The Malta Independent 24 February 2020, Monday

Waterpolo, European Junior Championships: Stunning comeback not enough for Malta

Tuesday, 13 August 2019, 21:53 Last update: about 7 months ago
Photo: Aquatic Sports Association of Malta
Photo: Aquatic Sports Association of Malta

Russia   14

Malta    12

(5-2, 3-4, 4-2, 2-4)

Malta was narrowly beaten by Russia 14-12 in the last match of Group A of the Junior European Championships being held in Tbilisi Georgia. It was a gallant display from the Maltese youngsters who were always in the game and even were locked 12-12 with four minutes to go in the fourth and final session.

The Maltese made a stunning comeback at the start of the fourth and final session scoring four goals in succession to cancel out the deficit, but in the remaining minutes Russia scored two goals to dash our hopes of a memorable result.

Malta thus finished third in the Group after the important victory against Turkey on Monday, and will now face Serbia tomorrow in the fourth ranking match at 2pm.

Jake Muscat was again Malta's best scorer scoring half of the twelve goals scored, followed by Jake Bonavia, Sebastien Busuttil, and captain Benjamin Cachia all with two goals each.

Ivannikov put Russia ahead inside the first minute but Jake Muscat scored two goals, the first one from a penalty to put Malta in front. However Russia scored four goals in succession to build a 5-2 lead by the end of the first session.

Benjamin Cachia and Jake Muscat scored at the start of the second session to put Malta back on track, but Shulev and Rchitilev quickly gave the Russians a three-goal lead. Jake Muscat and Busuttil scored again with Iarullin scoring for the Russians for an 8-6 score by the half way line.

Russia won the third session 4-2 with Malta's goals coming from Jake Bonavia and a Jake Muscat penalty for a 12-8 scorline by the end of the third session.

In the fourth session the Maltese boys made a stunning comeback. Sabastian Busuttil scored with a man up to star the comeback and Jake Muscat converted another penalty to make it 12-10. Two fast breaks within fourty seconds put Malta on level terms with Benjamin Cachia and Jake Bonavia making it 12-12 with four minutes to go.

But the Russians kept their cool and scored two goals through Zhuliabin and Mirziev to foil Malta's gallant display.

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