The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

Updated - Waterpolo: Brilliant Malta overcomes Belarus to qualify for European championship

Saturday, 3 March 2018, 17:23 Last update: about 10 months ago
Photos: Domenic Aquilina
Photos: Domenic Aquilina

MALTA.............16     

BELARUS...........9

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

Malta needed only to win by two goals but Karl Izzo’s team made sure of qualifying to the European Championships for the second time, winning by seven goals in a five-star performance. The crowd was the 8th player in the pitch as there was a great turnout, with also the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition were in attendance amongst other Members of Parliament.

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Several players shined during the match amongst them Matthew Zammit who was powerful in the centre, Stevie Camilleri always found a way to score and create spaces and Nicky Grixti was superb in goal.

A brilliant first set the pace, as braces by Matthew Zammit and Stevie Camilleri alongside Aurelien Cousin overshadowed the brace Kanstantsin Averka. In the second session, Belarus tried to reduce the gap and they managed to score in three occasions, but every time Malta kept its composure to respond every time, keeping a good three-goal margin, with Stevie Camilleri scoring an important penalty right at the end of the session.

Having a three-goal lead, Izzo’s boys rallied to have a powerful start after the break scoring three consecutive goals from Aurelien Cousin, Dino Zammit and Stevie Camilleri for a commanding 11-5 lead. Like the second session, Belarus tried to get back in the game, but the Maltese players responded twice from Matthew Zammit to stay with a comfortable six-goal lead at the end of the third session.

All that the Maltese players had to do in the last session was to administer the game. Jordan Camilleri continued to widen the margin, but Averka and Kuzmenko scored to reduce the gap to five goals. A positive performance was capped by two goals from Cousin and Stevie Camilleri for a wonderful 16-9 score line.

After the game, well deserved celebrations from the players, technical staff and association started as the spectators who flocked at the National Pool enjoyed the efforts to put Malta’s name at the next European Championships which will be held in July at Barcelona.

Malta: N. Grixti, N. Bugelli, A. Galea, Da. Zammit, J. Abela, M. Zammit (4), S. Camilleri (6), J. Camilleri (1), B. Plumpton, A. Cousin (3), Z. Mizzi, Di. Zammit (2), J. Tanti

Belarus: M. Yazerski, K. Averka (5), V. Velichka (1), A. Kharlap, I. Radzko, A. Dzikhtsiarenka, V. Ivanou, I. Tumas, A. Shalamitski, A. Kuzmenko (2), T. Padziarun (1), M. Chuprina, M. Isachanka

Referees: Adam Czaszko, Jose Barradas Santos

 

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