The Malta Independent 3 December 2021, Friday

Waterpolo: Sirens take advantage from Valletta black-out in third session

Stewart Said Saturday, 19 August 2017, 05:44 Last update: about 5 years ago

SIRENS GREENTUBE………………..9

VALLETTA UNITED…………………..5

(2-1), (1-2), (6-0), (0-2)

A brilliant third session, was enough for Sirens Greentube to beat Valletta United, move closer to confirm fourth place, while also are now one point shy of Sliema who will play today against Neptunes. The game was practically evenly played in three sessions, but Sirens took advantage from a black-out by Valletta to secure the game with a session to spare.

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Sergio Afric’s words in the half-time charged his players batteries, who became flat after Valletta equalised with two quick goals. On the other hand, the morale of Valletta dropped after conceding three instant goals.

Sirens had the edge over their opponents in the first session. David Cutajar opened the score as he scored from close range, but Michael Cordina equalised for Valletta. Jacob Sciberras managed to put his team in front with the last shot of the session, scoring from his usual position.

Christian Presciutti gave Sirens a 3-1 lead scoring from a penalty, and Sirens looked to have the control of the match. But Valletta had other plans as they equalised with two late goals in the session. First it was Ryan Mock who squeezed the ball past Nicholas Grixti with 19 seconds left. Sirens coach Sergio Afric called a time-out in an attempt to regain the lead, but as soon as the play re-started, they made a foul in attack. Valletta gained possession, Sciortino passed to Michael Cordina who advanced and with a fantastic shot from a notable distance, beat Grixti.

Sergio Afric’s stern words seemed to have had an impact as Sirens caught off-guard their opponents. Afric called an early time-out after Cordina was sent-off for shooting beyond their possession. From then onwards, it was a one-way affair as Sirens scored three quick goals from Marc Grech, Isaiah Riolo and Christian Presciutti. Valletta immobilised and it was no surprise that Sirens continue to extend their lead with another three periodical goals from John Brownrigg, Christian Presciutti and Isaiah Riolo.

This comfortable six-goal advantage meant that the last session was only a formality as Sirens controlled the game, while Valletta were only looking to avoid a huge defeat.

Sirens: N. Grixti, J. Zerafa Gregory, C. Presciutti (3), J. Sciberras (1), M. Grech (1), I. Riolo (2), C. Mercieca, D. Cutajar (1), J. Napier, J. Brownrigg (1), M. Sciberras, J. Ciantar, O. Gauci

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

Referees: Massimo Angileri, Federico Braghini

 

Mora instrumental in Birżebbuġa’s win

MARSASKALA TRANSCRIPTA......10

BIRŻEBBUĠA..............................11

(4-2), (2-3), (1-4), (3-2)

Birżebbuġa won a balanced match against Marsaskala Transcripta 11-10 to keep aiming for third place in the table. Marsaskala could have sealed second place but now they have to wait for the game of Otters or the last game to make sure of finishing second for the second year in a row.

Surely the protagonist of the match was Spaniard Sergi Mora who scored nine goals but also dictated his team’s play alongside their Italian coach Marco Risso, who makes sure that his voice is heard. Coach Pierre Borg decided to field reserve goalkeeper Brandon Muscat Dougall instead of the regular goalkeeper Keith Schembri. Before the match, a minute of silence was observed in respect of the tragic event in Barcelona.

Marsaskala won the first session 4-2. Birżebbuġa responded twice from Sergi Mora and Gary Farrugia, after two goals by Andrija Vlahovic and Kyle Navarro. But Liam Grixti and Vlahovic made sure that their team has the edge. That advantage diminished in the second session after three goals by Mora cancelled Mikhael Cutajar’s goal to equalise, but veteran Duncan Cassar kept his team in front ahead of the break.

Marsaskala kept their noses up front for a short period as Cutajar scored his second personal goal responding to David Pace Lupi. But another hat-trick by Sergi Mora managed to put Birżebbuġa ahead for the first time, with a two-goal cushion.

Marsaskala levelled matters in the last session through a brace by Jean Claude Cutajar. But it was again Mora scoring twice more to give them an 11-9 lead. Marsaskala’s last efforts to save the game resulted in a goal by Stephen Micallef, while goalkeeper David Abela saved a number attempts including the last one with only eight seconds left.

Marsaskala: K. Schembri, J.C. Cutajar (2), N. Farrugia, C. Bonello, A. Vlahovic (2), L. Grixti (1), K. Navarro (1), J. Busuttil, S. Micallef (1), M. Agius, D. Cassar (1), M. Cutajar (2), B. Muscat

Birżebbuġa: D. Abela, M. Manara, S. Mora (9), D. Pace Lupi (1), A. Camenzuli, A. Sammut, S. Vassallo, N. Cassar, G. Farrugia (1), M. Caruana, K. Rizzo Naudi, K. Gauci, D. Spiteri

Referees: Neville Mercieca, Massimo Calabro

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