(2-2, 2-2, 2-2, 4-1)
Malta’s Under-19 waterpolo national team kicked off their positional playoffs on Thursday with a win against Georgia in Podgorica. This means they now face the Netherlands once again, this time in another positional playoff for the ninth or tenth place.
It was largely a balanced affair with both sides ruing missed chances as goalkeepers played a vital part in proceedings, stopping numerous shots from both ends.
Georgia took the lead in the second minute of the game through Giorgi Kiriakidi before Malta captain Jake Bonavia scored a stunning equaliser from distance three minutes later, a deserved way back into the game after holding most of possession in the opening stages of the game.
However, lack of clinical finishing gave room for Georgia to go back ahead with four minutes left in the first quarter as Davit Chkheidze hit a shot that was too strong for goalkeeper Andrew Bugeja to stop.
Malta’s reply came from a five-metre shot by Gianni Farrugia that slammed the upright before going in.
A flurry of efforts hitting the posts characterised the rest of the quarter as both sides went to regroup all square at 2-2.
Malta finally took their first lead after patient play to look for an opening, before the ball was led to Mark Castillo who fired into the net in the second minute of the second session.