The Malta Independent 11 December 2019, Wednesday

Waterpolo, BOV Summer League: Birżebbuġa edge Ta’ Xbiex after penalties to face Marsaskala next

Stewart Said Tuesday, 20 August 2019, 00:10 Last update: about 5 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

BIRŻEBBUĠA FREEPORT.......... 11

TA' XBIEX AMIGOS.................. 11

(Birżebbuġa 7-6 after penalties)

(5-2), (1-3), (3-2), (2-4)

Penalties decided the fate of Birżebbuġa Freeport and Ta' Xbiex Amigos. Birżebbuġa won the game and qualified to the semi-final while the season for Ta' Xbiex ended but they finished the season with their heads held up high after a positive performance from a team made up of youngsters.

Birżebbuġa won the first session 5-2, having built a three-goal lead inside the first moments of the game. Ta' Xbiex showed signs of recovering as they reduced the gap to 5-4 due to goals by Nenad Kacar and Niccolo Gitto. The gap stayed to a goal till the end of the second session after Gerald Sammut responded to the goal by Mikhael Cutajar.

Ta' Xbiex equalised in the third session after the first three minutes of the session. Max Borg had doubled the lead for Birżebbuġa but David Fenech and Kacar equalised. That was only until veterans David Cutajar and David Pace Lupi kept Birżebbuġa with their noses in front.

Ta' Xbiex made a bold reaction in the first part of the last session as they scored three consecutive goals from Mark Carani, David Fenech and Keith Tanti to take the lead for the first time in the game. Birżebbuġa went again in the lead with a minute and a half left after they converted two man-ups. Gitto equalised from the subsequent action to take the game into penalties.

Both teams scored their five penalties. Kacar scored again for Ta' Xbiex and Goreta scored again for Birżebbuġa but Gitto missed the penalty and Ortoleva scored the winner.

Birżebbuġa: D. Spiteri, M. Borg (1), N. Cassar, D. Pace Lupi (1), R. Spiteri, A. Petkovic (1), S. Vassallo, D. Cutajar (2), J. Bajada (2), M. Cutajar (1), A. Goreta (2), M. Ortoleva (1), A. Bugeja, J. Saliba, M. Mifsud

Ta' Xbiex: Z. Sciberras, R. Greco, M. Demarco, N. Schiavone, M. Carani (1), S. Azzopardi, D. Fenech (2), N. Saliba (1), N. Kacar (2), G. Sammut (1), K. Tanti (1), N. Gitto (3), A. Theuma

Referees: Peter Balzan, Massimiliano Sponza

 

MARSASKALA FISH AND FISH..... 18

OTTERS NIVEA............................ 13

(4-4), (3-2), (5-4), (6-3)

Marsaskala Fish and Fish confirmed their superiority on Otters Nivea as they clinced the second game to pass to the play-off semi-final and stay with a chance to win the league. Otters ended their commitments for this season, a campaign that saw them making some improvements from last season although they still have to bolster their squad with more quality players to close the gap with the other teams in the division.

Marsaskala had to recover from a slow start as Otters built a 3-0 lead. But after Edward Meli responded to the goal by Daniel Borg Millo, a brace by Kristijan Milakovic and a goal between them by Konstantin Averka made the score 4-4 by the end of the first session.

Averka showed his importance in the team, scoring a hat-trick in the second period as Marsaskala ended the session 7-6 in the lead. Benji Lanzon had equalised while Ferenc Salamon reduced the gap to a goal from penalty.

Otters showed character to keep fighting and after Marsaskala had a 9-7 advantage, Gabriel Mizzi and Milos Filipovic equalised with two goals in few seconds. But Rheinhard Attard and Jean Claude Cutajar from man-up restored the two-goal lead. Milakovic made it 12-9 until Filipovic kept his team hoping of another comeback with a late goal in the session.

Marsaskala made sure to avoid any surprises as after a bit more than two minutes from the start of the last session, Marsaskala were 15-10 in front thanks to their foreigners Milakovic and Averka. They controlled the final minutes to claim an important win.

Marsaskala: J. Micallef, J.C. Cutajar (2), A. Camenzuli, M. Manara, M. Aquilina, L. Grixti, K. Navarro, K. Milakovic (6), K. Averka (8), J. Culic, R. Attard (1), D. Borg Millo (1), M. Borg, J. Ciantar

Otters: M. Xerri, C. Spiteri Debarro (1), F. Salamon (3), L. Hyzler, E. Meli (1), M. Lanzon (1), G. Mizzi (1), D. Dimech, A. Mifsud, B. Lanzon (1), M. Filipovic (5), D. Camilleri

Referees: Ronnie Spiteri, Stefano Pinato

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