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Resilient Malta U-16 wear down South Africa

The Malta U-16 overcome South Africa on Saturday. Photo: Timmy Cutugno



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

Malta chalked up a second successive victory with a diligent display resulting into a 16-9 victory over South Africa.

It was an improved Malta which had the lads summoning oxygen and diligence thanks mainly to the inspiration of Sam Engerer, a near faultless performance from Zak Dzanovic and fine scoring opportunism mainly from Shailon Cutajar Cassar and Sean Mifsud.

Malta gradually wore down their opponents mentally to end on top note especially after showing South Africa a pair of heels in the last session which they won 5-1.

South Africa took an early lead but Malta turned it their way 13 seconds from time.

Goals at both ends brought the first session to a close with a pyrotechnical 4-4 scoreline. The Maltese coped admirably with the psychological pressure, especially at one point when the South Africans went two goals up.

Early in the second session, South Africa slowed the pace and Malta profited to take a two-goal lead through Max Lanzon and Sam Engerer. The lead was trimmed down to 6-5.

Still they could not shrug off their uneasiness in front of Zak Dzanovic and Malta’s gritty resistance made life difficult. Engerer restored Malta’s two-goal cushion before Jamie Borg Tabone netted for 8-5 at the end of the second session. That was a definite turning point of the match.

Goals were again plentiful in the third session as Malta kept their advantage hitting three times through Engerer, Sean Mifsud and Shailon Cutajar Casha.

In the last quarter, the Maltese grew taller as five-metre throw from Cutajar Casha, a diagonal shot from Engerer and two goals from Mifsud sealed the issue.

South African goalkeeper Michael Mafunda was in splendid form, pulling off excellent saves to deny Engerer and Cutajar Casha from the five-metre distance.

Nevertheless, the hosts ended on top note to win the part of the game convincingly for a deserved victory.

Malta will play Turkey on Sunday at the Cottonera Sports Complex, starting at 7pm.

SOUTH AFRICA: M. Mafunda. A. Barrett 2, T. Willaims, C. Haworth 1, T. Young 2, D. Fisher, B. Bigara, T. Pasqualle, N. Reiback, M. Fenn 3, C. Malumbete, M. Cross 1, T. Aylward.

MALTA: Z. Dzanovic, M. Lanzon 2, T. Fenech, A. Aquilina , S. Cutajar Casha 3, M. Cassar , S. Mifsud 4, S. Engerer 5, J. Pawley Neame , J. Borg Tabone 2, A. Fava, P. Tabone , Z. Attard, B. Lewis.

Refs A. Mustata (Romania.), S. Vaultz (USA).

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