Valletta McDonald’s and Ta’ Xbiex Amigos got off to their first win of the season yesterday when they had the better of Exiles Jet Freight and Otters Nivea 13-8 and 11-9, respectively.
In the Premier Division clash Valletta displayed a more varied and effective brand of waterpolo which was translated into a comfortable five-goal victory margin.
They had their opponents chasing the scoreline all the way even if their extra-man statistics of five on nine compared unfavourably with Exiles’ readings which had them scoring five on six.
However, Dorian Pisani’s team could not exploit the power of centre Milos Vukicevic. He was constantly shadowed in the hole and was also unable to earn expulsions in his team’s favour.
Stephen Rizzo’s City team started confidently, taking a 3-1 opening session lead with a brace coming from Russian Dmitrii Kholod, eventually scorer of a hat-trick, with evergreen veteran Charlie Zammit scoring twice as did Michael Spiteri Staines.
It was then the turn of Michael Cordina to surface as an important goal-getter, his three goals confirming his striking skills.
Exiles could only limit the deficit, with eight of their players figuring on the scorers’ list, including a last-gasp goal from Vukicevic.
In the First Division match, Ta’ Xbiex were a better outfit as they led all the way, at times with four or five goals.
The tide started flowing their way right from the beginning as Edward Meli opened his four-goal tally followed by Adam Maklari who netted a hat-trick.
Ta’ Xbiex won the first three sessions to take a 9-5 advantage only to concede the last quarter 4-1 and thus allow the Gozitan side to make it a more respectable scoreline, thanks mainly to four-goal Marko Jelaka.
Ta’ Xbiex 11
(1-3, 2-3, 2-4, 4-1)
Otters: R. Bonnici, M. Borg Millo, R. Greco 1, L. Hyzler, K. Scicluna, D. Dimech, G. Mizzi 1, M. Jelaka 4, S. Dimech 1, G. Debono, M. Borg 1, L. Peric 1, M. Xerri.
Ta’ Xbiex: J. Tanti, A. Maklari 3, A. Camenzuli 1, B. Grech, E. Meli 4, J. Zerafa Gregory 2, M. Mifsud, D. Schembri, G. Attard, D. Fenech, R. Attard, A. Sammut 1, J. Micallef.
Referees: A. Goncharenko, M. Cataldi.
(3-1, 2-2, 3-2, 5-3)
Valletta: R. Sciortino, J. Spiteri Staines, A. Agius, M. Rizzo, A. Mifsud 1, R. Mock 1, D. Paolella, D. Spiteri, M. Cordina 3, C. Zammit 2, D. Kholod 3, A. Zarb Cousin 1, M. Spiteri Staines 2.
Exiles: I. Bugeja, J. Rizzo Naudi, S. Vassallo, D. Pace Lupi 1, D. Borg Millo 1, E. Gravina 1, S. Gravina 1, K. Griscti 1, N. Paris 1, A. Bianchi 1, L. Felice, M. Vukicevic 1, K. Lanzon.
Referees: S. Licari, F. Brasiliano.
Division One: 16.45 Marsascala Nutrition Empire vs Marsaxlokk Fischer.
Premier Division: 18.00 Neptunes Gri-maldi vs Sirens Ritter Sport; 19.15 San Ġiljan Salini vs Sliema Betsson.
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