Win and loss for Maltese Hockey team

Thursday, July 23, 2015, 16:50

 

Gavin Muscat

Lithuania   4   Malta 2

Prior to the start of the game a minute silence was observed for the memory of our late secretary Anthony Tabone as directed by the European Hockey Federation.

Lithuania started briskly winning the first penalty corner in the 7th minute which Ramon Chircop pushed away.  A period of balanced play followed with the home team enjoying slight territorial advantage through their control of the midfield.     Malta settled down and just missed scoring from a penalty corner in the 13th minute.   After Lithuania did not avail themselves of a penalty corner award two minutes later Malta took the lead in the 21st minute when John Williams popped up in the right position to shoot Malta 1-0 ahead a lead which they held until the change of ends.

Fortunes changed at the start of the second half when Lithuania scored two goals in the space of 4 minutes taking advantage of two penalty corner awards.    They then adopted a defensive stance using the long ball as a means to counter attack.     Malta failed to convert a penalty corner in the 61st minute when the Lithuanian custodian saved a Mark Camilleri effort.

Malta then gave away a soft goal when they failed to clear their lines and were punished by a shot from the left side of the D.  Four minutes from time they went 4-1down when Lithuania made full use of a long ball beating Malta’s custodian in a one on one situation.     A minute from time Juan Sarcia reduced the arrears.

 

The Maltese Hockey team before the match against Lithuania

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Malta 5 – Finland 1

Both teams sized each other up in the first ten minutes with play flowing from end to end. Finland drew first blood in the 10th minute taking advantage of a mistaken clearance netting with a crisp volley from the edge of the D. Three minutes later John Williams went close when he hooked a cross from the right just past the post.

Malta drew level in the 15th minute when Justin Bonello pushed home from close range after a melee inside the D. After not availing themselves of a penalty corner, Malta increased their game tempo and from another penalty corner action Jonathan Borg snapped up a rebound to shoot Malta into a 2 -1 lead. Another penalty corner award in the 32nd minute saw Malta go further ahead when Juan Sarcia hit an exquisite shot into the corner, the halftime whistle blowing soon after with Malta 3-1 ahead.

The second half was dominated by Malta with first Justin Bonello and then Steve Portelli just missing the target, the latter from two difficult positions. After another batch of near misses Malta finally scored their fourth goal when Shaun Grima netted. Steve Tanti added to Malta’s tally two minutes before the final whistle blew to give Malta a well deserved 5-1 victory.

Malta will now meet Cyprus in the last Qualification match, with every chance of making it to the semi-finals. Lithuania has already qualified with their own 3-0 win against Cyprus in the other qualifying match today.





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