MALTA              18

CZECH REPUBLIC           10

(5-3, 6-1, 3-2, 4-4)

A splendid collective showing helped Malta obtain a berth in the U-17 European Championships to be held in Georgia this August.

Having relied heavily on Jake Muscat’s scoring prowess to beat Poland and Switzerland in the opening day, the Maltese youngsters yesterday got their act together against opponents who had not answer to the collective play of Karl Izzo’s side.

It was a fine all-round display for the Maltese youngsters who have assured themselves of a top-two finish with a game to spare.

It was another brisk start as Malta netted five times with the Czechs responding with three goals to stay two in arrears at the end of the first session.

Izzo’s boys clearly held the upperhand in the match.

The basis for this second session’s superiority was Jake Muscat’s sense of anticipation, confirming his all-rounder qualities.

Operating from position no.4, Muscat showed his good blocking abilities and skills in exploiting openings in the offensive phase.

The third session developed into a tighter scoring affair.

Gianni Farrugia, twice and Sebastian Busuttil showed their opportunism when scoring Malta’s goals in the third session.

In the last session, Muscat reminded one and all of his exquisite scoring instincts when he netted a brilliant goal bringing his tally to a staggering 19 in three matches.

Having already gained a berth in European championships, Malta and Greece will today be locked in a prestige tussle to determine the winner of this qualification group.

MALTA: M. Vassallo, J. Farrugia 2, J. Saliba, G. Melillo, M. Carani 2, B. Cachia 1, S. Stellini, S. Busuttil 4, G. Farrugia 3, J. Bonavia 1, M. Chircop 1, J. Muscat 4, M. Rossi.

CZECH REPUBLIC: A. Akmalov, J. Kral, J. Cizek 1, O.Sochar 1, A. Kriz 1, L. Ivanovic, O. Curda 1, F. Kouba 2, J. Parobek 3, V. Holaj, T. Mika 1, T. Spindler, M. Chvojka.

Refs: O. Gribanov, S. Arslanyan.

OTHER RESULT: Poland vs Switzerland 15-8.
STANDINGS: Greece (3-0-0) 9; Malta 3-0-0 9; Switzerland (1-0-2) 3; Poland (1-0-2) 3; Czech Republic (0-0-2) 0.
PLAYING FRIDAY: 6.15pm Czech Republic vs Poland; 7.30pm Greece vs Malta.

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