Month: May 2014

Balzan win shoot-out to gain advantage



(H.T 2-2)

Balzan won 5-4 (penalties)

Balzan won the first leg of the FXDD Premier Division play-off final yesterday evening after edging close rivals Hibernians 9-8 on penalties.

Nicholas Farrugia was Balzan’s hero last night as he managed to perform a string of exceptional saves to deny the Paolites both during the match and even during the penalty shoot-out.

This match, between the top two teams of Maltese futsal, brought a good number of supporters at the Corradino Pavillion.

Balzan created their first scoring chances on 2 minutes when Hibs keeper Christian Cassar performed three consecutive saves on Emil Raducu and Glenn Bonello.

Two minutes later, Balzan surged ahead when Raducu delivered a good pass to Andrea Dan who turned quickly to put the  ball into the net.

Balzan quickly doubled the score when Romanian international Emil Raducu found the net from a close angle to put the ball home.

Hibernians reacted swiftly and in their first real opportunity, they reduced the arrears from a direct freekick by Jose Carlos Lopez Meizoso who surprised the Balzan keeper.

This goal galvanized the Paolites that took advantage of their opponents’ defensive blunder and level the score from Mark Zammit who put the ball into the empty net and make it 2-2.

On 13 minutes Balzan’s player/coach Gabriel Dobre tried his luck with a fierce shot but Cassar produced an exceptional save.

30 seconds later it was Dan whose powerful hit finished high.

On 19 minutes, Balzan wasted a great opportunity to surge ahead when Milijic’s shot hit the post and from the rebound Clint Cope headed wide.

On the  cusp of half-time, Melvin Borg veered to his right to evade the onrushing Milijic but his shot finished wide from the post.

In the second half, Balzan had a shocking start as they scored twice to extend their advantage over their opponents.

First Gabriel Dobre delivered an exact and powerful drive that left no chance to Cassar while 50 seconds later Andrea Dan saw his powerful effort finishing into the net to make it 4-2.

Balzan were monopolizing the ball possession as Dan delivered to Raducu whose shot finished wide.

This monopolization lasted shortly as Hibs again reduced the score when Brazilian Celino Alves passed to Jose Carlos Lopez Meizoso who returned the favour to Alves who put the ball home amongst the joy of the Paolites team.

Lurking in the Balzan box, David Bobokhidze left his marker behind him to guide a low shot that finished wide on 26 minutes.

Hibs were now surging forward in search of parity. And it was here that one could notice Nicholas Farrugia’s goalkeeping skills as he repelled exceptionally five serious goal scoring opportunies through Lopez, Zammit and Alves respectively.

Two minutes from the end, Hibs coach Kevin Mifsud called a time-out to stimulate his players’ offensive qualities.

Eventually the Paolites adopted the flying keeper Lopez who added more bonus to their attacking objectives.

In fact as the clock ticked around to 40 minutes, Hibernians managed to level matters when after a confusing action, Jose Carlos Lopez Meizoso succeeded to put the ball into the net and score the incredible 4-4 score.

The match eventually drifted into the penalty shoot-out.

Balzan scored their penalties through Raducu, Dan, Milijic, Scicluna and Cope. Dobre and Bonello failed to capitalize their respective penalties.

Hibs converted their shots through Lopez, Zammit, Saliba and Cohen with Borg, Sciberras and Micallef missing the target.

Balzan emerged the final winners 9-8 to gain a good advantage till next Tuesday when both sides meet for the second leg of the final.

Balzan: Nicholas Farrugia, Gabriel Dobre, Andrea Dan, Glenn Bonello, Carlos Scicluna, Matthew Xerxen, Giancarlo Sammut, Christian Wismayer, Nicola Del Re, Jovica Milijic, Rennie Tanti, Emil Andrei Raducu, Clint Cope, Reuben Grech .

Coach: Gabriel Dobre

Hibs: Christian Cassar, Melvin Borg, Jesmond Micallef, Xavier Saliba, David Bobokhidze, Cedric Sciberras, Brian Baldacchino, Mark Zammit, Celino Alves, Jose Carlos Lopez Meizoso, Andrew Cohen, Darren Agius.

