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Malta beat Turkey to set up play-off for 17th placing against Israel

Malta U-16 to face Israel in the play-off for 17th place. Photo: Timmy Cutugno

TURKEY           4

MALTA            8

(1-2, 1-3, 0-2, 2-1)

A steadily improving Malta atoned for their early mishaps in the World Aquatics Championships and after failing to qualify for the knock-out stages, they will be out today on a second mission in the final for classifications.

The 12-11 defeat against Romania was surely a heartache for the Maltese but it definitely served to enhance their learning curve.

Billed as the small final, the match against Israel, on Monday at 7pm at the Cottonera complex will be valid for the 17th place but it could provide further evidence that the Maltese do have some promising talent emerging.

The sizeable crowd at the Cottonera Complex, must have felt satisfied with the progress of the team after Malta easily disposed of Turkey 8-4.

The match between Malta and Turkey have developed into a rivalry at all levels recently, as both nations are aiming at making inroads in the sport of waterpolo.

Yesterday’s match was no exception with the stands at the newly-built pool filled with supporters of both teams. More than that, the match was a test of character for the boys, if anything for the fact that they were playing against a side that impressed against Ukraine on Saturday.

All boys with no exception merit credit for their effort but the Malta goalkeeper Zak Dzanovic, Max Lanzon who played most of the match with two personal faults hanging, and André Aquilina who sacrificed himself as a pivot deserve a special mention.

Turkey took an early lead through Demir Gulsoy but Malta turned it their way midway through the first session through Philip Tabone and Sam Engerer as they never looked back.

Jonathan Valletta’s boys clearly had the upper hand in the second quarter, courtesy of three goals coming from Shailon Cutajar Casha, Pawly Neame and Engerer.

The basis for this second session’s superiority was the locals’ particularly good blocking and their ability to exploit openings in the offensive phase.

The third session developed in a highly-contest affair. Nevertheless, Max Lanzon, and Cutajar Casha extended Malta’s lead to five goals. So, it was 7-2 with one session to go.

With the hosts comfortably in the lead and with time running out for the Turks, the locals showed more intent on utilising possession period to the full. Lanzon made it 8-2 courtesy of a five-metre throw, before the visitors made the result more respectable for them.

TURKEY: D. Kaleagasi, E. Turan 1, Y. Balkanli 1, S. Ozkan, D. Gulsoy 1, D. Canoglu, B. Yildiz, b. Kutlu, C. Tahhusoglu, D. Pekcanli 1, E. Moroglu, E. Altay, M. Hugul.

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

Referees: H. Gaber (Egypt), R. Koryzna (Poland).

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