SAN ĠILJAN 8
(1-2, 3-1, 2-2, 3-3)
Neptunes’ youngsters raised their game to strike a psychological blow on their rivals on the eve of the new season when they won the Enemed Cup in dramatic fashion.
Early days these may be in waterpolo terms but the final turned out to be a fanastic ding-dong battle with Neptunes producing the last cheers as their team managed to outdo their rivals San Ġiljan in dramatic fashion.
It was James Spiteri Staines who brought the accolades to his team with a last-gasp goal, 26 seconds to go, which was as exquisite as it was decisive.
After Jeremy Abela had given Neptunes the lead, a speedy exchange of passes helped San Ġiljan take a 2-1 first-session lead through goals by Jake Bonavia and Matthew Zammit.
With Dorian Pisani’s team showing some wastefulness against an otherwise unyielding Neptunes rearguard, the Reds took a deserved 4-3 lead by the end of the second quarter with their goals coming from Jake Muscat who bagged a hat-trick.
San Ġiljan were now started showing signs of fatigue and Neptunes could have scored more than the two they netted. Nevertheless, the Saints kept close to their opponents’ heels.
Early in the last session, San Ġiljan’s efforts received huge blow after the robust Dino Zammit was fouled out after the referee erroneously reported Zammit instead of Jake Bonavia who had fouled Alec Fenech.
With over a minute to go Matthew Zammit converted a penalty to even the matters on 7-7.
Young Alec Fenech immediately restored Nepturnes’ lead. But the drama was not over yet as Zammit equalised on 8-8.
But with the climax of a penalty shoot-out looming, it was James Spiteri Staines who swivelled the ball superbly past Jake Tanti to give his team a dramatic winner.
Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, J. Muscat 4, L. Calleja, G. Pace, S. Busuttil, J. Spiteri Staines 1, R. Galea, M. Castillo, J. Abela 2 , M. Spiteri Staines , A Fenech, S. Gialanze , A. Bugeja 2, J. Cachia, M. Zammit.
San Ġiljan: J. Tanti, D. Zahra, A. Galea, D. Fero, R. Caruana, M. Zammit 4, M. Ortoleva 1, J. Bonavia 2, B. Plumpton, Darren Zammit, K. Galea, Dino Zammit 1, G. Vassallo,
Refs: M. Angilleri, R. Spiteri.