Month: January 2014

Hibs beat Balzan in high profile match


Hibernians …..2

(H.T 0-0)

In a game of unrelenting drama and excitement, Hibernians edged past rivals Balzan 2-1 in the first big match between these two sides.

Hibernians had some new faces in their line-up. There was the debut from the first minute of Brazilian Celino Alves as well as the notable Bjorn Kristensen who plays 11-a-side football with the Paolites.

Most of all Hibernians had a new coach in their squad as Kevin Mifsud, former national team mentor, took the reins of the team.

Gabriel Dobre, Balzan’s player-coach had a full squad with the exception of Clint Cope, still injured.

The match was played in front of a sizable crowd that came to see the big match played at the Corradino Pavillion.

Balzan held the initiative in the first minutes and tried their luck at goal on several occasions with Hibs keeper Cassar extremely busy.

On the other hand, Hibernians operated on counter-attacks to get past Balzan’s solid defence.

As the clock struck the 11th minute, Balzan went close from an Andrea Dan first timer that saw keeper Cassar reacting with a great save.

The occasions were very few in these minutes with both coaches setting a very tactical game based on player marking and possession.

Despite all this, Hibs created the better chances before the end of the first half.

In the 18th minute a Melvin Borg header went out by a whisker.

45 seconds afterwards the same Hibs player had a shot at Balzan goal but a superb save by keeper Nicholas Farrugia denied him the goal celebration.

The first half finished in a stalemate.

As the second half began, Hibs tried immediately to venture forward but in the 24th minute, Balzan were denied the opener after a Zeljko Anicic shot hit the post.

Hibs immediately replied with an Almeida shot that went just high over the post.

But it was no long until Hibernians broke the deadlock after Portuguese Rui Miguel Ribeiro de Almeida advanced from the left flank and hit home with an accurate shot to make it 1-0.

In the 29th minute it was Dobre for Balzan who tried his luck but his powerful shot was saved by Cassar.

The Paolites would have doubled the score in the 30th minute, but Almeida’s thunderbolt came off the crossbar after the Portuguese forward had received from Bjorn Kristensen.

The Paolites were gaining confidence and Celino Alves, who had a positive debut, flicked a shot that went wide two minutes later.

The final minutes was a do or die situation for Balzan who pressed forward for the equalizer. They opted to attack with 5 players with keeper Matthew Xerxen helping in the proceedings.

Balzan restored parity in the 38th minute after a series of passes which found Gabriel Dobre ready to conclude at goal.

36 seconds later and Hibernians made a quick reaction when they were awarded a free shot. Xavier Saliba’s first shot was saved by Xerxen but from the rebound the Paolites captain fired home to regain the advantage for his team.

With one minute left, the Paolites defended bravely and secured the three points that helped them maintain their perfect record and give Balzan the first defeat of the season.

Balzan: Nicholas Farrugia, Nicola Del Re, Rennie Tanti, Gabriel Dobre, Giancarlo Sammut, Andrea Dan, Jovica Milijic, Carlos Scicluna, Zeljko Anicic, Matthew Xerxen, Glenn Bonello, Christian Wismayer.

Hibernians: Brian Baldacchino, Christian Cassar, Alves Celino Freitas, Cedric Sciberras, Matthew Attard, Darren Agius, Melvin Borg, Jesmond Micallef, Rui Miguel Ribeiro De Almeida, Xavier Saliba, Bjorn Kristensen, Levan Kobaidze.

Scorers: Rui Miguel Ribeiro de Almeida 27 min (H), Gabriel Dobre 38 min (B), Xavier Saliba 38 min (H)

Yellow Cards: Gabriel Dobre, Glenn Bonello (Balzan)

Referee 1: Robert Darmanin

Referee 2: Pierre Bonnici

Timekeeper: Jonathan Balzan.




San Gwann and Hamrun obtain the maximum points

San Gwann and Hamrun Spartans obtained the points that mattered after cruising past their respective opponents Melita and Mosta.

The Spartans registered the bigger win in two matches after a 9-2 scoreline against Mosta. This was their third  consecutive victory that has pushed them up in the standings.

Spaniard Cristian Cuadros Silva proved to be Hamrun’s hero after finding the target four times. Two braces for Mohammed Elamari and Christian Cacciatolo and a goal from Antonio Camilleri sealed the issue for the Spartans who dominated for long spells of the match. For Mosta it was a disappointing performance.

