The Malta Independent 22 November 2019, Friday

Waterpolo, Premier Playoffs: Sliema show character to beat San Ġiljan, qualify for final

Stewart Said Wednesday, 28 August 2019, 21:49 Last update: about 4 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

SLIEMA FRANK SALT............. 10

SAN ĠILJAN TUM INVEST...... 9

(2-1), (1-5), (3-0), (4-3)

What a dramatic way to win a game. Sliema are through to the final and stayed with a chance to win their first league in 10 years as they qualified to the final in the most dramatic fashion, scoring the winner in the final three seconds of the game.

This defeat ended the hopes of San Ġiljan to regain the championship that they lost last year. Therefore they will end the summer season without an honour in their 70th anniversary of the club for the first time since 2015.

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Sliema gained a slim advantage in the first session. Matthew Zammit responded for San Ġiljan with a typical shot following Sliema's goals from Gavril Subotic and a penalty by Norbert Hoznyansky. In this session, San Ġiljan failed to convert any of their three man-ups.

In the second session, San Ġiljan gained momentum especially after an early brace by Dino Zammit which put his team in the lead for the first time. Hoznyansky equalised from a central position but San Ġiljan soon regained their lead and also managed to build a good cushion.

They ended the session 6-3 after goals by Niksa Dobud, Matthew Zammit and Dino Zammit, the latter scoring his third goal in the session.

But things changed in the third session as Sergio Afric's instructions at half time seemed to inspired his team. Goals from Jerome Gabarretta and Zach Mizzi in the first two and a half minutes cut the deficit to only a goal.

San Ġiljan weren't sharp enough in their shots and after having a penalty from Dobud saved by and Matthew Zammit hit the post, Sliema equalised from Jerome Gabarretta.

Joseph Parnis saved a penalty this time taken from Guillermo Molina and few seconds later Gavril Subotic put Sliema 7-6 in the lead from a penalty after a foul by Molina. Sliema were defending bravely while San Ġiljan were erratic.

They had to play the last moments of the game without a foreigner as both Gavril Subotic and Norbert Hoznyansky were fouled-out. San Ġiljan thought that they have put the game into penalties after Dino Zammit equalised with six seconds left, in an action that brought several protests from Sliema as they protested that it wasn't a ball under.

But the game wasn't finished yet as in their last action, Michael Spiteri Staines won a foul and Ben Plumpton was sent-off as the left-hander shot past Jake Tanti to give his team a dramatic win while he left San Ġiljan shocked.

Sliema: J. Parnis, J. Gabarretta (2), G. Subotic (2), J. Sciberras, M. Meli, N. Hoznyansky (3), M. Spiteri Staines (1), L. Galea, B. Cachia, J. Gambin, Z. Mizzi (1), N. Bugelli (1), M. Vassallo, K. Borg, J. Cachia

San Ġiljan: J. Tanti, B. Grech, A. Galea, N. Dobud (2), G. Molina (1), M. Zammit (2), B. Plumpton, K. Dowling, T. Said, Da. Zammit, P. Fava, Di. Zammit (4), Z. Micallef, J. Bonavia, J. Portelli

Referees: Mario Dalli, Filippo Gomez

 

NEPTUNES LEO VEGAS.............. 10

SIRENS GREENTUBE................... 4

(2-0), (1-0), (2-2), (5-2)

After winning the knock-out last Sunday, Neptunes Leo Vegas continued their momentum to win also the league. They dominated against Sirens Greentube and will start as favourties to win yet another honour as they face Sliema in the play-off final which will be played on three games.

Sirens failed to keep up the rhythm with their opponents as they only showed signs of a comeback in the third session. Neptunes were solid in defence and in fact they didn't concede any goal in the first half of the game.

Jovan Popovic's team built a 3-0 lead by the end of the second session thanks to goals by Darko Brguljan and Niki Lanzon in the first session while Stevie Camilleri scored the only goal of the second session from penalty, after a foul by John Brownrigg.

Sirens showed signs of recovering and found a way past Alan Borg Cole in the third session. Edward Aquilina and Valentino Gallo scored in a space of a minute and a half but Neptunes soon regained their three-goal lead from Darko Brguljan and Petar Muslim.

They assured themselves of the win midway through the last session. Niki Lanzon and Darko Brguljan made it 7-3 after Christian Presciutti had pulled one back for Sirens. They even ended the game with a six-goal advantage with three goals in the last two and a half minutes.

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

Sirens: N. Grixti, J. Zerafa Gregory, C. Presciutti (2), P. Privitera, M. Grech, J. Brownrigg, I. Riolo, V. Gallo (1), J. Napier, E. Aquilina (1), L. Caruana, M. Sciberras, O. Gauci

G. Sammut, G. Farrugia

Referees: Stefan Licari, Raffaele Colombo

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