Neptunes close in on title

Wednesday, September 7, 2011, 10:42

Neptunes Emirates yesterday evening took an important step towards their 20th league title when they beat Sliema McDonalds 15-9 in the third game from the best out of five First Division Final Playoffs series.

Just as Sliema deserved their win two days earlier with a spirited fight against their rivals, Neptunes were yesterday back in the form that saw them dominating the 2011 season and meritedly won the tie with a consistent display of waterpolo. Psychologically it was a tricky fixture for the Reds who had succumbed to their first defeat of the season at such a delicate stage, while Sliema were on a high after continuously giving positive performances over the past couple of weeks that materialised in their important victory 48 hours earlier.

Neptunes responded convincingly, with Ian Bugeja providing more security in goal, Tamas Molnar getting back into his goal scoring vein and Vladimir Gojkovic masterminding the Reds operations. Fatigue seemed to creep into the Sliema ranks as the game , as John Soler and Bogdan Rath, Sliema’s top shooters, were given special attention in defence.

In the first session, both teams seemed to be studying each other’s play and Neptunes went 2-1 up, but the Reds revved up in the second session, with Molnar, Stellini and Lanzon doing most of the damage with Mark Meli, John Soler and Rajmund Fodor responding for Sliema, to change ends at 7-4 in Neptune’s favour.

Neptunes were keen to avoid a repeat of Sunday’s match, and Gojkovic took charge of the Reds to increase the advantage by five goals by the end of the third session (11-6), with Sliema lacking Sunday’s fighting spirit to claw their way back into the game. Spurred on by coach Markoch, the Balluta side kept the pressure on their opponents even though Afric opted for full press tactics in the final eight minutes to stifle his opponent’s initiative . Neptunes closed the affair 15-9, meaning that Sliema need to win tomorrow’s match to force a decider while Neptunes need to win tomorrow to secure the League title.

In the previous match Sirens beat San Giljan 8-6 for the second tie in two days to finish third in the First Division League.

Neptunes 15 – Sliema 9
(2-1, 5-3, 4-2, 4-3)

Neptunes: I. Bugeja, N. Lanzon 2, E. Aquilina, M. Stellini 2, J. Camilleri, B. Lanzon, S. Camilleri 2, V. Gojkovic, 4, B. Buhagiar, S. Gravina, R. Sciortino, T. Molnar 5, M. Pisani.

Sliema: R. Coleiro, J. Gabaretta, N. Lubrano, R. Fodor 2, M. Meli 1, J. Soler 3, D. Paolella 1, M. Rizzo, C. Debono, P. Privitera 1, B. Rath 1, J. Spiteri Staines, D. Abela.

Refs: I. Sciriha, M. Bianchi.

San Ġiljan 6 – Sirens 8
(0-1, 3-3, 2-3, 1-1)

San Ġiljan: D. Camilleri, J.C. Cutajar, Keith Galea, Karl Galea, F. Trajkovic 3, K. Dowling, L. Grixti, A. Bianchi, M. Borg Spiteri, C. Gialanze 1, P. Fava 1, A. Galea 1, K. Schembri.

Sirens: J. Sammut, A. Attard, N. Grixti, P. Borg, C. Kiss 2, R. Mock, J. Borg, D. Cutajar, G. Kristonovic 2, C. Zammit 2, L. Caruana, M. Grech, C. Mercieca 2.

Refs: P. Balzan, S. Licari.


  1. Clyde says:

    when will they play the next two matches?!


    SportInMalta Reply:

    Tomorrow, Thursday at 6:30pm, they play Game 4.
    If Sliema win tomorrow’s game then there will be game 5 on Saturday at 5:15pm


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