Coach: Kevin Mifsud.

Referee 1: Franco Cachia

Referee 2: Jude Amin Utulu

Referee 3: Pierre Bonnici

Time-keeper: Stephanie Axiak






Top teams clash each other in decisive encounters

The FXDD Premier Division resumes today after an absence of one week with the first of three finals to be played tonight  between the two heavyweights of Maltese Futsal, Hibernians and Balzan (kick-off 20.30hrs).

Hibernians who won 20 out of 23 matches boast the best attack with lethal striker David Bobokhidze and Brazilian Celino Alves in fine form.

Despite all this, Hibernians really found it hard to impose their style of play in the much-talked-about semifinal against San Gwann. At times they showed a sloppy defence and seemed in difficulty in both legs.

The same opinion was shared by the Paolites captain, Xavier Saliba.

“We had a really hard semifinal. It was the most difficult one in my futsal playing career both personally and psychologically. San Gwann were a really hard nut to crack!”

“Hibs vs Balzan is always an attractive game to play. Both teams have played three times in this competition and managed to win a match each with the other one finishing in a draw. It will be a balanced match for sure.”

“Hibs have to improve on their latest performances, we have to  pay attention as every episode can decide the match.”

Even Balzan player Clint Cope seems to agree with Saliba’s comments as he said that every detail can give a new shape to the match.

Cope, who scored some decisive goals in this campaign, admitted that it will be a very tough match.

“Hibs are difficult opponents to play against. They have showed all this during this season.”

Balzan have the best defence in the league having conceded only 45 goals. The team led by Gabriel Dobre is aiming for a double after having already won the FXDD Knock-Out competition.

“All the hard work that we’ve done during this season must be translated into the pitch during these three finals.”

Cope believes that it’s important to gain a good advantage in the first leg to be mentally prepared for the second one.
Christian Wismayer thinks that tonight’s match is not a normal one.
“Whoever succeeds in winning tonight’s match can have a psychological advantage to face the second match with confidence. I preview that it will be an action-packed match”
Hibernians and Balzan will be played on a best-out-of-three match format. Each game played should have a clear winner. If a game ends on a draw after playing the normal time, penalties will be taken immediately after, to determine the winner of the game. If the same team wins the first two games successively, that team is proclaimed champion and the third game is not played.





Club Members meet, Disciplinary Board decides

A meeting  between the club members and the executive committee of the Futsal Malta Association was held yesterday evening at the main hall of the Corradino Pavillion.

The meeting was presided by Timothy Gingell, a member from Mosta Futsal Club.

All the other members gave their views and opinions about some current issues.

During this cordial meeting,  the FMA executive members accepted and appreciated the trust given by club members.

The former listened attentively to the points discussed and gave their reactions.

Furthermore the executive committee will evaluate and decide whether  to maintain their respective positions within the FMA for the following season.

In the meantime , the disciplinary board met to discuss last Friday’s incidents during the semifinal play-off between Hibernians and San Gwann.

San Gwann players  Josef Borg, Shaun Vella, Dylan Musu and Alan Borg, together with coach Clayton Felice and club official Jesmond Musu  were suspended for two years from all competitive matches.

Great match marred by incidents


San Gwann…….4

(H.T 3-3)

Aggregate score: 9-9

The second semifinal of the FXDD Premier Division play-off was marred by deplorable incidents as the clash between Hibernians and San Gwann had to be suspended 33 seconds from the end.

The chaos started after referee David Balzan sent off a San Gwann player for the second yellow card. This sparkled vehement protests by the San Gwann clan. Amid the protests, some supporters jumped in and total chaos erupted. A few moments later, the match was suspended.

At that particular moment, San Gwann managed to level matters in the aggregate score in a match which got into extra-time.

An exciting match indeed which saw mighty San Gwann giving their utmost to put Hibernians in difficulty and getting the share of play.

However San Gwann keeper Matthew Mifsud was superb to say the least. He produced a string of exceptional saves that kept his team in contention.

A match that had a electrifying start as San Gwann surged ahead thanks to a Dylan Musu‘s freekick who slotted the ball home and make it 1-0.

