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Slick San Ġiljan sink Sliema to force decider in Winter League

Under the watchful eyes of new coach Zeljko Kovacic, San Ġiljan put up a slick display, backed by sound defensive blocking and swift counter-punching to annihilate Sliema as easily as the 11-6 scoreline indicates.

In so doing, the Saints forced a decider scheduled for Tuesday, to determine the destination of this year’s winter title.

Matthew Zammit’s explosive qualities did the game early on, once with an excellent goal which gave the Saints a 2-1 lead.

Sliema went for all-pitch press early on, but San Giljan administered the game wisely.  

Just before the end of the first session, the Blues gifted their opponent a goal on the counter when Jake Bonavia swam full pitch to beat Nicky Grixti for 3-1.

In fact, San Giljan looked disposed to cash in on the striking qualities on the break.

The Saints were definitely putting up better fare as they hit three goals without reply, one of which underlined their perfect sync which had Bonavia netting again on the counter after great work by their defence.

The issue was as good as over before the change of ends when the scoreline was 7-2.  

The way Sliema were playing never suggested they could bridge that gap as the Blues kept messing their numerical advantages.  

San Ġiljan’s defensive shield was giving nothing away. Their efficient blocking in front of a safe Jake Tanti between the sticks made for a sound platform.

Somehow Sliema dug into their reserved oxygen when Dino Zammit reached his hat-trick at the end of the third session to bridge to gap to 8-4.

The Saints remained calm and with time running out the Blues were unable to make any headway. Nikolai Zammit from two penalties and Matthew Zammit hammered more nails in Sliema’s coffin.

In the First Division, an impressive Marsascala managed to topple leaders Valletta 7-1 to force a decider for the title.

A 5-0 advantage before the start of the last session for the Southseasiders proved to be too big for Valletta to bridge, with the Citizens having to succumb 7-1 to superior opponents.

That storming start had Marsaskala doing everything right against the fumbling opponents who only managed to score a goal in the last session but never to redress the imbalance.

Later on, Jake Muscat who returned from Montenegro, resumed duty for Neptunes in yesterday’s match against Sirens.

In fact, victory was earned principally courtesy of four-goal Muscat who helped his side conducted the scoreline throughout the match.

The Reds pulled the strings from the opening sessions and cruised through a 9-5 victory to reach their opponents in the third spot in the table.



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

MARSASKALA: J. Micallef, JC Cutajar, A. Camenzuli 2, P. Privitera, R. Greco, G. Galea, K. Navarro 2, M. Manara, D. Pace Lupi 1, G. Sammut 1, J. Ciantar 1, M. Carani, A. Muscat.

VALLETTA: B. Busuttil, N. Farrugia, M. Pace, L. Hyzler, Z. Micallef, T. Said, D. Paolella 1, M. Mifsud, S Micallef, A. Agius, K Galea, O. Zammit, A. Bugeja.

Refs: Ronnie Spiteri, Stefan Licari.



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

SIRENS: T. Micallef, P. Serracino, K. Erdogan, J Zerafa Gregory 1, G. Farrugia 2, M. Chircop, I. Riolo, J. Napier, M. Cutajar, M. Sciberras 2, M. Azzopardi, M. Bonello Dupius.

NEPTUNES: A. Borg Cole, J. Muscat 4, S. Gialanze 3, G. Pace, J. Cachia, J. Spiteri Staines 2, M. Castillo, J. Camilleri, R. Galea, M. Spiteri Staines, M. Zammit, Max Farrugia, Michael Farrugia.

Refs: Peter Balzan, Neville Mercieca.


SAN ĠILJAN        11

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

SLIEMA: N. Grixti, J. Gabaretta, L. Galea, D. Rizzo, M. Meli 1, B. Cachia, J. Cutajar, M. Mifsud, J. Brownrigg, K. Borg, Z. Mizzi 1, D. Zammit 4, A. Theuma, J. Saliba, J. Gambin.

SAN ĠILJAN: J. Tanti, P. Borg, A. Galea 2, N. Schiavone, R. Caruana, M. Zammit 3, M. Ortoleva, D. Tully, J. Bonavia 2, N. Zammit 1, D. Zammit 2, N. Bugelli 1, G. Vassallo, B. Plumpton 1, D. Fero.

Refs: Massimo Angileri, Ronnie Spiteri.

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