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San Ġiljan beat Neptunes on penalties after enthralling contest

San Ġiljan's Jake Bonavia looks for an opening against Neptunes. Photo: Michael Paris

Neptunes were made to pay the penalty as San Ġiljan had the last laugh at the expense of their arch-rivals in a dramatic penalty shoot-out which was resolved on 12-11 in their favour after the match ended in an 8-all draw.

The Reds were on a rehabilitation mission when they locked horns with their sporting rivals San Ġiljan in Tuesday’s big clash of the crossover.

At least, Neptunes managed to arrest their unexpected freefall of late.

As a result of the drawn match, rather than earning a point each, new regulations set out a penalty shootout to determine a winner. But that is the law of the sport and San Ġiljan will relish another victory over their arch-rivals.

Yet Neptunes duly summoned their aggressive mindset to make their opponents fight for their spoils, however, deserved they were.

The duel was not of the highest order but typical between these two giants of the local game.

For most of the game, San Ġiljan looked to be the better side but Neptunes, on their part, are to be commended for coming back to draw level at the end.

The fans and team mentors of both sides uttered some acrimonious feelings as they thought they had the rough edge of the referees’ decisions.

In the first session, San Ġiljan forged ahead with Matthew Zammit before the lead alternated with Neptunes 2-1 ahead with goals from Sam Gialanze and Jake Muscat.

In a low-scoring second session, Nico Schiavone had the teams changing ends on 2-2.

At the start of the third session, Neptunes earned a penalty when Russell Caruana, called for an exclusion, failed to swim into the cage. Steve Camilleri converted the five-metre throw to give Neptunes the upperhand.

Jeremy Abela and Ben Plumpton edged their team in front 4-3 before Dmitrii Kholod drew level.

The Saints replied with two goals by Russell Caruana and Nikolai Zammit to take a two-goal lead before the last session started.

It was everything to play for in the final quarter, especially after Camilleri scored to make it 6-5. Plumpton restored San Ġiljan’s two-goal cushion before Kholod put Neptunes’ back in contention.

Neptunes’ player Jake Muscat tries to shoot the ball past San Ġiljan goalkeeper Jake Tanti. Photo: Michael Paris

Kholod saved his best for last as he netted his third goal to equalise.

Matthew Zammit woke up to his responsibilities edging his team in front on 8-7. Camilleri responded with an equaliser 24 seconds from time.

Plumpton was dismissed on an apparent act of brutality and what seemed to be a justified penalty appeal for Neptunes but it went unheeded by the referee.

Drama was extended to a penalty shoot-out with Jake Tanti blocking Alec Fenech’s penalty.

In another match, Sirens collected all the spoils against Birżebbuġa after their 12-6 victory, a result which leaves the latter team rooted to the bottom of the Premier Division and Sirens consolidating third spot.



BARRACUDAS: C. Bugeja, C. Bugeja 1, N. Farrugia, P. Micallef, W. Ruggier, R. Scriotino 1, J. Schembri, S. Apap, M. Guidi 1, A. Mifsud 1, L. Pursehouse, C. Borg, C. Saliba 2, T. Camilleri.

EXILES: Z. Dzanovic, Z. Licari Cutajar 2, Z. Micallef 1, D. Pace Lupi 1, M. Martellacci 2, D.Gogov 7, K. Griscti 5, N. Paris, K. Tanti, N. Bonavia, M. Fenech, N. Saliba 1, G. Galea Curmi, M. Paris

Refs N. Mercieca, A. Rovandi.



(13-12 on penalties)

(1-2, 1-0, 4-2, 2-4)

Penalty Sequence: S. Camilleri (N) scored; M. Zammit (SG) scored; Kholod (N) scored; J. Bonavia (SG) scored; J. Muscat (N) scored; A. Younger (SG) scored; A. Fenech (N) saved; N. Bugelli (SG) scored; S. Gialanze (N) scored; N. Zammit (SG) scored.

SAN ĠILJAN: J. Tanti, N. Bugelli , D. Tully, R. Caruana 1, A. Younger , M. Zammit 2, J. Bonavia, B. Plumpton 2, J. Abela 1, N. Zammit 1 , D. Zammit, N. Schiavone 1, G. Borg, G. Bonavia .

NEPTUNES: A. Borg Cole, D. Kholod 3, S. Gialanze 1, G. Pace, J. Camilleri, L. Mallia, S. Camilleri 3, M. Castillo, J. Muscat 1, J. Bajada, A. Fenech, E. Mallia, M. Rossi D. Bugeja.

Refs: M. Angilleri, A. Barretta.



(6-2, 3-2, 3-1, 2-1)

BIRŻEBBUĠIA: M. Sladden, M. Aquilina , N. Cassar, B. Grech 2, S. Bezzina, M. Manara, A. Barroso 4, M. Cassar , I. Galea, M. Cutajar, G. Mannino, M. Curmi, S. Livori, D. Incorvaja

SIRENS: I. Schembri, P. Serracino, J. Chircop , P. Borg 1, J. Cachia 3, K. Agius, D. Merkulov 5, I. Riolo 2, J. Zerafa Gregory , G. Farrugia , M. Sciberras , M. Azzopardi 3, J. Parnis, M.Ortoleva.

Refs: A. Rovandi, P. Balzan.

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