Hibernians didn’t expect such a shocking start from their opponents. They tried immediately  to surge forward being two goals down in the aggregate score.

They replied from Celino Alves on 2 minutes but his shot was ably saved by keeper Mifsud.

When the clock struck the ninth minute, Hibernians were back on level terms as Melvin Borg found the net from close range.

The San Gwann custodian was now beginning his busy day as he successfully repelled shots by Bobokhidze, Cohen and Saliba.

However he could do nothing four minutes later when Hibernians scored two consecutive goals by David Bobokhidze and Celino Alves after some defensive blunders.

But San Gwann never gave up and quickly restored parity by replying with a double by Dylan Musu and Denis di Maio who dribbled past the goalkeeper and  slotted home to make it 3-3 before half-time.

One minute into the second  half and Hibernians were unlucky to hit the post after a Celino Alves personal move.

Di Maio, the San Gwann striker had his shot well saved by Cassar.

On 24 minutes, Celino Alves underlined his excellent futsal skills when after dribbling past two players, he dashed a fierce shot that gave no chance to Mifsud to make it 4-3

The match continued with its high tempo and on 30 minutes Dylan Musu had his shot saved by Cassar.

One minute later, Andrew Cohen missed a great opportunity when he hit high after receiving from Saliba.

The Paolites continued to exert pressure on the San Gwann rearguard and keeper Matthew Mifsud continued with his excellent saves to keep his team into the match.

The score being 8-8 aggregate had to go to extra-time.

Hibernians wanted the winning goal at all costs but the San Gwann custodian continued with his  brilliant form to deny  his opponents.

On 48 minutes, Hibernians scored their fifth goal thanks to Celino Alves who scored another gem of a goal to the joy of his  supporters.

But 33 seconds from the end, San Gwann substitute Nizar Fawzi Salem Abouisha scored directly from a corner after hitting the ball past keeper Cassar.

The goal brought a lot of joy amongst the San Gwann clan but immediately after the referee showed a red card to a San Gwann player after being shown the second yellow card.

From here a lot of protests erupted and the match was eventually suspended.

Hibernians: Christian Cassar, Melvin Borg, Jesmond Micallef, Xavier Saliba, David Bobokhidze, Levan Kobaidze, Cedric Sciberras, Brian Baldacchino, Mark Zammit, Celino Alves, Andrew Cohen, Darren Agius.

San Gwann: Matthew Mifsud, Josef Borg, Dylan Musu, Daniel Mifsud, Andy Mangion, Rudy Pace, Jurgen Pace, Denis di Maio, Salem Abouisha, Alan Borg, Shaun Vella, Steve Giacomotto

 Referee 1: David Balzan

Referee 2: Jude Amin Utulu

Referee 3: Jonathan Mallia.

Time-Keeper: Stephen Vella


Glenn Bonello brace ends Luxol’s hopes



(H.T 2-1)

Aggregate score: 8-5.

Balzan kept their hopes alive for a double after seeing off a mighty Luxol side 5-3 to reach the final stage of the FXDD Premier Division Play-offs.

It was an exciting match as usual between two teams that impressed so much in the league.

Having installed a narrow 3-2 advantage in the first leg, Balzan were keen to extend their margin but the team led by Florin Anton were greatly organized in defence trying to allow to the minimum their opponents’ attacks.

Drama was instilled in the final four minutes of the game as Luxol scored twice to level matters but super-sub Glenn Bonello was quick to react with two great goals.

Balzan created their first goal scoring occasion on six minutes through Emil Raducu whose shot was greatly repelled by Luxol’s keeper Adrian Attard.

Three minutes later it was Giancarlo Sammut who was unlucky when he hit the post.

William Barbosa, who was marked closely by the Balzan defenders, passed to Frendo whose low drive was well saved by Farrugia.

On 13 minutes Gabriel Dobre’s shot finished wide.

Luxol were defending boldly their opponents attacks with Florin Anton and Dean Gera being continuously busy.

On 14 minutes Emeka’s close shot was saved by Balzan keeper Farrugia.

Two minutes later, Balzan broke the deadlock when Emil Raducu struck a fierce shot from outside the box that left Attard surprised.

