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Malta U-15 go down fighting against the Netherlands at European Championships

MALTA             10

NETHERLANDS             12

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

The Malta U-15 waterpolo national team suffered their first defeat at the European Championships when they went down to the Netherlands 12-10 in Podgorica.

The match turned out into a thrilling affair with both teams separating by tight margins and in the end it was the Dutch who progressed to the quarter-finals.

On the other hand, the Maltese, guided by Jonathan Valletta and Ryan Coleiro, will now be involved in the positional play-offs between the ninth and 16th place and look a good bet for a top 12 placing in the tournament.

In fact, on Thursday, Malta will face Poland in the quarter-finals of the 9-16 positional play-offs.

The first session turned out to be a tight affair with the Dutch taking a slim lead through a goal from Teun Blankenhorst in a man-up set.

Andre Aquilina levelled the scores before Shailon Cutajar Casha put the team in fron for the first time.

Pim Hageman levelled matters and from then on the match turned out to be a ping-pong affair as both teams shared four goals, with Aquilina and Sean Mifsud onthe scoresheet for Malta as the match was locked at four-all when ends were changed.

The third session continued to be a thrilling affair with the Dutch side prevailing in a seven-goal thriller to take a slim 8-7 lead before the start of the final session.

Here, Max Lanzon and Andre Aquilna were on the scoresheet for Malta alongside Shailon Cutajar Casha.

The Dutch scored three times in quick succession at the start of the fourth quarter to move 11-7 ahead.

Cutajar Casha tried to put the Maltese back in the game when netting two goals in less than 30 seconds to bridge the gap to 11-9.

But the Dutch sealed their win when netting their 12th goal with Maltas only response coming from a late Sam Engerer goal but the Netherlands held on to win 12-10.

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