Sliema and Neptunes continued where they left off last week when they registered victories over Exiles (7-4) and Valletta (13-7) respectively in yesterday’s ninth round of the winter league.
By the end of the day the Blues had made sure of contesting the play-off for the title against holders San Giljan at the end of the month.
But for a three-goal spell in the second session Sliema may not have had it all their own way against an Exiles side that displayed good organisation at given moments in the game.
However, that second quarter breather for Bogdan Rath’s team was enough for the Blues to gain the points they needed in their bid to win the contest.
In the end they emerged comfortable if not emphatic winners as Zach Mizzi scored a brace to add to the goal netted by each of their other five players, with Timmy Sullivan hitting a hat-trick for Exiles.
Buoyed by nap-hand scorer Jordan Camilleri and Jeremy Abela’s hat-trick Neptunes proved to be too good for Valletta.
The latter could only offer the opportunism of centre Ryan Mock, scorer of three goals, as the two sides faced each other in the second match of the day.
The Reds again showed knowhow and staying power against opponents who scored six goals during sets in which they also had to content with 11 expulsions.
By contrast, the City team managed three out of five conversions when they had a numerical advantage. When Sean Gravina was red-carded midway in the third session, the presence of the emerging Mathias Azzopardi for longer periods did not in any way rock the boat of the Balluta side whose victory had long been secured.
(2:1, 0-3, 2-2, 0-1)
Exiles: M. Castillo, J. Rizzo Naudi, J. Bajada, M. Stellini 1, T. Sullivan 3, S. Xerri De Castro, D. Borg Millo, K. Griscti, N. Paris, A. Bianchi, S. Apap, L. Felice, S. Galea Pace.
Sliema: R. Coleiro, J. Gabarretta 1, E. Aquilina, C. Cluett, M. Meli 1, K. Dowling 1, M. Spiteriu Staines 1, M. Mifsud, A. Mifsud, A. Attard, Z. Mizzi 2, N. Bugelli 1, Z. Sciberras.
Referees: Mario Dalli, Alex DeRaffaele.
(1-2, 1-4, 4-3, 1-4)
Valletta: R. Sciortino, J. Spiteri Staines, A. Agius, M. Rizzo 1, M. Fenech 1, R. Mock 3, D. Paolella, N. Bonello Ghio, M. Cordina 1, D. Fenech 1, K. Galea, M. Agius, F. Buhagiar.
Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon 1, K. Erdogan, J. Culic, T. Agius 2, M. Tabone, S. Gravina 1, J. Camilleri 5, J. Abela 3, M. Zammit, M. Martellacci, M. Azzopardi 1, I. Bugeja.
Referees: Massimo Angileri, Ronnie Spiteri.
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