San Gwann returned to winning ways after seeing off Melita 4-2. The winners scored through a brace from Dylan Musu, Mark Zammit and Andy Mangion. They have climbed fifth in the table.

All eyes on tonight’s big match between Hibs and Balzan

Two of the major protagonists in last season’s FXDD Premier Division Championship face off tonight when Balzan take on Hibernians at the Corradino Pavillion (kick-off: 21.30).

Although these are still early days, the importance of this fixture remains high, especially for the two teams whose rivalry escalated considerably in the last few months  with both teams consistently engaged in the fight for the main honours.

Both of them have a perfect record so far as they have won all the matches played in the championship. Despite all this, Hibernians suffered a shock elimination from the Knock Out competition after being ousted by Zabbar 5-4. They didn’t have an easy task last week when they narrowly beat San Gwann 5-4 in the league. Therefore the  Paolites must rise for the occasion to grab the precious points at stake.

This website contacted captain Xavier Saliba about tonight’s big match.He said that it will be a difficult match for Hibernians. Certainly it will be an entertaining match as has been so far when these teams meet against each other. Saliba admitted that his  team is not passing through a positive patch especially after the elimination from the KO. The fact that they don’t start as favourites can be an advantage for them.

Saliba concludes by saying that his team will be perfectly concentrated for this match and will try to win the three points to maintain their perfect record in the league.

On the other hand, Balzan have maintained their top form so far winning all the matches played both in the league and in the KO. They have found another top player in Andrea Dan who scored decisive goals for his team. They will be in full squad for this match with player coach Gabriel Dobre returning after a spell with the Romanian National team.

This website talked to Nathan Jones, a key member of the Balzan contingent. He told us that they are regarding this match as a normal fixture. His team is focused and prepared to face the Paolites and they will try to maintain their positive patch so far.

On the other hand player-coach Gabriel Dobre recognized this match as a derby between two of the best teams in the  championship. It will be an important game but not a decisive one. Hibs will try to come back after  their defeat in the KO and for sure they will be extra motivated for this game.  On the other part us Balzan will try to do their game and take the three important points.

Finally Dobre hopes that tonight it will be a great game between two of the best futsal teams on the island .

The two teams have met each other in the Super Cup last September. Balzan managed to grab the  first honour of the season after beating Hibernians 5-1 in a thrilling match played in front of a sizable crowd.


Ten goal galore by Luxol

Luxol returned on top of the table  in the FXDD Premier Division after finding no difficulty to beat Birzebbugia 10-2 and register their ninth consecutive victory. They are now joint leaders with Hibernians on 27 points but with a better goal difference.

As the score clearly shows, Birzebbuga were never in the match with Luxol dominating and scoring nine goals in the first half. Player-coach Florin Anton was the best player of the match after scoring a brace and masterminding his team with clear passes and good leadership.

Even Ibrahim Tarek, Karl Saliba and Paul Bugeja found the net two times with Basil Emeka and Eslam Khalifa on target once.

Sean Micallef scored a brace to reduce the arrears for Birzebbugia who remain second from bottom in the table.

Zurrieq beat Luqa 6-4 in the derby to move one place in the table and register the third success of the season.

It was a match with Zurrieq scoring first and Luqa levelling immediately. But after their second goal, Zurrieq controlled the match and it was only at the end that Luqa tried to make a reaction but it was too late.

Joshua Farrugia (two goals) , Herbert Spiteri, Lawrence Vella, Matthew Scerri and Tyron Borg were on target for Zurrieq.

Luqa scored through a brace by Andrew Scerri and a goal by Joseph Meilaq and Justin Muscat.

In the FXDD Knock Out, Vittoriosa saw off Melita 7-4 to qualify for the next round of the competition. Vittoriosa’s goals came from two braces by Luke Stivala and Sean Vella with Leandros Calleja, Kenneth Spiteri and Melvin Xuereb scoring a goal each.

A closer look at … Jean Bert Gatt (San Gwann)

JeanBert Gatt (San Gwann Futsal)

Born on 11th October 1978 (35 years old), JeanBert is one of the veterans of Maltese Futsal. He is probably the longest serving player still in activity and also the co-founder of the Malta Futsal School which together with Mr. Jonathan Pisani, was founded in September 2010.

JeanBert works as a Human Resources Manager with a local group of companies.

