Hockey: Challenge Cup 2016 Results (Nov.2016)

Sunday, November 20, 2016, 12:10

Gavin Muscat

Laferla White Hart   0       Rabat Depiro   1     

Umpires     John Williams   Andre  Ghio

This was a do or die encounter, the winner qualifying for the semi final place along with Lightshop Hotsticks, Young Stars and Qormi Poiatti.   Both teams started at a gallop with White Hart enjoying territorial advantage against a well-marshalled Rabat defence, the latter operating with fast breakaways down the flanks.    By the 12th  minute both teams had squandered penalty corner opportunities, play developing into a mid field battle with close marking not allowing the execution of dangerous moves in the final third of the pitch.   On 29 minutes White Hart were awarded two penalty corners in succession but did not take advantage and Rabat also just missed going ahead on the stroke of half time, the score remaining deadlocked at 0 – 0.

Tactical changes were evident during the course of the second half, White Hart’s David Agius moving from the heart of the defence into a mid field position  to counter Rabat’s direct route to goal by long passes straight into the D.   Play became rather frantic  and errors increased as both teams strove hard to break the opposition’s defence.   On 56 minutes Rabat went into a 1-0 lead when after only the second penalty corner award in their favour Shawn Falzon hit a bullet into the net White Hart who had been on the defensive using counter attacks down the right flank which were proving a danger to the Rabat defence failed to capitalize on a few crosses which went a begging.  On 33 minutes  they were awarded a penalty corner but their effort crept past the far post, the final whistle blowing with Rabat securing their place in the semi final.

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Challenge Cup Semi-Finals

Floriana Young Stars  1  Vs    Qormi Poiatti  0

Umpires: Ray Micallef, Reno Cremona

The game started at a very fast pace with both midfields neutralising each other. It was Qormi who were dangerous in the first five minutes, forcing keeper James Mizzi into a triple save. However, it was the Floriana team who had the first couple of short corners which were ably cleared by the Qormi defence. After 15 mins, the initial frenzied tempo subsided allowing both teams to take a more cautious approach. But with Qormi gaining some territorial advantage, Floriana’s captain Mark Camilleri, managed to ease past Juan Sarcia to set up a mouth watering chance but hit the side netting. Play was then held up in midfield until the final minute of the first half when Floriana were awarded a short corner but again, no clear chance was created.

The second half started on a quiet note. Qormi had to make Mizzi work hard again from a well worked short corner but at the other end Luke Borg Costanzi made Qormi keeper Mifsud save brilliantly in reply. However, from the subsequent action, Young Stars gained another penalty corner. It was the 17th minute and after the initial shot was parried, Nanko Cornellissen converted from the rebound. Qormi reacted but could not create any real danger with the Young Stars defence holding out to keep a clear sheet and gain a place in next Sunday’s Challenge Cup Final.

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Rabat Depiro 1 Vs The Lightshop Hotsticks 4

Umpires: Glen Bonello, Paul Brincat

Rabat and Hotsticks had already met once in the group stage and therefore knew what to expect. There was no reason to believe that Hotsticks would not dominate proceedings again especially since Rabat had their key player Kevin Micallef missing in their line up. However, it was Rabat who had the first short corner but could not get a shot on target.

2 minutes later Hotsticks went ahead when after some nifty passes, Steve Portelli prodded the ball home. In the 14th minute, Hotsticks won their 2nd penalty corner which was easily saved by Rabat goalkeeper Elton Farrugia. Farrugia could not repeat this feat in the 18th minute when Sliema Hotsticks youngster Alessandro Amore, tapped the ball in at the far post, giving Sliema a 2 goal cushion. Rabat could not muster a reaction and The Lightshop Hotsticks got another corner which clipped the post. However, Rabat build a counter attack which resulted in a goal when Charlot Antonelli trapped the ball and slotted home after creating space in a restricted space.

This goal gave Rabat a bit of hope for an equaliser but in their frantic effort, the game deteriorated into a scrappy affair. It was not until midway through the second half that Hotsticks regained their 2 goal cushion when Steve Portelli got his second goal from a shortcorner set piece. From then on, Hotsticks controlled the match and even managed to find a fourth through Ryan Dalli.

The Lightshop Hotsticks now meet Floriana Young Stars on Sunday 20th November in the Challenge Cup Final at 11am at the National Hockey Centre

Sliema Hotsticks -2016-17

 

Floriana Young Stars 2016-17

 





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