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Malta U-17 thump Slovakia to seal European Championship qualification

Dean Bugeja (no.6) shoots at goal against Slovakia. Photo: Timmy Cutugno.

MALTA 12

SLOVAKIA 5

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

MALTA

Z. Dzanovic, S. Engerer, J. Valletta, G. Bonavia, J. Cassar, D. Bugeja, Z. Cutajar Licari, J. Cutajar 8, E. Schembri 3, J. Chircop, L. Dimech 1, E. Mallia, I. Schembri.

SLOVAKIA

D. Szitas, D. Szliva, A. Zubcak 1, L. Cebo 3, M. Dnistryan 1, M. Valko, N. Da Silva, P. Bezuch, D. Luc, P. Bodoki, T. Cifra, V. Lampart, M. Seprak

Refs: Gregory Courbin, R. Mueller

The Malta U-17 national team made it three wins out of three to qualify for the European Championship finals when they eased past Slovakia 12-5 at the National Pool.

The Maltese boys knew that this was a must-win duel for them after Poland beat both Slovakia and Great Britain yesterday, to stay in contention for the top spot

The Maltese coped admirably with that psychological pressure of expecting a positive result, especially after the Slovakians took an early lead.

Their success was the result of superior teamwork and discipline, propelled by the talented Jayden Cutajar, scorer of eight goals.

With this win, Milan Cirovic’s boys have not only secured their spot in the European Championship finals this summer, but will be heading to Turkey as one of the group winners in the qualifying campaign.

In fact, Malta will finish top of the group, irrespective of their result in today’s match against Great Britain.

Slovakia broke the deadlock but eventually the hosts closed ranks and netted twice through Cutajar.

Lukas Cebo and Matviy Dnistryan scored on either side of Elijah Schembri’s goal before Malta went 4-3 ahead with Luigi Dimech before the end of the first session.

Although, tightly marked, the irrepressible Cutajar again found time to slot two more goals for 6-4 lead.

In the third session, Cutajar continued to show all his scoring instincts before Cebo reduced the deficit but Schembri made it a sound lead before the start of the last session.

In the fourth session, Cutajar (2) and Schembri scored again to seal a comfortable win for the Maltese youngsters.

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