The Malta Independent 23 October 2019, Wednesday

Waterpolo, Premier Knockout: Neptunes knock out holders San Ġiljan

Stewart Said Sunday, 21 July 2019, 23:02 Last update: about 4 months ago
Photos: Domenic Aquilina
Photos: Domenic Aquilina

SAN ĠILJAN TUM INVEST........ 10

NEPTUNES LEO VEGAS............ 13

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

San Ġiljan TUM Invest suffered a second defeat in three days against Neptunes Leo Vegas but in this case they were eliminated from the knock-out. San Ġiljan were just not up to the standard of their opponents on the day with players like Guillermo Molina and Matthew Zammit failing to shine when needed.

After Friday's chaos, San Ġiljan lacked Ben Plumpton and Dino Zammit while Stevie Camilleri was missing for Neptunes as they were all suspended. Neptunes' longevity during the game lasted longer as their coach Jovan Popovic had more options on the bench to rotate the squad. They will face Marsaxlokk in the semi-final.

Niksa Dobud cancelled Darko Brugljan's quick conversion from a man-up as the Croation scored two quick goals, the first one who his favourite position in the centre. Jake Muscat equalised as Neptunes again scored from a quick action having numerical superiority until youngster Jake Bonavia tapped in from close range few seconds before the end of the first session.

San Ġiljan built a double advantage from a man-up situation in the second session but Ken Erdogan did the same to start the comeback by Neptunes. Niki Lanzon equalised and Petar Muslim put Neptunes in the lead for the second time in the game. Niksa Dobud scored his third of the game from man-up but Ken Erdogan was sharp enough to score from an acute angle.

This goal proved to be vital for the remainder of the game as from then onwards, San Ġiljan never went in front or equalised. They had to reduce the margin to a goal twice but a precise shot by Nikolai Zammit in the last minute of the third session, gave Neptunes a 9-7 lead.

Petar Muslim's goal in the beginning of the last session, paved the way for Neptunes' win. They were disciplined enough and controlled the game better while San Ġiljan looked demoralised and short of ideas.

Darko Brguljan and Jake Muscat sealed the win midway through the session as now San Ġiljan risked of being humiliated. San Ġiljan managed to cut the deficit to three goals after goals by Tristan Said, Matthew Zammit and Niksa Dobud, the latter coming from penalty after Jordan Camilleri was sent-off for brutality, leaving his team with a man down for the last 90 seconds.

San Ġiljan: J. Tanti, B. Grech, A. Galea, N. Dobud (5), G. Molina (1), M. Zammit (1), K. Dowling, T. Said (1), Da. Zammit (1), P. Fava, T. Micallef, J. Bonavia (1), J. Portelli

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

Referees: Massimo Angileri, Fabio Brasiliano

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