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San Ġiljan’s redemption earns them the knock out title

San Ġiljan celebrate with the Knock-out trophy. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Sirens cap successful season

San Ġiljan yesterday were on a double mission – That of retaining the KO trophy, and to seek redemption after suffering a 10-6 defeat at the hands of Neptunes, which cost them the league title.

Relying on their resilience, tactical discipline and newly-found spirit, they accomplished their double task by defeating their neighbours
11-10.

After conceding an early goal, San Ġiljan found some rhythm with Dino and Matthew Zammit orchestrating play on the outside positions. The Saints took a 3-1 at the end of the first session.

In the second session, the Reds finally found some punch as they reduced the deficit to finally annul it with Jake Muscat as Neptunes fought back to level the score on 5-5. They also managed to take a 6-5 momentary lead thanks to Muscat’s superb third goal. But Dino Zammit beat the 30-second buzzer to allow his side change ends 6-6.

Matthew Zammit made it 7-6 only for Jeremy Abela to restore parity. Ben Plumpton put the Saint in front again on 8-7.

Goals kept coming with Camilleri equalising before Plumpton scored at the end of the third session.

So, it was into the last part of the game with the Saints 9-8 up. At the start of the last quarter, Steve Camilleri made it 9-9 but they could not stop their opponents’ momentum with Dino Zammit and Plumpton giving St Julian’s a two-goal cushion.

Camilleri made it 11-10 to set up a thrilling finale.

With the momentum in Neptunes favour, San Ġiljan did not fold in those final minutes and with their shorter squad reduced to bare bone, they managed to keep their opponents at arms’ length.

In Division One, superior Sirens put the seal on a successful season when landing Division One double after beating Exiles.

The side led by Marko Orlovic have thus rubberstamped their complete superiority over the Sliema side when winning both the League and the Knock Out final.

Intelligent play by Exiles in the opening session had the contest hanging on a 2-1 lead for Aurelien Cousin’s side. Fancied Sirens may have flirted with a slice of casualness until then.

However, five goals in their favour during the second quarter, quashed any doubts one might have entertained about their ability to steer clear of their fighting opponents.

Matthew Sciberras’s knack of hitting goals in crucial times turned beneficial again for the St Paul’s Bay team. His hat-trick in the second session was well deserved.

Exiles never gave up and on 9-3 midway through the third quarter, they reduced the leeway to 10-6 before the start of the final session.

But, Sirens’ staying power prevailed. For Exiles, the scoreline was quite respectable.

PLAYED YESTERDAY

EXILES 9
SIRENS 11

(2-1, 0-5, 4-4, 3-1)

Exiles: M. Castillo, N. Saliba, S. Apap, T. Sullivan 2, S. Xerri de Caro, M. Fenech 1, K. Griscti 3, N. Paris, J. Bajada 1, M. Aquilina 2, D. Fenech, G. Borg

Sirens: G. Galea Curmi, M. Grech, K. Erdogan 2, J. Sciberras, J. Zerafa Gregory 1, G. Farrugia, M. Sciberras 5, I. Riolo, J. Napier, L. Falzon, L. Caruana 1, M. Azzopardi 2, O. Gauci.

Referees Alex DeRaffaele, Riccardo Carmignani,

SAN ĠILJAN 11
NEPTUNES 10
(3-1, 3-5, 3-2, 2-2)

San Ġiljan: R. Coleiro, D. Zahra, A. Galea, D. Fero, R. Caruana, M. Zammit 2, B. Plumpton 4, J. Bonavia, D. Ciantar, Darren Zammit, K. Galea, Dino Zammit 4, G. Vassallo, M. Ortoleva 1, D. Tully.

Neptunes: A.Borg Cole, J. Muscat 3, L. Calleja, G. Pace, M. Castillo, J. Spiteri Staines, S.Camilleri 4, J. Camilleri 2, J. Abela 1, M. Spiteri Staines, A. Fenech, S. Gialanze, A. Bugeja, J. Cachia, R. Galea.

Referees Massimo Angilleri, Alessandro Severo.

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