Connect with us


Malta handed ‘wake up call’ as clinical Italy cruise to victory in Christmas Tournament

Jake Muscat (right) looks to hit a shot against Italy. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli



(1-4, 1-7, 3-5, 1-6)

A slick Italian side on Thursday showed Milan Cirovic’s side the size of the task they will face next month in Croatia at the European Championship finals.

It was more of a training session for the Sette Bello at the inaugural match of the Christmas International Tournament, who were under control from start to finish as Malta were unable to cope with their opponents’ speed.

Malta coach Cirovic admitted that this was a wake-up call for the national team.

“Of course, our aim target is not teams like Italy but Israel and Germany. However, the Italians have giving us a taste of what to expect on the last day of the group when we will face Olympic champions Serbia.

“To be honest with you, I didn’t expect such a big difference but we have to admit that the Italians are world class and we are a young side and this group of players has the potential to grow further. We need to train more and work harder if we want to attain our goals, he added.

One cannot dismiss the seasonal element of the game in Malta, which contrasts sharply with the winter schedules on the continent. But Italy were immediately faster, more skilful in their handling and had a clear physical edge, thwarting the Maltese time and again.

Malta had the consolation of scoring twice in the first two sessions.

But beyond that it was a monologue of shots and conversions for Sandro Campagna’s team for whom Andrea Fondelli ended as top scorer with five goals with all Italian players bar Alessandro Velotto managing to put their names on the scoresheet.

The Blues increased their advantage when shading the third session 5-3, when the Maltese responded with three goals coming from Liam Galea, Matthias Azzopardi and Jeremy Abela only for the Italians to go on the rampage in the final quarter.

One could anticipate the superiority of the Italians who went about their business of dismissing the Maltese while stretching their advantage to 17 goals for a final score of 23-6. 

For Malta, Sam Gialanze went down in history books for being the first Maltese player to score at the newly Cottonera Sports Complex.

Malta will face France today who beat the Netherlands 10-8.

MALTA: J. Tanti, A. Fenech, L. Galea 1, M. Castillo, S. Gialanze 1, B. Plumpton, J. Muscat 1, J. Cutajar 1, J. Abela 1, N. Zammit, D. Zammit, N. Bugelli, B, Busuttil, M. Azzopardi 1, J. Cachia.

ITALY: M. Del Lungo, F. Di Fulvio 3, L. Damonte 1, T. Giannazza 3, A. Fondelli 5, G. Cannella 4, M. Iocchi Gratta 1, A. Velotto, N. Presciutti 1, L. Bruni 1, J. Alesiani 2, V. Dolce 2, G. Nicosia.

Refs: M. Angileri, R. Magri.



(1-4, 2-2, 2-1, 3-3)

NETHERLANDS: T. Huijsmans, B. Gradamassi 1, J. Rouwenhorst 2, F. Kastrop 1, G. Van Ijperen 1, T. De May, K. Te Riele 2, J. Nispelling, J. Muller, T. De Weerd 1, J. Koopman, L. Ten Broek 1, J. Westerveld, S. Van Den Burg, J. Van Den Weijden.

FRANCE: A. Hovhannisyan, R. Saudadier, U. Crousillat 2, A. Bouet 3, E. Nardon, T. Vernoux, D. Zivkovic 1, E. Bjorch, M. Marzouki 1, M. Bodegas, P. Vanpeperstraete, A. De Nardi, H. Fontani, C. Canonne, R. Marion Vernoux.

Refs: Alex DeRaffaele, Ronnie Spiteri.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


World Cup News


More in Waterpolo