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Impressive Turkey hand Malta U-16 first defeat at World Championships

MALTA 8

TURKEY 13

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

Having reached their goal of qualifying from the group stages in their first ever World Championships appearance, Malta U-16 were forced to surrender to Turkey in the Gold/Platinum Group as the latter cruised to a comfortable victory on Wednesday.

This was the only blemish for the Maltese in the tournament so far, after victories over the United States and Kazakhstan.

A win would have placed Malta amongst the best eight nations in this category.

However, despite the defeat, which was probably due stage fright, Anthony Farrugia’s boys are still in the running for an excellent placing.

In fact, on Thursday they will face Egypt in the positional play-offs from ninth to 16th place.

Tight marking and swift double cover on the centre was evident from the outset. But the superbly-marshalled Turks allowed the Malta youngsters little time to steady themselves for a potent shot at goal.

The Turks netted twice in the first session and increased their lead to four goals

Turkey went about their business of dismissing the Maltese while stretching their advantage to five goals.

When not in possession, the Turks were restricting the Maltese to hurried long-range shots.

The first effort on target was two minutes from the end of the first session and that came from Jayden Cutajar who hit the crossbar.

In the second session, Elijah Schembri reduced the deficit to a momentary 3-1 before Turkey netted twice more, including a beautiful backhand from Ali Hamza Erdag, to shift ends 5-1 in the lead.

Farrugia’s boys battled on and were still within a chance of positive result till midway in the third session.

This was underlined in a closely-fought third quarter which Malta won 4-3.

At the start of the third session, Jayden Cutajar cut further the leeway to three goals before Malta goalkeeper Dale Galea Mule blocked a five-metre free throw.

Zak Cutajar Licari converted a man-up situation for Malta before Erdag made it 7-3 for the Turks.

Dean Bugeja and Cutajar helped keep their noses in front by the odd goal in seven in an intensely-fought third session.

Starting the final session 8-5 in front, the Turks stepped up on the accelerator, dismissing the Maltese while stretching their advantage to five goals.

Malta still had some fight in them and Cain Cutajar and Cutajar Licari, who added a second personal goal, managed to reduce the deficit to 12-7.

The impressive Jayden Cutajar continued to add to his tally when he scored his 12th goal of tournament.

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