The Malta Independent 18 November 2018, Sunday

Waterpolo, BOV Summer League: Neptunes draw first blood in the play-off finals

Stewart Said Tuesday, 4 September 2018, 22:53 Last update: about 3 months ago
Photos: Domenic Aquilina
Photos: Domenic Aquilina

SAN ĠILJAN TUM INVEST...... 10
NEPTUNES LEO VEGAS.......... 13
(2-0), (2-5), (3-6), (3-2)

The game was predicted as a balanced affair between the best two teams this season. It could have gone either way but the most concentrated team won the game as Neptunes Leo Vegas beat San Ġiljan TUM Invest 13-10.

This win meant that Neptunes are now one win away from securing their second league in three years, but also this game resulted in the second loss for San Ġiljan in three game after a 54 game unbeaten streak.

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San Ġiljan coach Marko Orlovic has to regroup the players to be ready for next Friday's clash which will be decisive. He also had to do without their hard-working player Andreas Galea from the beginning of the second session, while Paul Fava was sent-off few moments before the end of the third session. On the other hand, Neptunes coach Jovan Popovic has to work with the team to stay focused as they were very disciplined in this first game.

The champions were only better than their opponents in the first session as they not only won the session 2-0 but didn't concede any man-ups to Neptunes while they scored the one that they had from Matthew Zammit while Ben Plumpton doubled at the end of the session.

But Neptunes made a quick and splendid reaction as they turned a 2-0 deficit into a 4-3 lead with goals from their three main scorers Stevie Camilleri, Petar Muslim and Jordan Camilleri. Paulo Obradovic equalised from a central position, but a last second shot by veteran Niki Lanzon gave Neptunes a 5-4 lead before the break, which proved to be important.

This was because Neptunes controlled their opponents in the third session. Muslim gave them a two-goal lead but Plumpton from man-up responded. Neptunes managed to score three goals in a space of two minutes from Stevie Camilleri and Petar Muslim.

San Ġiljan looked shocked but tried to stay in the game with two goals from Paul Fava and a penalty from Obradovic with a minute left for the end of the third session. But Neptunes regained their four-goal cushion as Petar Muslim and Stevie Camilleri made it 11-7. Just before the goal of Camilleri, Paul Fava was shown the red card for protesting.

San Ġiljan were three goals behind with three minutes and 18 seconds till the end, but as time passed by Neptunes controlled the game, with San Ġiljan losing their patience in the last session. The goal by Stevie Camilleri just after the goal of Peter Borg sealed the game.

San Ġiljan: J. Tanti, P. Borg (1), A. Galea, B. Grech, C. Farrugia, M. Zammit (2), B. Plumpton (3), Da. Zammit, T. Said, P. Obradovic (2), P. Fava (1), Di. Zammit (1), T. Micallef

Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon (1), K. Erdogan, G. Pace, P. Muslim (4), N. Zammit, S. Camilleri (6), J. Camilleri (1), J. Abela (1), M. Zammit, J. Muscat, M. Azzopardi, J. Parnis

Referees: Peter Balzan, Massimo Calabro

 

SLIEMA FRANK SALT............. 12
SIRENS GREENTUBE............... 7
(5-2), (2-1), (2-1), (3-3)

Sliema Frank Salt have made an important step towards securing progress from last year as they defeated comfortably Sirens Greentube 12-7. Last year it was Sirens Greentube who finished third and in their next match they need to organise themselves to keep their position, considering also that they were close to reach the final.

Sirens lacked the fighting spirit that they had in the three games against San Ġiljan and this fact helped Sliema to control the game with ease.

Sliema managed to take a 3-1 lead in the first half of the first session through goals by Nicholas Bugelli, Jamie Gambin and Jerome Gabarretta. John Brownrigg pulled one back but a brace by Christian Presciutti in the last two minutes of the session gave them a good 5-2 lead.

This lead continued to stretch as Jerome Gabarretta scored in the middle of the second session while captain Mark Meli scored a brilliant goal with a minute left. Edward Aquilina reduced the gap few seconds before the end of the session.

With a four-goal difference and a calm environment, the rhythm of the match slowed down but Sliema stayed in control. Aquilina scored his second goal of the game but two minutes later Mark Meli also scored his second personal goal of the game and Zach Mizzi scored a good goal half a minute before the end of the third session.

Sliema had a five-goal advantage heading into the last session, as both coaches decided to give space to their fringe players while waiting for the game to finish as both teams knew their faith.

Sliema: J. Sammut, J. Gabarretta (2), C. Presciutti (4), S. Azzopardi, M. Meli (2), K. Dowling, M. Spiteri Staines, D. Fenech, M. Cordina, J. Gambin (2), Z. Mizzi (1), N. Bugelli (1), Z. Sciberras

Sirens: N. Grixti, P. Privitera, E. Aquilina (3), N. Bicari (1), M. Grech, I. Riolo, C. Mercieca, J. Sciberras, J. Napier (1), J. Ciantar, L. Caruana, J. Brownrigg (2), G. Galea Curmi

Referees: Stefan Licari, Arnaldo Petronilli

 

1ST DIVISION

MARSAXLOKK BROWN'S............. 4
BIRŻEBBUĠA FREEPORT.............. 3
(2-0), (0-1), (2-2), (0-0)

Marsaxlokk: R. Coleiro, C. Spiteri Debarro (1), L. Calleja, C. Bonello, C. Gialanze (1), N. Hosnyanszky (1), J. Galea, M. Rizzo (1), B. Buhagiar, R. Scerri, M. Pace, O. Zammit, K. Lanzon

Birżebbuġa: D. Abela, M. Ortoleva (1), N. Cassar, D. Pace Lupi (1), S. Mora, J. Rizzo Naudi, S. Vassallo, D. Cutajar (1), S. Micallef, M. Cutajar, K. Rizzo Naudi, J. Zerafa Gregory, D. Spiteri

Referees: Ronnie Spiteri, Massimo Calabro

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