On 18 minutes, Luxol managed to level matters when Balzan’s former player Basil Emeka Onuta hit the target with a low shot.

11 seconds from the break, Balzan regained the advantage when Clint Cope received from Jovica Milijic to poke the ball past Attard.

In the second half, Balzan managed to make them three when Clint Cope put his player-coach Gabriel Dobre in a position to score from a close range.

The latter was unlucky to hit the post two minutes later after a good work by Andrea Dan.

Time was passing by and everything looked as if Balzan were heading for a comfortable qualification.

But four minutes from the end in the space of 40 seconds Luxol pulled two goals back.

First it was George Frendo who took advantage of a defensive blunder to make  it 3-2. Then William Barbosa hit a fierce shot that gave no chance to Matthew Xerxen to restore parity.

At this point, Luxol needed another goal to take the match into extra-time but super-sub Glenn Bonello regained a double advantage for Balzan when he struck two quick goals to make it 5-3 and put his team into the  final for the second consecutive year.

Balzan: Nicholas Farrugia, Gabriel Dobre, Andrea Dan, Glenn Bonello, Carlos Scicluna, Matthew Xerxen, Giancarlo Sammut, Christian Wismayer, Nicola del Re, Jovica Milijic, Rennie Tanti, Emil Raducu, Clint Cope.

Luxol: Dale Camilleri, Dean Gera, William Barbosa, George Frendo, Noel Bray, Adrian Attard, Basil Emeka Onuta, Florin Anton, Tarek Ibrahim, Bjorn Vassallo.

Referee 1: Franco Cachia

Referee 2: Pierre Bonnici

Referee 3: Robert Darmanin

Time-keeper: Stephanie Axiak




Champions ready to sweat for the final

Hibernians head into tonight’s FXDD Premier Division Play-offs semifinal second leg needing to reverse a 4-3 deficit against San Gwann to progress to the final.

As captain Xavier Saliba said, the Paolites must pull up their socks and show more cohesion and precision to produce a remarkable comeback.

Brazilian defender Celino Alves admits that Hibernians need patience and quick thinking to overturn the result.

“We need perseverance  and endurance in our play to level the matters during this match. We cannot rush. We have to emulate what we did so far in this campaign. A lot of patience and intelligence are essential if we want to win this match.”

“It will be a difficult match as San Gwann possess a good team which is well trained and defensively organized. They have the advantage of winning the first leg and they will try to pose another threat to our defence. “

On the other hand, Dylan Musu, the San Gwann player, is certain Hibs will adopt an offensive plan.

“We’re expecting the Paolites to attack as from the very first second. We have prepared for this eventuality and all the players are psychologically prepared for this match. We believe that we can do it.”

Musu is overwhelmed by what San Gwann have done so far.

“We were promoted from the First Division last season, our main target was to place among the top eight of the league. We did more than we had bargained for.”

“Giving the first defeat to the Champions is not something common. Now that we have reached this stage of the competition we want to progress to the final.”

Finally Musu praises the coach and all the members of San Gwann FC for their continuous effort.

In the first leg played on Tuesday, Hibernians were a shadow of the team that impressed so much in the league. Consequently this was their first defeat in this competition.

San Gwann, regarded as underdogs before this encounter, showed their best in the first minutes as Denis di Maio scored a brace that confused their opponents. Key players Jesmond Micallef and Xavier Saliba were unlucky to score two own goals.

Hibernians managed to pull one back through David Bobokhidze before half-time until they tried to make a sort of reaction in the second half.

Eventually  the Paolites scored two more goals by the same Bobokhidze and an own goal by  Andy Mangion to reduce the matters for tonight’s second leg.

In the other semifinal, Balzan hold a narrow 3-2 advantage over fellow opponents Luxol St Andrews.

The team led by Gabriel Dobre, in search of their third  trophy this season, will find a determined Luxol side that are eager to produce a comeback to qualify for the final.

Luxol players Florin Anton and Bjorn Vassallo consider Balzan as the favourites to reach the finals but ” being the underdogs sometimes brings some advantages.”

They both think that Luxol have the chance to advance to the final stage after their positive showing in the first leg.

