Sirens pipped Exiles in a close encounter yesterday to obtain a one-goal advantage in the first of a two-match play-off, while Neptunes were too good for Valletta in the other quarter-final.
Exiles took most of their chances in the opening session, as they combined well with accurate and deadly finishing, scoring twice before Sirens pulled one back for a 2-1 first-session lead.
Sirens managed to turn the result in their favour when scoring twice but Exiles soon regained some sort of momentum to net twice in succession and take a
4-3 lead before ends were changed.
In the third session, Nicolas Bicari restored the equilibrium when drilling in from 10 metres to keep the match well poised before the final quarter.
It was tit-for-tat now as both teams annulled each other’s efforts when they shared four goals before Jacob Sciberras provided the final salvo when netting the winner.
Earlier, Neptunes took the Citizens by storm in the first match of the day to defeat them fairly and squarely to the tune of 15-6.
The undoubted skills of Petar Muslim, Stevie and Jordan Camilleri were distinct factors which helped the team, guided by assistant coach Nenad Navarin, on for the suspended Jovan Popovic, to an easy victory.
The presence of three-goal Marthon Toth in the Valletta’s ranks did very little to contain the vastly superior opponents who scored at will.
After conceding a first goal in the second session, when Valletta closed the gap to 2-1, the Reds shrugged off their easy-going approach to go into full throttle and take an 8-2 lead before ends were changed.
With Muslim and Jordan Camilleri supplying the craft, as well as the bulk of goals when each scoring four times, Neptunes stretched their advantage to 12-3 before the last session.
Although there was a slump in Neptunes’ scoring rate in the fourth quarter, they still held Valletta at an arm’s length.
NEPTUNES LEO VEGAS 15
VALLETTA VIDEOSLOTS 6
(2-0, 6-2, 4-1, 3-3)
Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon, K. Ergodan, G. Pace 2, P. Muslim 4, S. Camilleri 3, J. Camilleri 4, J. Abela 1, M. Zammit, J. Muscat, M. Azzopardi 1, J. Parnis.
Valletta: R. Sciortino, J. Spiteri Staines, A. Agius, M. Mifsud 2, T. Agius, R. Mock, D. Paolella, M. Toth 3, N. Bonello Ghio, C. Zammit 1, N. Farrugia, L. Gialanze, M. Lanzon.
Referees: Massimo Angileri, Fabio Riciotti.
EXILES ELIA CATERERS 6
SIRENS GREENTUBE 7
(2-1, 2-2, 0-1, 2-3)
Exiles: M. Castillo, M. Fenech 3, A. Bianchi, M. Stellini 1, T. Sullivan, S. Xerri de Caro, S. Nikic 1, K. Griscti, N. Paris 1, A. Cousin, B. Lanzon, P. Paris, G. Ciappara.
Sirens: N. Grixti, P. Privitera, E. Aquilina, N. Bicari 1, M. Grech 2, I. Riolo. C. Mercieca 1, J. Sciberras 1, J. Napier, G. Sammut, L. Caruana 1, J. Brownrigg 1, G. Galea Curmi.
Referee: Mario Dalli, Alessandro Severo.
PLAYING TODAY: First Division play-offs, first leg – 6.15pm Marsaxlokk; Ta’ Xbiex; 7.30pm Marsaskala vs Otters.
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