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Watch: Impressive Malta sink Slovenia to secure best ever result at Euros

Karl Izzo’s team to face Germany in play-off for 13th place

MALTA            13

SLOVENIA       9

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

The Malta waterpolo national team secured an impressive win over Slovenia to secure themselves their best ever placing at a European Championship after securing a 13-9 victory in Split.

Karl Izzo’s men were on their game right from the outset as they outplayed their more-quoted opponents with their fast swimming and precision shooting to assure themselves of finishing in 14th-place at the continental finals – their best ever result attained since their first participation in Belgrade.

Malta’s best ever finish in a European championship was when they beat Turkey to place 15th in Belgrade in 2016.

Matthew Zammit scores Malta’s opener from a penalty.

Dino Zammit was Malta’s leading scorer with a hat-trick while Ben Plumpton, Liam Galea, Nicholas Bugelli and Matthew Zammit scored a brace with the other goals coming from Andreas Galea and James Gambin.

The Maltese outfit will now be in action on Tuesday when they face Germany in the play-off for 13th and 14th at 10.30am.

Ben Plumpton doubles Malta’s lead.

 Malta enjoyed a very strong start to against the Slovenians as they surged into a two-goal lead courtesy of a Matthew Zammit penalty conversion and Ben Plumpton’s firm drive.

Jan Justin pulled a goal back for the Slovenians from a man-up set but James Gambin soon restored Malta’s two-goal lead.

James Gambin grabs Malta’s third goal.

But Justin struck again at the death to leave the Maltese with a one-goal lead at the end of the first session.

Plumpton missed the chance of restoring Malta’s two-goal lead and the Slovenians quickly punished them as Jasa Lah made it 3-3.

But the Maltese kept threatening and Liam Galea concluded a fine transition to put his team back to front.

Liam Galea scores Malta’s fourth goal.

The Slovenians soon hit back as Aleksandar Cerar made it 4-4.

Matthew Zammit won a penalty with just 30 seconds left and Dino Zammit made no mistake but the Slovenians had the final say Jasa Kadivec struck from a man-up as both teams were locked at 5-5 at the interval.

Dino Zammit converts a penalty.

Malta started well the third session as Bugelli was at the heart of a quick counter-attack and Dino Zammit rammed home.

Dino Zammit strikes again against Slovenia

The Slovenians looked rattled and the Maltese punished their opponents with another quick break as Plumpton made it 7-5.

Matej Nastran put the Slovenians one goal behind with a firm strike from six metres before Jasa Kadivec again restored parity from a man-up set.

Ben Plumpton converts a swift transition.

It was tit-for-tat with Liam Galea putting the Maltese back in front and Matic Rahne responding for the Slovenians.

It was all to play for in the final session and Nicholas Bugelli put Malta ahead with a shot from a close angle.

Liam Galea scores from close in.

Tanti was holding firm in goal and the Maltese surged two goals ahead with a quick break concluded by Dino Zammit.

Nicholas Bugelli scores Malta’s ninth goal.

Malta’s fast swimming was proving too much for the Slovenians as from another break Matthew Zammit put his team in a commanding 11-8 lead.

Dino Zammit scores again against Slovenia.

The Slovenians looked down and out as Liam Galea struck from another lightning transition as Malta were all but home.

Matthew Zammit grabs Malta’s 11th goal against Slovenia

Martin Stele pulled one back for the Slovenians but Bugelli put the seal to his team’s victory.

Andreas Galea scores Malta’s 12th goal.

MALTA: J. Tanti, S. Gialanze, A. Galea 1, J. Gambin 1, D. Zammit, M. Zammit 2, B. Plumpton 2, N. Bugelli 2, J. Abela, N. Zammit, L. Galea 2, D. Zammit 3, N. Grixti.

Andreas Galea scores Malta’s 13th goal.

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