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Malta U-17 girls off to winning start at European Championships



(5-3, 2-0, 5-4, 3-0)

The Malta U-17 girls’ national team were off to an impressive start at the European Championship finals as they beat Switzerland 15-7 in their opening match in Manisa on Sunday.

Anna Goncharenko’s girls produced a strong display against the Swiss as Maltese players were at their clinical best to punish their opponents and ease home to a comfortable victory.

Skipper Zaira Bartolo and Nadya Azzopardi were Malta’s leading scorers with four goals each with Elisa Amato following just behind after netting a hat-trick.

The Maltese were off to a fine start and managed to force their opponents to concede four penalties in the opening session which were all converted by Bartolo twice, Azzopardi and Elya Schembri with the other goal coming from the same Azzopardi from a man-up set to take a 5-3 lead.

In the second session, the Maltese managed to shut up shop to their opponents as they managed a clean sheet before adding two more goals through Chloe Amato and Elisa Amato to change ends 7-3 ahead.

The Maltese girls made a decisive push towards victory in the third session when they managed to find their opponents’ net five times through Nadya Azzopardi (2), Elisa Amato, Zaira Bartolo and Kaylen Cutajar to move 12-7 ahead.

The match was as good as over in the final session with Malta adding three more goals through Eyla Schembri, Elisa Bartolo and Elisa Amato for a comfortable 15-7 win.

Malta will be back in action on Monday when they face group favourites Slovakia. On Sunday, the Slovak side thrashed 12-4.

MALTA: Kelise Agius, Nadya Azzopardi 4, Elisa Amato 3, Chloe Amato 1, Ezmily Mifsud, Elise Gatt, Zea Cutajar Licari, Jorjii Sky Stellini Wiedersum, Kaylen Cutajar 1, Eyla Schembri 2, Z. Bartolo 4, Giulia Zammit, Joelys Sammut.

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