The Malta Independent 16 November 2018, Friday

Waterpolo: San Ġiljan score twice in the last 21 seconds to win the fourth consecutive knock-out

Stewart Said Tuesday, 11 September 2018, 23:23 Last update: about 3 months ago
Photos: Domenic Aquilina
Photos: Domenic Aquilina

SAN ĠILJAN TUM INVEST........... 10
NEPTUNES LEO VEGAS................ 9
(1-2), (2-2), (2-4), (5-1)

A dramatic finish to a splendid knock-out final gave San Ġiljan TUM Invest the fourth consecutive knock-out as they got the better of the newly crowned champions Neptunes Leo Vegas 10-9.

It seemed as if they were going to lose for the second time in three days since they were trailing 9-8 with less than half a minute till the end of the game. But two goals by Paulo Obradovic and Ben Plumpton in the last 21 seconds turned the game on its head and gave San Ġiljan a win that ended the season on a happy note.

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Neptunes had the game in their own hands as they started the last session 8-5 in front, but failed to keep their rhythm as they also suffered because they had Stevie Camilleri fouled-out for the last half a session. Maybe the lack of concentration proved to be their downfall.

San Ġiljan won the first session 2-1 as they scored both goals from man-up from Matthew Zammit and Paul Fava, with the veteran scoring in the last 28 seconds of the session. Gabriel Pace had equalised partially.

Things were different in the second session as Neptunes were better and took control of the game. San Ġiljan lacked precision in attack and suffered the pressure of their opponents, as Neptunes were attacking for longer periods.

Petar Muslim equalised in the first action of the second session, and the Croatian put his team 4-3 in front before the break, after Plumpton had responded to Jordan Camilleri's goal.

Neptunes continued to be better than their opponents in the third session, but after Stevie Camilleri made it 5-3, Plumpton and Dino Zammit equalised in a minute.

There was still half a session to till the end of the period. Niki Lanzon scored from a man-up, and Stevie Camilleri scored a brace in the last minute to give his team what seemed a comfortable lead.

The last session started 8-5 and at that point, the Neptunes supporters were jubilant while the majority of the San Ġiljan supporters looked resigned to another defeat.

Matthew Zammit kept them hoping with a fine shot, and from the action that Stevie Camilleri was fouled-out, Paulo Obradovic reduced the gap to one goal with half a session still to go. Dino Zammit made it 8-8 with two minutes to go.

The game changed its way as now both teams could still win it with a simple goal. Neptunes looked to have won it right at the end thanks to Gabriel Pace with 36 seconds to go.

Time was running out for San Ġiljan and they needed to make a quick reaction. They managed to score 15 seconds later from Paulo Obradovic. The game seemed to be heading for extra-time but after Neptunes lost possession, Ben Plumpton was clever enough to swim in attack. He received the ball and despite being marked, he shot with two seconds left and fired past Alan Borg Cole to give his team an incredible win.

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

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

Referees: Massimo Angileri, Raffaele Colombo

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