How did you begin to play futsal?

It all started around 13 years ago. I had just finished rehabilitation from an injury sustained whilst playing football with Mosta FC and had a part time job in a bar called Scandals situated in Bugibba. The owner of the bar asked me to join their team in a 5-a-side friendly they had organised. Following this friendly I was asked to join their team permanently from the following season.  I spent 7 seasons with Scandals with whom I won the national championship in season 2007/08. After playing the Uefa Futsal Cup in Finland with Scandals Futsal Club, I moved to Aluserv Cinco Futsal and consequently I moved to Luxol Amazon and St.Andrews FC where I played for 4 seasons. This year I am happy to have joined a young and prominent team such as San Gwann Futsal Club. I am happy to have joined this team and look forward to end my Futsal career with this team.

Preferred role in Futsal

During my Futsal career I played in all roles however my favourite position is in the role of left sided lateral. I consider myself as a dynamic and versatile player. I like to help the team through my vast experience in the game.





Playing with the Maltese National Team against Greece in the UEFA Futsal Championship 2010

Best moments in Futsal

I had a lot of good times in Futsal and lots of memorable experiences which I will never forget. Probably the best moment is winning the league with Scandals in 2008 however my debut with National Team that same season (Uefa Futsal Euro Cup 2007/08) will remain one of the most exciting moments. I remember our National Team was to make its 1st ever competitive appearance in the Uefa Futsal Euro Cup against Cyprus and our coach back then, Mr. Michael Striz, selected me in the starting formation. During the morning training session on the day of the game, I felt sharp pain in my back and stomach, I was rushed to hospital and I was told I was suffering from kidney stones! I was given morphine for the pain and I told the doctors I wanted to play that same day against Cyprus. When I got back to the hotel, the coach came to my room to ask me how I was. I was better and wanted to play. I did make my debut together with all my team mates on that day and it was an amazing experience. The following day we played against Georgia and I scored in a 5-2 loss. Many happy moments with our national team followed; I played for my country for five years and together with our then coach, Mr. Vic Hermans, decided to quit national team in June 2011, following a tournament played in Libya in November 2010.

Teams JeanBert played for during career

Scandals Futsal Club [2001-2008]; Aluserv Cinco Futsal [2008-2009]; Amazon Luxol Futsal/St. Andrews Futsal [2009-2013]; San Gwann Futsal [2013-present]

Teams played against with National Team

Cyprus, Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan, France, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovenia, Switzerland, Moldova, Finland, Bosnia, Tunisia, Algeria, Syria, Palestine.

Objectives with San Gwann F.C. for this season

Our objective at San Gwann is to make it with the top 8 and hopefully in the final 4. As a player, I believe we have the potential to do so. After a shaky start to our league, the team picked up consistent results and we are on the right track to reach our objectives.

The future of JeanBert Gatt

Well, at the age of 35 one must think of when to stop playing however I am determined to keep playing as much as my body allows me to. I still believe I can be valuable to my team and as long as I enjoy playing I will keep competing. I can always look back and treasure the many nice moments I had in Futsal and I know that although the best time is over, I can look forward to many more with my new team and why not hoping to win another league in the near future.









Playing with San Gwann against Luqa St. Andrews

The Malta Futsal School

On another note and together with my partner at the school, Mr. Jonathan Pisani, I look forward to expand the interest in the Malta Futsal School. The school which started operating in September 2010, is open for all children between the age of 5 and 15 years. The objective of our school is to teach this beautiful game, which is very close to our heart, and to teach the basic skills one needs to become a better football player, whether a player intends to continue playing football or futsal.
One can send an e-mail on or visit our website for more information about the school.

Hibs ousted by gutsy Zabbar

Zabbar surprised all odds and eliminated league champions Hibernians from the FXDD Knock-Out after a 5-4 win earlier this afternoon at the Corradino Pavillion.

It was an exceptional performance from the Zabbar team that played aggressively from the first seconds of the match to stun the league leaders.

They scored three times early in the match through a brace by Nikolai Filipov and Radoslav Kovachev. After some initial hesitation Hibs reacted with a brace scored by Cedric Sciberras to make the score 3-2. Before half-time, Zabbar pulled a goal back thanks to Glenn Barry.