“There is a great atmosphere in our team. We are one united team. We’ve trained hard to achieve great targets. Luxol will give the maximum effort to reach the final. It would be a great gift for what we’ve done during this season,” concluded the Luxol keeper.

Even Balzan’s player Emil Raducu praised Luxol and defines them as a solid and united group.

“They have a good team, some players have experience and it’s normal that it will be a hard game.”

“Now it’s different from the normal league games. Whoever plays better and makes less mistakes will go to the final.”

The Romanian international believes that one goal advantage may be easily reversed by their opponents so they have to be careful and try to win the second leg as well.

In last Tuesday’s match, an evenly balanced encounter took place to the delight of those present at the Corradino Pavillion.

The KO holders opened the score through an own goal by Dean Gera but a fantastic freekick by Luxol’s talisman player, William Barbosa levelled the matters.

Balzan’s nippy striker, Glenn Bonello scored a brace until Basil Emeka pulled one back for Luxol

Both encounters are set to attract another numerous crowd at the Corradino Pavillion

Today’s matches: FXDD Play-Offs Semifinal Second Leg

Corradino Pavillion:

20.00hrs:  Balzan vs Luxol

21.30hrs:  San Gwann vs Hibs

All or nothing in the second leg

Yesterday we had two exciting play off’s semi finals, which left everything undecided for the second leg.

San Gwann had the better side against a disastrous Hibernians, winning 4-3.

Denis Di Maio’s brace disoriented the Paolites who made it worst by two autogoals done by Jesmond Micallef and Xavier Saliba.

Hibernians reduced the difference with David Bobokhidze’s brace and an own goal done by Andy Mangion.

As Captain Xavier Saliba said after the the match, Hibernians next Friday have to pull up their socks and do a comeback starting with a goal down.

Balzan will be going for the second leg, only with a goal advantage after their encounter with Luxol.

Balzan opened the score through Dean Gera’s own goal.

Luxol levelled the matters with a fantastic free kick realised by William Barbosa.

Luxol’s second and final goal came from Basil Emeka Onuta.

Balzan sealed their victory with Glenn Bonello’s brace.


Hibs try to confirm, Tough test for Balzan

The FXDD Premier Division has reached  a decisive stage as four teams will cross swords in the play-offs to be played this week. In the first leg to be  played tonight champions Hibernians face the revelation San Gwann while Balzan play against Luxol.

Hibernians who are the only team without defeat,  start as favourites in the first leg clash against San Gwann (kick-off – 19.45 hrs).

However they cannot underestimate San Gwann, who were promoted to Premier Division status last year, having a great campaign and placing fourth in the standings.

They hope  that their striker Shawn Vella will be in top form to pose great threat to the Hibs’ rearguard.

On the other hand, Hibernians will try to achieve the objective of winning the  second consecutive league in a row.

Both teams have faced each other twice in the league. In the first match, the Paolites narrowly beat San Gwann 5-4.

However in the second match, Hibernians secured an 8-2 advantage over their opponents.

In the second match, Balzan face a tough test when they take on third-place Luxol St Andrews (kick-off -21.30 hrs). The former are determined to clinch the double after having already won the FXDD Knock-Out competition.

Luxol, who have some former Balzan players in their squad, will try to surprise all odds and show they would be a hard nut to crack.

In their two encounters this season, both teams shared the spoils in a 5-5 draw but in the second match, Balzan saw off Luxol 5-3.

In these double headers, the team with the best aggregate result will qualify for the finals. If at the end of the second leg, the match ends in a  draw, extra-time will be played following which penalties will decide the winner of the contest.


Poker man Brincat stars in Qrendi’s final commitment

Qrendi ended their commitments for this season after chalking up another victory in the FXDD First Division.

It was a well-deserved victory for the team led by Shawn Rogers who showed superiority throughout the match.

Antonello Brincat was Qrendi’s inspirational player after netting four goals for his team.

Other goals were scored by Bertram Azzopardi, Luke  Zammit and Ronald Spina.

This victory gives moral to a bitter sweet season for Qrendi who had an exceptional first part of the season but failed to impress in the second part.

