The Malta Independent 18 June 2024, Tuesday
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San Ġiljan beat Sliema again to be crowned champions for 12th time

Thursday, 18 August 2022, 06:09 Last update: about 3 years ago

Stewart Said

SLIEMA FRANK SALT............ 12

SAN ĠILJAN JP PROJECTS..... 16

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

 

Three colours dominated the National Pool at the end of the game - black, yellow and red; the colours of San Ġiljan. Zeljko Kovacic’s team showed why deserved to be crowned champions for the 12th time in their history, leaving Sliema waiting for their first league since 2009.

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All in all, the best team won the league during Zeljko Kovacic’s first season in charge. San Ġiljan showed to have depth in the squad while key players such as Nikolai Zammit and Ben Plumpton expressed their quality in critical moments of the season.

San Ġiljan got off to a flying start as they scored three time during the second part of the first session. As things stood, some of those present thought that the game would be a one way affair. But Sliema showed their fighting spirit and clawed two goals back from Jayden Cutajar and Liam Galea in the last minute and a half of the session.

Kovavic’s men held a 4-3 lead during the first seconds of the second session. That was until Sliema turned the tables, scoring three consecutive goals in a span of less than two minutes. These goals seemed to give Sliema a fresh hope to control and win the game but San Ġiljan made a bold reaction until the end of the session. Goals from from Nicholas Bugelli, Ben Plumpton, Andreas Galea and Mattias Ortoleva in the latter part of the session assured San Ġiljan to start the third session 8-6 in front.

After both teams missed a man-up situation, Jayden Cutajar reduced the gap to a goal from a man-up situation. Then came the deciding moment of the encounter. San Ġiljan roared and scored no less than five consecutive goals in the last four minutes of the session. Ben Plumpton stood out with a hat-trick.

A 13-7 scoreline before the commencement of the last session gave Sliema a very slim chance of a remarkable comeback. Despite the margin, Sliema still showed courage to try and salvage the game. San Ġiljan had a comfortable lead which they controlled as the last moments became a formality.

The end of the game brought as expected, joyful celebrations from San Ġiljan players, staff, committee and supporters. Captain Matthew Zammit received the trophy from ASA President Joe Caruana Curran and Joe Agius from Bank of Valletta, in the presence of Minister for Sports Clifton Grima.

Sliema: N. Grixti, J. Gabarretta, L. Galea (2), D. Rizzo, M. Meli, B. Cachia, J. Cutajar (3), M. Mifsud (1), J. Brownrigg (2), J. Gambin, Z. Mizzi (1), D. Zammit (2), A. Theuma, K. Borg (1)

San Ġiljan: J. Tanti, P. Borg, A. Galea (1), N. Schiavone, R. Caruana (1), M. Zammit (1), B. Plumpton (6), D. Tully, J. Bonavia (1), N. Zammit (2), D. Zammit (1), N. Bugelli (2), G. Vassallo, M. Ortoleva (1), D. Ferò

Referees: Filippo Gomez, Alex de Raffaele

 

Double for Marsaskala in the First Division

 

VALLETTA IZIBET................. 5

M’SKALA FISH AND FISH..... 9

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

 

After the last direct encounters, Marsaskala Fish and Fish were expected to beat Valletta Izibet. They didn’t disappoint and avoided the third final by winning 9-6 to claim the First Division title. The win meant that Marsaskala won three First Division honours this season, despite the fact they lost the opportunity to retain their place in the Premier Division.

Valletta looked to be in the driving seat at the beginning of the league but suffered from inconsistent performances in the second part of the season to finish the season empty handed.

Marsaskala were determined not to let the game slip away and gained control immediately. Midway through the first session, Marsaskala gained a three goal lead. Zachary Micallef reduced the margin but Jake Ciantar made it 4-1 from man-up.

After going down 6-1 in the early moments of the second session, Valletta showed their fighting spirit to stay in the game. Daniel Paolella and Kyle Cremona from man-up and a penalty from Micallef between them, cut the lead to 6-4.

But after Daniel Paolella’s early goal in the third session, Marsaskala upped their game and managed to distance themselves from their opponents. Goals from Gerald Sammut, David Pace Lupi and Malcolm Manara practically assured the win for Arpad Babay’s team. In the last session, Valletta only scored from Matthew Pace, a goal that didn’t help Valletta’s cause to save the game.

After the end of the game, Joe Agius from Bank of Valletta and ASA President Joe Caruana Curran presented the trophy to Jurgen Micallef and Jean Claude Cutajar in the presence of Minister for Education and Sports Clifton Grima.

Valletta: B. Busuttil, N. Farrugia, M. Pace (1), T. Said, S. Busuttil, Z. Micallef (2), D. Paolella (2), M. Mifsud, S. Micallef, A. Agius, K. Galea, K. Cremona (1), A. Bugeja, O. Zammit, R. Attard

Marsaskala: J. Micallef, J.C. Cutajar, A. Camenzuli, P. Privitera, R. Greco, G. Galea, K. Navarro (1), M. Manara (1), D. Pace Lupi (3), G. Sammut (1), J. Ciantar (2), M. Carani (1), A. Muscat

Referees: Alessio Nicolai, Neville Mercieca

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