Although these are still early days, Birżebuġia’s win over Valletta sent shockwaves through the Citizens’ clan on the opening day of the National Championships.
The Blues produced a commanding display to steal an early march over their rivals in their bid to retain their Premier Division status. Gabriel Sammut hit three goals as Valletta’s ‘stars’ were eclipsed by Birżebbuġa’s team spirit.
In a game of tight-marking Birżebbuġa looked sharper and more clinical in front of goal. They swept into an early lead and won the first session 2-0 courtesy of Gabriel Sammut and Julian Farrugia.
Valletta’s reaction started in the second quarter to take a 3-2 lead before Sammut equalised for Birżebbuġa.
Goals alternated in the third session as the Blues responded with three conversions to Valletta’s two for a 6-5 scoreline at the end of the third quarter.
Then, Birżebbuġa opened the throttle to take 9-5 advantage when they scored three on the spin, through David Cutajar, Christian Mifsud and Sammut.
Valletta’s reaction came too little too late with Andrea Agius and Nikolai Zammit only succeeding to cut the leeway to two goals.
The opening match of the Summer League had Exiles playing Otters with the Greens emerging clear winners on a 16-3 scoreline. Exiles, with Kurt Griscti, Nicky Parnis, Timmy Sullivan and Mark Fenech in their squad, assumed control from the start as Otters were unable to put their game together.
Top scorer for Aurelien Cousin’s Exiles side was Griscti with four goals.
(0-2, 3-1; 2-3, 2-3)
VALLETTA: T. Micallef, P. Borg, E. Aquilina, M. Stellini 2, A. Agius 1, R. Mock, D. Paolella, M. Mifsud, N. Farrugia, M. Zammit, N. Zammit 3, N. Lanzon, M. Mannino 1.
BIRŻEBBUĠA: M. Rossi, J. Farrugia 1, N. Cassar 2, D. Pace Lupi, C. Mifsud 1, P. Serracino, S. Vassallo, D. Cutajar 2, M. Bonnici, M. Borg, R. Spiteri, S. Fava, M. Sladden, B. Grech, G. Sammut 3
Refs: M. Angilleri, A. deRaffaele.
(1-1, 3-1; 5-0, 7-1)
Otters: M. Xerri, C. Spiteri de Barro 1, M. Lanzon, L. Hyzler 2, E. Meli, M. Farrugia, K. Scicluna, G. Mizzi, D. Dimech, C. Zammit, Z. Bartolo, O. Zammit, D. Spiteri, L. Gialanze.
Exiles: M. Castillo. N. Saliba 2, S. Apap 1, P. Paris, T. Sullivan 2, S. Xerri de Caro, M. Fenech 3, K. Griscti 4, N. Paris 3, J. Bajada, M. Aquilina 1, D. Fenech, G. Borg, E. Micallef, M. Naudi.
Refs: N. Mercieca, R. Spiteri.
PLAYING ON SATURDAY
17.00 Marsaxlokk vs Sirens; 18.05 Sliema vs Marsaskala.
18.00 Neptunes vs Exiles.