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Malta U-19 end Euro waterpolo championship qualifiers with perfect record

Dean Bugeja shoots at goal against Bulgaria. Photo: Timmy Cutugno

BULGARIA       10

MALTA            16

The Malta U-19 waterpolo national team overcame the challenge of Bulgaria to complete their qualifying campaign in style with a perfect record and confirm their passage to the continental finals in some style.

Niki Lanzon’s side entered into Sunday’s match with their qualification spot already assured after their victories over Slovakia (15-7), and Poland (11-4) had assured them of finishing at the top of Group C.

Alec Fenech was again Malta’s leading scorer with five goals.

But still, the Maltese youngsters were determined to complete their commitments with a perfect record and made their intentions clear right from the outset.

They quickly seized control of the match when they raced to a 3-0 lead courtesy of goals from Jake Cachia, Max Zammit and Alec Fenech. In between, Jayden Cutajar had an effort from the penalty tpot coming off the post.

However, Cutajar made amends late in the session to make it 4-1.

The second session was more balanced as both teams hit the target ten times between them.

The Maltese kept their advantage hitting the target five times through Alec Fenech, from a man-up set, Jake Cachia, Enrico Mallia, Zak Cutajar Licari and Julian Valletta to change the ends 9-5 ahead.

In the third session, the Maltese maintained control with Jake Cachia and and an Alec Fenech helping the team to start the final session 11-8 ahead.

Malta stepped up the accelerator in the final session, hitting the target five times through Alec Fenech twice, Dean Bugeja, Julian Valletta and a penalty converted by Julian Chircop.

MALTA: Z. Dzanovic, L. Mallia, J. Chircop 2, J. Chircop 1, J. Cachia 3, D. Bugeja 1, M. Zammit, J. Cutajar 1, E. Mallia 1, K. Borg, A. Fenech 5, S. Livori.

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