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Valletta come up short against prolific Zaibas



(3-7, 3-0,1-5, 4-3)

Valletta found EVK Zaibas of Lithuania beyond their reach when the two teams face each other in Friday’s second match of the LEN Challenger Cup Group D qualifying round.

Still, Milan Cirovic’s side must be complimented for their honest challenge when in possession. In the second session, they managed to come within touching distance when they reduced the deficit to just one goal.

But that is as far as they could get as the Lithuanians’ scoring momentum could not be halted.

Malta were off to a tottering start when the Lithuanian side built a commanding lead at the end of the first session.

The superior technical and physical skills of the visitors were evident in the very beginning of the match.

The 7-3 lead, with Jan Bakulo scoring a hat-trick and Marko Jelaca netting a brace, was whittled down to just one goal in the second quarter when Cirovic’s side changed gear and shifted to tighter press.

Sam Gialanze twice reduced the leeway before Alec Fenech made it 6-7 at the end of the second session.

Valletta’s ascendancy took a nose-dive in the third session.

The visitors started piling up the goals again, mostly through their exceptional Jelaca, who struck six times yesterday.

It looked as if Malta would not survive the onslaught against the power and the stifling press tactics of their opponents.

The Georgian player, formerly of Otters and Exiles, made it 13-7 at the start of the fourth session.

There was a ray of hope when three goals without reply through Galea, Fenech and Zammit cut the leeway to just three goals.

But Valletta failed to capitalise on that and in the end, suffered two more goals before Zammit made it a final 15-11.

VALLETTA: J. Tanti, D. Bugeja, L. Galea 3, M. Castillo, S. Gialanze 2, B. Cachia 1, A. Fenech 2, J. Bonavia, J. Abela, N. Zammit 3, D. Zammit, N. Bugelli, N. Grixti.

EVK ZAIBAS: S. Motuzas, D. Vitkauskas, V. Voitenko, J. Gostautas, R. Jakutis, M. Jelaca 6, A. Jonkus 2, I. Prekogacic 1, D. Gervickas, L. Bosic 1, L. Andrejaitis, J. Bakulo 5, K. Csoma.

Refs: Luis Alves (Portugal), Rok Vehovec (Slovenia)




(7-0, 8-1, 5-0, 5-2)

ENKA: B. Banda, E. Kuloglu 2, S. Can, C. Ozbakis 1, T. Ergin 1, B. Alkan 2, E. Yenigun 2, M. Yutmaz 2, H. Duzenli 4, C. Kolomvos 4, E. Kahraman 2, P. Obradovic 5.

KVT KOMODOR: M. Dimitrov, G. Surchaliev, B. Vuchkov, K. Manasiev, V. Ganchev 1, P. Pelov 1, A. Kamenov, D. Totev, K. Uzunov 1, M. Ivanov, B. Trayanov, K. Manasiev 1, T. Semikov

Refs: Peter Radic (Slovakia), Filippou Polydoros (Cyprus).

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