The Malta Independent 22 July 2024, Monday
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San Ġiljan draw first blood by winning the President’s Cup

Thursday, 8 June 2023, 06:46 Last update: about 2 years ago



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


The first showdown went San Ġiljan’s way. The champions started the way they wanted, winning the President’s Cup for the fifth time in their history. San Ġiljan were the better team but had to work their way to victory after Sliema showed resilience to react.

His Excellency President of Malta Dr. George Vella was in attendance as the President’s Cup returned to kick-off the Waterpolo Summer season for the first time since 2019 due to the pandemic.

The game started good enough for San Ġiljan to take a commanding 2-0 lead with two beautiful goals by captain Matthew Zammit and debutant Aaron Younger.

Sliema found it difficult to impose their game in the opening minutes but as soon as Dmitrii Kholod scored from a man-up, Sliema started to balance their opponents. San Ġiljan failed to capitalise on all their man-up situations during the first session.

Dejan Savic’s team managed even to take a 3-2 lead in the second session during a period in which San Ġiljan were not cynical in front of goal. Jerome Gabarretta equalised with a typical goal of him from the centre and Jayden Cutajar put Sliema ahead for the first time, also from man-up.

But as soon as they realised that they lost the lead, San Ġiljan switched on and scored three consecutive goals in a space of few seconds. Zammit equalised, Maro Jokovic scored his first personal goal and Younger doubled the lead from penalty.

San Ġiljan looked in control after Jake Bonavia kept their two-goal advantage following Kholod’s goal. Sliema again had to recover the deficit. They kept their focus in defence and managed to equalise again through Zach Mizzi and Dino Zammit.

The President’s Cup was up for grabs in the last eight minutes of the game. San Ġiljan regained their double advantage with half a session left. An unfortunate own-goal and a goal by Younger put San Ġiljan in the driving seat. Ben Plumpton sealed the win two minutes before the end of the game as San Ġiljan supporters started their celebrations. Matthew Zammit rounded off the win with a splendid goal at the end. After the game, the President of Malta Dr. George Vella presented the trophy to San Ġiljan captain Matthew Zammit.

Sliema: N. Grixti, J. Gabarretta (1), L. Galea, Z. Mizzi (1), B. Cachia, J. Cutajar (1), M. Mifsud, J. Brownrigg, D. Kholod (2), A. Prlainovic, D. Zammit (1), A. Bugeja, E. Schembri, S. Engerer

San Ġiljan: J. Tanti, N. Bugelli, A. Galea, B. Plumpton (2), M. Jokovic (1), M. Zammit (3), J. Bonavia (1), A. Younger (3), J. Abela, N. Zammit, D. Zammit, R. Caruana, G. Borg, G. Bonavia, N. Bonavia

Referees: Massimo Angileri, Luca Bianco


Valletta land the Malta Sports Journalists Cup


VALLETTA IZIBET................... 9

MARSASKALA ESC................ 8

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


Valletta Izibet clinched their first honour of the season, winning the Malta Sports Journalists Cup as they defeated Marsaskala ESC 9-8. The game proved to be a tight battle as they renewed their rivalry.

Marsaskala got off to a flying start. A brace by debutant Bence Batori and Mark Carani gave Marsaskala a 3-0 lead. Ivan Nagaev pulled one back but soon after Carani lobbed over Benji Busuttil for what seemed to be a promising 4-1 lead.

Valletta’s reaction in the second session was bold enough to recover the deficit. They managed to reduce the gap to a goal but after Batori made it 5-3, youngster Daniel Rizzo scored twice in a few seconds to equalise.

Despite beginning the third session at par, Valletta failed to capitalise on their momentum with several bad decision making. Carani and Ferenc Salamon gave Arpad Babay’s team a double advantage until Kieyan Borg clawed one back.

The important moment of the game happened in the first part of the last session. Daniel Rizzo scored his third of the game from man-up and few seconds later, Ivan Nagaev gave the Valletta for the first time from penalty.

Andrija Vlahovic made it 9-7 as Valletta scored three times in less than a minute. Gerald Sammut responded immediately for Marsaskala and left his team with a good chance of avoiding defeat. But despite their efforts, Valletta held on to their lead to win the game. After the game, Sandro Micallef, President of Malta Sports Journalists Association, presented the trophy to Valletta captain Daniel Paolella.

Valletta: B. Busuttil, J. Spiteri Staines, D. Rizzo (3), J. Cassar, S. Busuttil (1), A. Vlahovic (1), D. Paolella, I. Nagaev (2), S. Micallef, J. Chircop, K. Borg (2), K. Cremona, A. Theuma, M. Demarco

Marsaskala: J. Micallef, J.C. Cutajar, G. Galea, P. Privitera, R. Greco, F. Salamon (1), K. Navarro, D. Tully, D. Pace Lupi, G. Sammut (1), B. Batori (3), M. Carani (3), A. Muscat, F. Scardino, J. Pace Mizzi

Referees: Peter Balzan, Alessandro Chimenti


Sirens deservedly snatch Women’s Super Cup


SIRENS C&J BONAVIA.......... 13


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


Sirens C&J Bonavia Limited opened their season in the best way possible, defeating San Ġiljan OZO Group 13-7. The final result might give an indication that it was easy for Sirens but in reality, they only secured the win in the last session despite controlling most of the game.

Sirens had already a 4-1 advantage midway through the first session as Kaia Agius shined with a hat-trick. The gap was widened to 6-2 and 7-3 respectively in the session as Sirens were in control.

San Ġiljan tried to react and reduced the deficit to three goals twice in the third session but failed to open the affair in the last session. The sixth goal of the game by Kaia Agius in the middle of the last session was the beginning of the end for their opponents as Sirens had enough time to enlarge their gap to 13-7.

At the end of the game, ASA General Secretary Rita Azzopardi and ASA Vice President Randolph Cauchi presented the trophy to the Sirens captain Denise Micallef.


Sirens: A. Amato, E. Montfort (1), E. Amato, C. Amato, M. Perici Ferrante (3), C. Zammit, K. Navarro, K. Agius (6), D. Micallef (2), K. Attard, Z. Bartolo, Z. Cutajar Licari (1), K. Agius, N. Agius

San Ġiljan: S. Tanti Desjardin, N. Azzopardi (2), M. Bonello Ghio, R. Caruana Dingli, E. Borg (1), M. Falzon, A. Bonello (1), E. Miceli, J. Caruana, M. Attard, S. Camilleri, S. Cassar (3), R. Babiker, S. Tento, M. Grech

Referees: Ronnie Spiteri, Richard Magri

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