In the second half, Hibs scored another goal to make it 4-3 with Levan Kobaidze. But Zabbar didn’t lose their concentration, they kept their cool and it was Frankie Xerri who scored the fifth goal for his side.

After this goal, the Paolites put everything on the offensive and began a series of attacks to try and level the score. It was Zabbar’s keeper Marlon Muscat that saved the day for his team after performing a string of courageous saves.

Hibernians scored another goal through Levan Kobaidze to complete a brace and make it 5-4. Later on Joel Grima of Zabbar was shown the red card. The latter side kept calm and defended bravely to obtain a hard fought win and book a a place for the next round of this competition.

In other matches played yesterday from the FXDD Premier Division, Pembroke climbed fourth in the table after seeing off Zurrieq 7-2. After this defeat, Zurrieq stayed in the lower part of the table with six points from eight matches.

In the FXDD First Division, Kalkara defeated Siggiewi 3-1 to join sixth-placed Fgura and Zebbug with 16 points. Kevin Loughborough, Duncan Bonello and Karl Muscat scored the all-important goals for the Kalkara side.

Nikolay Filipov scored a brace in this match

Not easy for Hibs

Hibernians kept flying high in the FXDD Premier Division after having the better of San Gwann 5-4. Despite registering their ninth consecutive win, it was not an easy stroll for the Paolites that found a well organized San Gwann side who defended bravely and operated some good counter-attacks.

The match entered in a drama when the score was 4-4 one minute thirty seconds from the end. It looked as if Hibernians were going to drop the first points. But Cedric Sciberras gave his side a hard-fought victory that put them first in the table three points more than second-placed Luxol and Balzan who have a match in hand.

The other Hibs goals were scored by a hat-trick from Xavier Saliba and Rui Almeida.

San Gwann scored through Andy Mangion, Jean Bert Gatt, Josef Borg and Jurgen Pace.

Balzan quickly answered to their rivals success after seeing off and dominating  Vittoriosa 10-2. It was Balzan’s eighth consecutive victory.

Glenn Bonello scored a hat-trick, Andrea Dan and Jovica Milijic scored a brace while Giancarlo Sammut, Zeljko Anicic and Rennie Tanti  completed the score for Balzan who played without Carlo Scicluna and Gabriel Dobre.

Hamrun Spartans stunned Qormi by winning 8-0. It was an impressive performance by the Spartans who climbed sixth in the table to reach Melita.

Elamari proved to be Hamrun’s hero when he scored 4 goals. A brace from Christian Cuadros Silva, a penalty from Spiteri and an own goal completed the matters for their side who registered their fourth win of the season.

Mosta defeated Swieqi 8-4 to gain the ninth spot in the table. In the first half Mosta played well, they dominated their opponents but failed a lot of chances at goal. The first half finished 2-1.

In the second half although Mosta scored their third goal, Swieqi made a good comeback and they levelled the score 3-3.

But this goal proved to be Mosta’s injection as they scored the fourth goal and from then onwards it was a one way traffic match.

Mosta’s goals were scored from  Ryan Buhagiar (4 goals), George Douglas Saliba (2 goals) and a goal for Armando Gjepali and Darryl Schembri.






Luxol on top, first win for Mqabba

Luxol joined Hibernians in the top spot of the table in the FXDD Premier Division after beating Luqa 8-0 . After scoring through Ibrahim Tarek and two minutes later through Karl Saliba, Luxol found it hard to find the net due to Luqa’s gallant players who defended bravely their opponents’ continuous attacks. Chris Cardona and Stephen Aquilina were Luqa’s best players.

Luxol’s hero proved to be Karl Saliba who scored four  goals together with a brace by Ibrahim Tarek, Florin Anton and Noel Bray.

In the FXDD First Division, Mqabba gained their first win of the season after seeing off Sirens 5-3. It was a brilliant comeback for Kenneth Fiteni’s side that found themselves 3-0 down after Sirens scored through Robert Darmanin (2 goals) and George Chircop. Before half-time Steve Pace pulled one back for Mqabba.

But in the second half, Mqabba dominated and scored four goals without reply through a brace from Joseph Darmanin,  Steve Falzon and Andre Ciancio to celebrate their first victory of the season.

In the other match, Fgura continued their positive run in the league after a 5-2 victory against Santa Lucia.

They scored three goals in the first half through Noel Portelli, Kirston Muscat and Tano Magro.

