(0-2, 1-3, 2-7, 2-7)
The Malta waterpolo national team opened their commitments at the European Championships when they lost against hosts Croatia 19-5 in Split on Monday night.
It was always going to be difficult for Karl Izzo’s men against the tournament hosts, but the Maltese players gave everything they had and showed some good defensive play against much stronger opposition.
One has to heap praise on goalkeeper Jake Tanti who effected some excellent saves throughout the match. Matthew Zammit, the team captain, also stood out with three goals while Ben Plumpton and Dino Zammit also put their name on the scoresheet.
Malta will be again in action tomorrow when they face Greece.
Croatia tried to start the match strongly and managed to take a two-goal lead through Loren Fatovic and Filip Krzic.
But from then on Jake Tanti came to the fore as the Maltese goalkeeper effected some excellent steps to keep out the Croatians from extending their lead.
In the second session, the Croatians managed to score three goals without reply through Ivan Krapic, Jerko Marinic Kragic and Rino Buric, before finally Malta opened their account through Plumpton.
Matthew Zammit grabbed Malta’s second at the start of the third session but the Croatians soon pushed on the accelerator scoring six goals without replay to open a commanding 12-2 lead.
Dino Zammit closed the third session with Malta’s third goal.
The Croatians were again in rampant form in the fourth session, scoring seven times with Malta managing to find the net twice through a Matthew Zammit brace.
MALTA: J. Tanti , S. Gialanze, A. Galea, J. Gambin, D. Zammit, M. Zammit, B. Plumpton 1, N. Bugelli, J. Abela, N. Zammit, B. Cachia, D. Zammit 1, M. Zammit 1.