SOUTH AFRICA 8
(3-4, 5-3, 5-1, 2-0)
The Malta waterpolo national team recovered from a slow start to ease past South Africa 15-8 in the World Cup Division Two semi-finals tournament in Berlin, Germany.
Niki Lanzon’s men were coming into the match on the back of two damaging defeats to hosts Germany and China on Friday.
But on Saturday, the players turned on the style as they came from behind to beat the South Africans and assure themselves of finishing third in Group A.
The South Africans had started fast out of the blocks as they raced into a two-goal lead through Sven Van Zyl and a Jonathan Swanepoel penalty.
The Maltese finally started to show signs of improvement, and after missing a double man-up set, the team finally managed to hit the scoresheet with two quick goals from Liam Galea to level matters.
Dane Tucker and Maqoba Bungabe restored the South Africans’ two-goal advantage before Dino Zammit pulled a goal back for Malta from a penalty.
Malta continued to trail their opponents early in the second session as the South Africans raced to a 6-3 lead.
But here, Malta started to fight back as goals from Jeremy Abela, Benjamin Cachia and Nikolai Zammit saw the team restore parity at 6-6.
The Maltese suddenly grew in stature and managed to change ends 8-7 ahead thanks to a brace from Sam Gialanze.
The third session was dominated by the Maltese side who managed to find the net five times through Nikolai Zammit, Ben Plumpton, Nicholas Bugelli, Mark Castillo and Liam Galea to put the team in a commanding 13-8 lead.
The South Africans looked to have run out of steam and Malta managed to seal the win with two more goals in the final quarter through Sam Gialanze and Benjamin Cachia.
Malta will now be back in action on Sunday when they will be involved in the positional play-offs.
MALTA: J. Tanti 1, M. Castillo 1, L. Galea 3, N. Bugelli 1, S. Gialanze 3, B. Cachia 2, B. Plumpton 1, J. Camilleri, J. Abela 1, N. Zammit 2, M. Mifsud, D. Zammit 1, M. Castillo.
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