The Malta Independent 16 November 2018, Friday

Waterpolo, BOV Summer League: Neptunes edge San Ġiljan to win their seventh league in nine years

Stewart Said Sunday, 9 September 2018, 21:22 Last update: about 3 months ago
Photos: Domenic Aquilina
Photos: Domenic Aquilina

SAN ĠILJAN TUM INVEST............ 6
NEPTUNES LEO VEGAS................ 7
(3-4), (1-0), (1-1), (1-2)

The BOV Summer League ended on a high as both sets of supporters and players were prepared to see their team win the league. San Ġiljan were looking to confirm their dominance in recent years, winning their 11th league in their history and the second consecutive league for the first time since the mid 90s. Neptunes were in search for their 25th league and the seventh success in nine years.

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In the end it was Neptunes who came out as winners, edging their rivals with a 7-6 in a tense but exciting encounter. The format of the league meant that the title could be decided in the last minutes of a match, and it proved to be like that as in the last minute of the last match, the difference was a goal.

The experience of players like Niki Lanzon, Stevie Camilleri, Jordan Camilleri, Alan Borg Cole and their foreigner Petar Muslim drived the team for success. San Ġiljan had again to recover from a slow start and in the end they paid for it.

Both referees of the game Massimo Angileri and Gianluca Centineo had a brilliant game as they controlled the affair between both teams in the slightest manner possible, considering also the stature of the game.

San Ġiljan were given a boost few hours before the game as the one game suspension against captain Matthew Zammit was dropped, but Neptunes had to do without their coach Jovan Popovic who was suspended.

Neptunes had a positive start to the game and after Jordan Camilleri opened the score immediately, Paulo Obradovic equalised from a penalty. But Neptunes took a deserved 3-1 lead from Petar Muslim and Jordan Camilleri.

San Ġiljan tried to stay in the game and reduced the gap to finish the session a goal behind. Both goals came in a similar fashion from Croatian Paulo Obradovic to end the session 4-3 in favour of Neptunes after Muslim had partially made it 4-2.

The Saints managed to recover their goal disadvantage with the only goal scored by Dino Zammit. They were more dangerous in their attacks while Neptunes found it difficult in their attempts on goals.

The third session began with a 4-4 draw. The game seemed to go for a twist when San Ġiljan took the lead for the first time with a goal from the centre by Matthew Zammit. But Neptunes reacted and equalised from Jeremy Abela after a quick man-up. Despite the match being in a balanced affair, there was a feeling that Neptunes were still the better team in the pitch.

Neptunes regained their lead with a brilliant shot by Jordan Camilleri as Neptunes held the initiative. Time was running out for San Ġiljan as they were looking for at least a goal. They had some occasions but Neptunes goalkeeper Alan Borg Cole made two important saves.

The wonderful goal by Gabriel Pace with a bit less than two minutes till the end of the game, gave Neptunes the first indication to win the league. Matthew Zammit pulled one back with a fine shot in the corner.

A minute left with both teams attacking to decide the outcome of the game. Tensions were boiling on both sets of players and supporters. San Ġiljan failed to finish their last attack with a proper shot as Neptunes controlled the last 23 seconds of possession to win the game.

Celebrations erupted on Neptunes' side as the supporters of San Ġiljan left the National Pool slowly and calmly, seeing their hopes of winning their second consecutive league ended.

ASA President Joe Caruana and BOV Chief Executive Paul Gauci presented the trophy to the captain of Neptunes Niki Lanzon.

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

Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon, K. Erdogan, G. Pace (1), P. Muslim (2), N. Zammit, S. Camilleri, J. Camilleri (3), J. Abela (1), M. Zammit, J. Muscat, M. Azzopardi, J. Parnis

Referees: Massimo Angileri, Gianluca Centineo

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