Siggiewi returned to winning ways after overcoming Kalkara’s opposition 7-3.

Three braces by James Borg, Benji Briffa and Craig Pickard gave the all-important three points for Siggiewi.

Kalkara pulled three back from Matthew Buttigieg, Karl Muscat and Keith Attard.

Mqabba and Sirens shared the spoils in an entertaining 5-5 score.

A brace by Karl Dimech, Steve Pace, Conrad Dimech and Karl Micallef put their names on the score sheet for Mqabba.



All Square between Hibs and Balzan

Hibernians ………..1

Balzan ………………1

(H.T 1-0)

Yesterday’s top clash between the champions and the current Knock Out winners ended all square in front of a fairly sized crowd at the Corradino Pavillion.

In an entertaining match, Balzan showed character to fight back and earn a point, while Hibernians maintained their unbeaten record in the league.

The result means that Balzan finished  joint second with Luxol, six points adrift from the Paolites.

In the first half, Hibernians were a superior outfit as Balzan tried to fight back.

But in the second half, it was a different story as Balzan were threatening the Hibs defence even with the introduction of the flying keeper.

The Paolites were getting  into the Balzan fort where keeper Farrugia excelled with some excellent saves.

On eight minutes, Hibernians went close from a drive by Carlos Lopez but Farrugia denied the Brazilian striker.

Thirty seconds later it was his compatriot Celino Alves who fired a shot from outside the semi-circle with the ball finishing high.

Hibernians were raging forward as on nine minutes captain Xavier Saliba had his shot going wide.

After ten minutes, Balzan went close when Dobre passed to Raducu who tried his luck with a shot from the edge of the area, but it just went over.

The match was becoming livelier as Hibernians were awarded a free shot taken by Saliba but keeper Farrugia denied the Paolites’ captain.

Dobre had two consecutive shots towards the Hibs goal but both were turned into corner by the Paolites’ agile keeper.

Forty-eight seconds before the break, Hibs surged ahead as referee Franco Cachia awarded a second consecutive free shot after Balzan’s seventh foul.

Jose Lopez made no mistake to put his team ahead.







Balzan went on the offensive at the start of the second half, but it was Hibernians who threatened first as Nicholas Farrugia, between Balzan’s goalposts, denied Celino Alves.

On the other end, Raducu took advantage of a defensive blunder but Christian Cassar denied the Romanian with a brilliant save.

Balzan were unlucky not to level the matters as the same Raducu hit the post on 24 minutes.

Despite all this, the goal was in the air as a fantastic Emil Raducu advances menacingly  and gave to Gabriel Dobre who tapped in to make it 1-1.  

On 27 minutes, Glenn Bonello was superb to clear off the line a Celino Alves shot.

 Christian Cassar was kept busy on 30 minutes when he had to repel two consecutive shots by Bonello and Del Re.

Now it was Balzan that were threatening the Paolites rearguard as their coach Gabriel Dobre opted for the flying keeper to keep their high pressure.

Two minutes from the end, Clint Cope lost an incredible occasion when his dipper finished just wide.

Despite the continuous pressure, Hibernians kept their cool and obtained a result that helped them keep  their unbeaten record.

Now both sides look carefully at the Championship play offs as Balzan face Luxol while Hibs play against San Gwann in a double header to be  played next Tuesday and Friday.

             Hibs : Christian Cassar, Melvin Borg, Jesmond Micallef, Xavier Saliba, David Bobokhidze, Cedric        Sciberras, Brian Baldacchino, Mark Zammit, Kurt Bartolo, Celino Alves, Andrew Cohen, Darren Agius

       Coach: Kevin Mifsud

Balzan: Nicholas Farrugia, Gabriel Dobre, Andrea Dan, Glenn Bonello, Reuben Grech, Matthew Xerxen, Giancarlo Sammut, Christian Wismayer, Nicola del Re, Jovica Milijic, Rennie Tanti, Emil Raducu, Clint Cope, Carlos Scicluna.

Coach: Gabriel Dobre

Referee 1: Franco Cachia

Referee 2:Jude Amin Utulu

Referee 3: David Balzan

Time-Keeper: Stephen Vella