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San Giljan hit back to beat Sirens

Neptunes cruised past Birzebbugia at the National Pool on Wednesday. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

San Ġiljan were good enough to give Sirens a two-goal start before turning the game around in the last session on Wednesday.

What was a bright kick-start by Sirens, when they took a 2-0 early lead and kept their two-goal cushion by the end of the second session, turned out to be nothing but a poisoned chalice for the team managed by Marco Orlovic.

As many had expected, San Giljan managed to overcome that early wobble and eventually went into overdrive in the final session without actually hitting slick form.

Sirens were off to a meteoric start as they took an early 2-0 lead through Jerome Zerafa Gregory and Matthew Sciberras.

Matthew Zammit was back in the water in the second session after having not been risked in their match against Sliema to nurse a cut above his knee. He immediately made his presence felt with a beautiful swivelling backhand. But Sirens, through the impressive Sciberras and Paul Serracino, edged Sirens further ahead on 4-2.

This was a cue for Zeljko Kovacic to throw Zammit again in the pool. The San Giljan captain earned a penalty which was converted by Nikolai Zammit. But Matthias Azzopardi made it 5-3 by the end of the second session.

In the third session, San Giljan summoned all their know-how to level the score on 5-5 before Ken Erdogan beat the buzzer for a 6-5 score. But San Giljan equalised again through Andreas Galea at the end of the third quarter.

With San Giljan chasing their opponents all the time, it was left to Ben Plumpton to put them in front for the first time with a goal in the fourth session before the victory for the team guided by Kovacic being rounded by Jake Bonavia.

SAN GILJAN 8

SIRENS 6

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

SAN GILJAN J. Tanti, P. Borg 1, A. Galea 1, N. Schiavone, R. Caruana, M. Zammit 1, B. Plumpton 2, D. Tully 1, J. Bonavia 1, N. Zammit 1, D. Zammit, N. Bugelli, G. Vassallo.

SIRENS T. Micallef, P. Serracino 1, K. Erdogan 1, J. Sciberras, J. Zerafa Gregory 1, G. Farrugia, M. Chircop, I. Riolo, J. Napier, M. Cutajar, M. Sciberras 2, M. Azzopardi 1, M. Bonello Dupius.

Referees: M Sponza, M. Angileri.

Neptunes’ clash against clash turned out to be a monotonously one-sided affair, with the Balluta team breaking the duck at the outset, never to look back, as they kept piling the score in their favour.

The gap between the teams was such that Neptunes’ goalkeeper Alan Borg Cole was shelved after the break to give way to the promising Marco Rossi.

Understandably, Jovan Popovic kept the half-fit Jordan Camilleri on the bench, making use of most of the pack at his disposal.

It was more of a casual training session for Steven Camilleri and his clan with the hapless team from the South conceding goals at regular intervals.

For statistical purposes, Neptunes had six scorers in their ranks with their chief marksman Camilleri helping himself to six goals, followed by Sam Gialanze with four goals.

Birzebbuga were too frail to offer any resistance, with Neptunes always conducting the scoreline that eventually stretched to 19-3, just one goal short of their 20-goal target.

NEPTUNES 19

BIRZEBBUGA 3

(6-0, 5-1, 4-1, 4-1)

NEPTUNES A. Borg Cole, J. Muscat 3, S. Gialanze 4, G. Pace, J. Cachia, J. Spiteri Staines, S. Camilleri 6, J. Camilleri, J. Abela 3, M. Spiteri Staines 2, A. Fenech, M. Castillo 1, M. Rossi, M Farrugia.

BIRZEBBUGA M. Vassallo, J. Farrugia, N. Cassar, B. Grech, C. Mifsud 1, R. Mock, N. Fenech, D. Farrugia, S. Bezzina 1, K. Tanti, G. Mannino, M. Curmi 1, M Sladden, M. Giarratana, G. Sammut.

Referees: F. Brasiliano, P. Balzan.

In the First Division match, Ta’ Xbiex ran out 15-4 winners over Barracudas to consolidate their third spot.

TA’ XBIEX 15

BARRACUDAS 4

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

TA’ XBIEX R. Coleiro, JC Saliba, E. Aquilina 2, J. Pace Mizzi 1, E. Meli 3, S. Engerer, J. Saliba, J. Cassar 4, E. Schembri 3, Z. Cutajar Licari, B. Attard Littschw 1, J. Chircop 1, D. Galea Mule, P. Tabone, T. Fenech.

BARRACUDAS M. Gouder, A. Piccione 1, A. Magri 2, P. Micallef, D. Ciantar 1, R. Sciortino, S. Aquilina, L. Galea, D. Camilleri, J. Bugeja, A. Mifsud, TJ Mifsud, C. Bugeja, A. Grima Scott, N. Camenzuli.

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