Neptunes sole leaders after late comeback

Wednesday, June 22, 2011, 10:51

by Sandro Micallef

Neptunes' Stevie Camilleri (white cap), attempting to block Raymund Fodor's shot

Yet another epic encounter took place yesterday evening at Tal-Qroqq, as waterpolo powerhouses Neptunes Emirates and Sliema McDonalds crossed swords for the first time this Summer. Although many expected this to be a low key encounter due to the change in the league’s format, those present were regaled with a high scoring game that could have gone either way towards the end of extra time.

Sliema were by far the better team in the first two sessions, with Neptunes looking nervous and lacking ideas while missing a number of opportunities on man-up situations. The Reds found a solid defence in front of them, with Ryan Coleiro distinguishing himself in the Sliema goal, including a save from a Stevie Camilleri penalty.

Within five minutes Sliema were 3-0 up, with Neptunes finally getting a goal at the end of the first session. Sliema’s Bogdan Rath picked up two fouls in the first session, thus ruling him out for most of the remaining part of the match, but Sliema showed their true spirit in the second session, with Jerome Gabaretta scoring two goals in quick succession to open the doors for his team mates to keep piling on the goals with ease. By the end of the second session the score was 10-4 in Sliema’s favour and few believed in a Neptunes revival.

Marcoch’s half time talk to his players reaped its dividends as the Balluta side scored no less than seven goals in the third session with Sliema only netting one goal. Neptunes replaced their goalkeeper, with the young Sciortino coming in and making some important saves for the Reds. The Sliema players seemed to have lost their speed in this session after their powerful first half, and Neptunes were quick to capitalise to start off the fourth session with an 11-11 scoreline.

Both teams made it a one point game in the final session until Fodor managed to put Sliema in front but Tamas Molnar equalised for Neptunes to send both teams into extra time. Neptunes’ fitness paid off in extra time as they built a two goal advantage through Nicky Lanzon, 18-16, before Fodor made it 18-17 at the end of the first session of extra time. The last three minutes did not produce any goals thus giving Neptunes the top spot in the First Division, with both teams now facing each other again in the Super Cup final on the 5th July.

In the previous match Valletta Dhalia were always in control of the game as they beat Otters Nivea 20-14. The Citizens came out strongly in the first half, opening an eight point advantage which they then administered comfortably in the remaining two sessions. They are now in second place in the Second Division, with the first placed team being Exiles or Marsacala who face each other this evening.

Valletta Dhalia 20Otters Nivea 14
(4-0, 6-2, 5-4, 5-8)

Valletta: A. Sammut, A. Decker 4, M. Camilleri, C. Bonello 2, G. Sammut 1, S. Cachia 1, A. Galea 2, K. Hyzler 1, R. Kovacs 3, S. Cini 2, A. Arrigo, G. Ghirxi 1, T. Agius 3.

Otters: J. Cremona, A. Maklari 4, G. Zammit, Z. Radocz 3, D. Schembri, G. Attard 2, K. Scicluna 1, S. Dimech 1, J.P. Buttigieg 1, G. Tabone, C. Martin 1, P. Martin, K. Grima Scott 1.

Referees: S. Licari, G. Del Bosco.

Neptunes Emirates 18Sliema McDonalds 17 AET
( 1-3, 3-7, 7-1, 4-4 | EXTRA TIME 3-2, 0-0)

Neptunes: I. Bugeja, N. Lanzon 4, E. Aquilina 1, M. Stellini 2, J. Camilleri 2, Z. Mizzi, S. Camilleri 1, V. Gojkovich 2, B. Buhagiar, S. Gravina 2, R. Sciortino, T. Molnar 2, G. Pace, M. Pisani 2.

Sliema: R. Coleiro, J. Gabaretta 3, N. Lubrano 1, R. Fodor 4, P. Privitera 4, J. Soler 1, D. Paolella, J. Brownrigg, C. Debono 1, M. Spiteri Staines, B. Rath 3, J. Spiteri Staines, D. Abela.

Referees: M. Dalli, M. Monnis.

1 Comment

  1. gorg says:

    well done reddss great comeback great game !! this game proves that this is y we r championss :) FOREVER RED :D !! 


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