap to only a goal. Otters even pressed to equalise, but Mora’s goal controlled the pressure as Marco Risso’s team saw out the last attacks for the win.

Otters: M. Xerri, M. Borg Millo (1), A. Magri, L. Hyzler (1), E. Meli (1), K. Scicluna, G. Mizzi, M. Jelaka (3), M. Paris, C. Zammit (2), M. Borg, C. Teuma, E. Vella

Birżebbuġa: D. Abela, M. Manara, S. Mora (4), D. Pace Lupi (1), A. Camenzuli, A. Sammut (1), S. Vassallo, N. Cassar, G. Farrugia, M. Caruana (1), K. Rizzo Naudi (1), K. Gauci (2), D. Spiteri

Referees: Mario Dalli, Carlo Iori

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