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Malta U-16s go down fighting against tournament favorites Greece

The Malta U-16 national team trying to close all avenues for the Greek players. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier



(2-0, 2-1, 2-1, 2-2)

Malta’s last act in the group stages of the World Aquatics turned out to be an honourable performance, never mind a defeat at the hands of a higher-ranked team, Greece on Thursday.

The 8-4 scoreline reflected a battling display from Malta who lived up to its billing of a good standing in the world ranking list.

The only blemish for the Maltese in this tournament was the 12-11 defeat at the hands of Romania, a result which was probably due to inexperience.

Out of the equation for a place in the knock out stages, Malta will now be involved in the positional play-offs when they face Mexico at the Cottonera Sports Complex at 7pm.

Greece lifted off strongly. Dimitrios Chatzis powered in from the centre after winning the ball at the first swim up, before IIias Angelopoulos double the lead from close range to make it 2-0, an advantage which was maintained till the end of the first session.

Thomas Fenech halved the deficit at the start of the second session.

Malta could only keep up with the Greeks until midway in the second quarter, when Dimitrios Sarros restored the opponents’ two-goal cushion.

A minute before the end of the session, Zak Dzanovic was caught out by a lob shot from his Greek counterpart that arched over the Malta goalie’s head and into the net.

To make matters worse, referee Sergio Giroldo annulled an equally potent shot by Sam Engerer, judging that the Maltese player took the throw without lifting the ball from the water.

Miguel Cassar was effectively marked out when he ventured into the centre as Andreas Fava was excluded in the middle of the third session after three personal faults.

Jonathan Valletta’s men battled on and were still with the chance of a positive result till midway the third session. Greece then, made their class tell.

Still the Maltese kept battling and scored twice in the last session through Engerer and Andre Aquilina.

GREECE: D. Berdes 1, L. Angelopoulous 3, S. Zouzounis, O. Karatzas, A. Leonidakis, E. Lampatos, D. Chatzis 2, K. Patsilinakos, D. Raptis, D. Sarros 2, K. Bitsakos, A. Pimplis, P. Portokalis.

MALTA: Z. Dzanovic, M. Lanzon , T. Fenech 1 , A. Aquilina 1, S. Cutajar Casha,  M. Cassar, S. Mifsud, S. Engerer 2, J. Pawley Neame, J. Borg Tabone, A. Fava, P. Tabone , Z. Attard.

Refs F. Giroldo, S. Jimenez.

Other result: Romania vs Kazakhstan 12-10

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