The Malta Independent 19 September 2019, Thursday

Waterpolo, Premier Knockout: Neptunes sweat to eliminate stubborn Marsaxlokk

Stewart Said Sunday, 11 August 2019, 22:03 Last update: about 2 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

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

MARSAXLOKK BROWN'S............ 11

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

Neptunes Leo Vegas found it difficult to overcome a stern challenge by Marsaxlokk Brown's Pharma but at the end they got what they wanted. They will now contest the final against their eternal rivals Sliema. Marsaxlokk confirmed their progress for another game as they rose to the occasion to put their opponents in difficulty. They even reacted when Neptunes seemed to stretch their lead and pushed their opponents till the final second.

Marsaxlokk were twice in the lead during the first session. Darko Brguljan's opener was cancelled by Timmy Agius and Rainier Scerri. Brguljan equalised, Ivan Nagaev put Marsaxlokk again in front but Stevie Camilleri equalised from penalty.

Neptunes took a 7-4 lead in the second session and many thought that was the beginning of the end for Marsaxlokk. But Joe Cremona's team reacted and scored twice in the last minute from Stephen Micallef and Andrija Vlahovic.

They even equalised at the beginning of the third session from Vlahovic. Neptunes stayed calm and kept their playing their game. Jeremy Abela put his team again in the lead with a goal from the centre and a brace by Stevie Camilleri and Petar Muslim opened up a four-goal gap.

Nagaev pulled one back in the last half a minute of the session and even cut the gap to only a goal with a brace in the first two minutes of the last session. Marsaxlokk showed their fighting spirit in one particular occasion when they blocked shots for four times.

They stayed with a chance to level the game after Vlahovic responded to the goal by Nikolai Zammit. In the last action of the game, Marsaxlokk coach Joe Cremona called a time-out. Goalkeeper Ryan Coleiro joined the attack and as Ivan Nagaev was fouled and was prepared to take the shot, Marsaxlokk protested on two occasions for an infringement by Stevie Camilleri, but the referees waved played on, and Camilleri grabbed the ball and scored in an empty net from distance.

Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon, K. Erdogan, G. Pace, P. Muslim (1), D. Brguljan (3), S. Camilleri (5), J. Camilleri (2), J. Abela (1), N. Zammit (1), S. Gialanze, M. Azzopardi, B. Busuttil, M. Castillo, A. Fenech

Marsaxlokk: R. Coleiro, J. Rizzo Naudi, L. Calleja, M. Cacici, T. Agius (2), J. Galea, A. Vlahovic (3), I. Nagaev (4), S. Micallef (1), R. Scerri (1), L. Saliba, M. Pace, F. Buhagiar, M. Martellacci, K. Galea

Referees: Stefan Licari, Arnaldo Petronilli

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