An experimental Valletta team, shorn of several thoroughbreds, were off to a positive start when defeating an otherwise none too convincing KS Arkonia, of Poland, 12-2 to make it a positive start in the qualification Round Group D of the 2016-2017 LEN Champions League, yesterday.
From the word go it was obvious that the Poles were not up to it even allowing for the Maltese side’s initial wastefulness, especially on extra-man set-pieces.
Coach Karl Izzo rotated his units diligently throughout the four sessions and his boys all responded well, with spectacular goals coming from nap-hand scorer Matthew Zammit and Jeremy Abela, who netted twice, as did Michael Spiteri Staines.
The other goals came from Zach Mizzi, Miguel and Darren Zammit.
After a low-scoring first session, Valletta upped their striking tempo to make it 5-1 midway through.
By then it was all over as the Polish players had no clue how to unlock the Maltese team’s rearguard who had the steady Nicholas Grixti in goal.
With Valletta 7-1 ahead into the last session more fringe players were introduced including goalkeeper Jake Tanti.
It had long been a stroll for the superior Maltese representative team. However, much sterner tests lie ahead when the team take on Romania’s Steaua Bucharest today and VK Jadran Hercog, of Montenegro, tomorrow.
In yesterday’s opening match from the mini-tournament, VK Jadran Hercog, guided from the bench by Vlado Gojkovic, who figured in Neptunes’ 2011 championship-winning side, beat Steaua Bucharest 9-7.
KS Arkonia 2
(0-1, 1-4, 0-2, 1-5)
KS Arkonia: M. Diakonow, J. Gaczynski, L. Nimac 1, A. Brokmeier, P. Szymanski, K. Walkowiak, P. Lawniczak, K. Lukaszewicz 1, P. Gorczyca, R. Sekula, D. Hamera.
Valletta: N. Grixti, N. Bugelli, E. Aquilina, J. Sciberras, Z. Mizzi 1, Mat. Zammit 5, M. Spiteri Staines 2, K. Griscti, J. Abela 2, Mig. Zammit 1, D. Fenech, D. Zammit 1, J. Tanti.
Referees: V. Miroslav (Croatia), M. Swartz (Israel).
VK Jadran Hercog 9
Steaua Bucharest 7
(2-3, 2-0, 2-2, 3-2)
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