(1-1, 1-1, 3-2, 4-1)
Sliema N. Grixti, J. Saliba, L. Galea 2, D. Rizzo, M. Meli, B Cachia, J. Cutajar 2, M. Mifsud, J. Brownrigg 1, K. Borg 1, Z. Mizzi, D. Zammit 3, A. Theuma.
Neptunes A. Borg Cole, M. Zammit, M. Farrugia, G. Pace 2, J. Cachia 2, L. Mallia, M. Castillo, J. Camilleri 1, R. Galea, M. Spiteri Staines, D. Bugeja, B. Zammit, M. Farrugia, E. Mallia, C. Cutajar.
Refs A. DeRaffaele, M. Angilleri
Holders Neptunes succumbed to a surprise 9-5 defeat against a well-drilled Sliema in the principle encounter of the Enemed Cup semi-finals.
Sliema will now meet San Ġiljan in Saturday’s final after the Saints’ experience and shooting power was on the side of Dorian Pisani’s side as the deficiencies of Exiles were starkly exposed from the very beginning.
Neptunes reversed a 1-0 deficit into a 2-1 lead by the beginning of the second quarter, but Sliema equalised before ends were changed as the Blues refused to concede space to their opponents.
Sliema’s edge early in the second quarter was clear when they forged ahead on 4-2 but Neptunes fought back to level at four-all when Jake Cachia and Gabriel Pace converted from long-range. Liam Galea scored a spectacular goal for a 5-4 advantage before the start of the last quarter.
It remained a very close affair as Neptunes responded again after their opponents took a one-goal lead. Jordan Camilleri made it 5-5.
Alan Borg Cole made an excellent block on Zach Mizzi but the impressive Jayden Cutajar converted twice in quick succession to give Sliema a decisive two-goal cushion. Dino Zammit and Kieren Borg scored late to make it an emphatic 9-5 victory over Neptunes.
SAN ĠILJAN 25
(9-2, 5-3, 6-0, 5-3)
San Ġiljan J. Tanti, N. Bugelli, A. Galea 3, D. Fero, R. Caruana 1, M. Zammit 6, M. Ortoleva 4, D. Tully 1, N. Zammit 6, D. Zammit 2, N. Schiavone 1, G. Vassallo, F. Scardino 1.
Exiles M. Castillo, N. Saliba, S. Apap, P. Paris 1, T. Sullivan 3, S. Xerri de Caro, M. Fenech, K. Griscti, N. Paris, J. Bajada 1, M. Aquilina 2, D. Fenech 1, G. Borg.
Refs: R. Spiteri, P. Balzan
Earlier, San Ġiljan’s nine-goal barrage in the opening session suggested that their win over Exiles would assume overwhelming proportions. Nikolai Zammit reached five conversions, Matthew Zammit completed a hat-trick and Matthias Ortoleva found the net twice before the change of ends.
At 14-5, it was game over by the long interval.
After the break, it was only a question of keeping track of the Saints’ goalscorers. The 20-goal mark was reached by the end of the third session.
In the last session, St Julians’ only interest was whether they could beat the scoring record in the Enemed Cup. They achieved that objective when they added five more goals with Matthew and Nikolai Zammit reaching six goals each.