In the second half, Santa Lucia tried to get back into the match after two goals by Karl Grech. But Jason Gauci and Kirston Muscat sealed the issue for Fgura who climbed fifth in the table.

I believe that Maltese futsal has a bright future – Bjorn Vassallo

After the positive experience in Gibraltar, the Maltese Futsal national team has just returned in Malta, tired but at the same time proud of last Saturday’s success. The expression of satisfaction was visible in all the Maltese contingent that formed part of this adventure.

This website took some comments from four Maltese players that were part of this successful group.

“It was an amazing experience. I would like to thank my coach Kevin Mifsud who gave me the opportunity to be called with the national team.  I was honoured to wear the national gear.

These are my first steps as a futsal national player. I am eager to improve and eventually score important goals for Malta.”   Matthew Attard

 “I think that on the day we were the better team. The Gibraltar players were defending and we took advantage and attacked for goal.

Their plan was based on counter-attacks and this was evident in the first match. Eventually we have learnt from our mistakes, we went on the pitch with courage and determination and we succeeded in our intention.

All in all it was a positive and different experience. We weren’t used to be considered as  the team to beat so it was a nice difference!

I think that with a bit of luck we should have even won the first match.

Finally after watching some of our youngsters playing, I believe that Maltese futsal  has a bright future ahead.”  Bjorn Vassallo

“As I have said earlier to a Gibraltar journalist, we were hungry for the win. Malta was better than Gibraltar in the two matches overall. We played as a group and succeeded to get this positive result.  We scored with a good set piece and managed to create lots of great chances. I would like to thank coach Kevin Mifsud for his hard training and determination.” Xavier Saliba

 “The experience in Gibraltar was very nice. I am happy of my performance  and proud of all the players and the staff who were involved and made our trip possible. We were one very united group and this was shown how well we have performed.Jovica Milijic

Malta wins in Gibraltar

Malta Futsal National Team claimed a deserved victory, 4-2, over Gibraltar yesterday evening at the Tercentenary Hall, with Giancarlo Sammut scoring a brace and team-mates Rennie Tanti and Jovica Milijic scoring a goal each. With a sizeable crowd supporting the home team, Malta also had its fair share of support, with a group of Maltese working in Gibraltar or Spain attending the match and cheering throughout the game.

 A determined Malta side, attacked aggressively from the initial stages of the game with the clear aim of imposing their game on the opponents. With the game mostly played in the Gibraltarian half pitch, Malta dominated the first half, with Xavier Saliba, Giancarlo Sammut and Cedric Sciberras testing the Gibraltar goalie repeatedly. Against all odds, Gibraltar opened the score through Jamie Walker but Malta soon levelled the score through Giancarlo Sammut, in the 10th minute, after a perfect freekick set piece. Malta pressed for more goals as Andrew Lopez was cautioned for Gibraltar for fouling Melvin Borg in one of Malta’s attacks. Halt-time score 1-1.
Gibraltar came out stronger in the initial stages of the second half, and nearly took the lead after Malta goalie Brian Baldacchino mis-timed his effort to clear off an incoming attack but luckily shot went just wide. For the next 15 minutes Malta regained full control of the game and scored two goals in the third minute, once again through Giancarlo Sammut, and seconds later through Jovica Milijic. Mark Zammit and Brian Deguara worked relentlessly in midfield to hold the Gibraltar attacks, who were now mounting the pressure to save the game, but Rennie Tanti added a fourth goal for Malta, putting the away team in a more comfortable position with few minutes to go. Gibraltar reduced the margin and pulled a goal back in the dying minutes of the game once again through Andrew Lopez. The game ended 4-2 to the satisfaction of the Malta contingent and supporters at The Tercentenary Hall.
 Coach Kevin Mifsud was obviously happy with both the result and his team’s collective attitude. The introduction of young players in the team, like Rennie Tanti, Giancarlo Sammut and Mark Zammit, together with the experience of players like Xavier Saliba (captain) and Cedric Sciberras is proving to be a good formula. Malta’s next international commitments will be the Euro Qualifiers next September.
 FMA President Donald Spiteri, leading the Malta Delegation, also expressed his satisfaction at the character shown by the Malta team after last Thursday’s close defeat 4-3, with the same host team.
The two teams lining up for the national anthems

Jovica Milijic tries to take the ball off a Gibraltar player

The Maltese contingent celebrating their well deserved victory