Month: March 2015

More excitement on the way to the Playoffs

Lija Athletics beat Naxxar Lions 2-0 in a match where they didn’t impress so much. This victory helped them to become firm favourites to win the championship after having clinched the promotion earlier on.

Lija were unlucky not to score in four occasions as they hit the post after tries from Ribic, Manea and Del Re. On the other hand, Naxxar tried to offer a good reaction but weren’t so dangerous in front of goal. Floren Manea and Zeljko Anicic were on the mark for the Athletics.

 

Bottom placed B’Bugia stunned Luqa 6-1.

It was a match which highlighted the progress made in the last part of the season by Silvio Mifsud’s boys who had inspirational players Jean Paul Abdilla and Andrea Cutajar a continuous menace to the Luqa rearguard.

Luqa dominated the first 5 minutes of the match but after scoring the first goal, the Southsiders dominated the proceedings and there was no match for Luqa.

Jean Paul Abdilla, Peter Mark Cachia and Andrea Cutajar netted a brace each while Robert Portelli reduced the score for Luqa.

 

Attard ensure their place in the playoffs after beating Mqabba 4-1.

Player and coach Kevin Loughborough, Adrian Lee, Clayton Farrugia and Matthew Buttigieg made it through a much important win for Attard.

Etienne Rodo scored Mqabba’s only goal.

 

Msida grabbed their fourth consecutive win which keeps them very close to Attard, which means close to the playoffs, after beating Qrendi 5-4.

Msida made it through braces from Zvezdan Vukovic and Marian Gologan, together with a goal scored from Chris Cutajr.

Antonello Brincat, Steve Shead, Fabian Vella and Sam Vella reduced the score for Qrendi.

 

It was a night to remember for Mdina Knights’ players and the numerous University mates, who came enthusiastically to watch the game at the Corradino Sport Pavillion.

It was quite a balanced encounter between Mdina and Sirens, where the second half determined who was going to win.

Jason Camilleri broke the dreadlock for Sirens, after the first seven minutes of play.

Mdina reacted fiercely with a brace from Dalziel Bugeja, putting the Knights at rest during the half time break.

In the beginning of the second half Sirens looked to be more organized but Cleaven Portelli managed to increase the score for the Knights.

Jason Camilleri scored two more goals pushing Sirens forward to turn the result in their favour.

Ryan Theuma also scored for Sirens, keeping those present watching in excitement.

But Mdina Knights gathered all their forces to come out victorious, when Neil Cauchi and Cleaven Portelli’s second goal made the final score 5-4.

Absolutely the Knights were led by their goalkeeper Matthew Gatt who was superb and managed to save one of the two freeshots awarded to Sirens, taken by Pierre Spiteri.

The other freeshot was sent off target by Jason Camilleri.

 

Promoted Mellieha cruised to an emphatic 11-0 win against Siggiewi.

Melieha’s player and coach Nikolay Filipov scored five goals, Robert Magro found the net twice, while Daniel Saliba and Darren Aitchinson also put their name once on the large scorers’ list.

Siggiewi ended up completely exhausted and unfortunately Steve Gingell Littlejohn did an autogoal which marked the eighth goal for the Northeners.

 

The First Division league resumes next Thursday with the following matches

19:45 Sirens vs Qrendi

21:15 B’bugia vs Attard

 

A Closer Look at….Randall Vella (Mdina Knights FC)

 Name: Randall Vella

 Date of Birth: 16/7/1992 (22 years old)

Place of Birth: Cospicua

 Works in the Motor Claims Dept in an insurance company.

 His personal motto is: Life is all about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward.”

How did you begin to play futsal?

I started to play Futsal, thanks to my friend Jurgen Damato, who is also the team manager of our futsal team. I was recovering from my ACL injury, and thus I was struggling with confidence. I couldn’t join the team before since I didn’t want to rush my recovery.

Eventually I was chosen with Mdina after making it in the trials.

Describe futsal in three words.

Fun, Passion and Teamwork

At Mdina Knights the team resembles a great family. Talk about this fact.

Yes it is. And it doesn’t depend on the results we get. In fact it was this way from day one I joined the team, when we were struggling at the bottom places of the first division. We are more or less of the same age, and we also frequent the same places through out the week, which helps a lot.

The supporters are also behind you in key matches as well…

Yes they are always behind us through thick and thin. They are our sixth man in the court, and they drive us to make that extra effort, even when things are not coming our way. It always gives us that extra edge over our opponent.

Your greatest moment so far in futsal…

I must say that all matches had some particular moments to remember. However, beating title contenders Mellieha was the highest point of this season. I must also point out that with yesterday’s win against Sirens we ensured a top half finish in our first year!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The advantages and disadvantages of this game.

Advantages – it improves your technical abilities and confidence with the ball!

Disadvantages – over confidence could be a disadvantage as well !

Your objectives for the future.

My objective is to end this season in a positive way and start building up for something bigger next year. Also, every player’s dream is that one day represent his country with his national team.

A Closer Look at … Slobodan Janjic (Balzan)

Name: Slobodan Janjic

Born on 17th February 1987 (28 years old)

Place of Birth: Serbia

Position: Winger

Regular member of the Serbian National Team and last played for Ekonomac Kragujevac.

How long have you been playing futsal?

I’ve been playing futsal for seven years. I played most of my career with Ekonomac Kragujevac, a futsal club based in Serbia.

You are also a regular member of the Serbian National Team.

I’ve been selected to play for the Serbian national team for the past six years now. I played two European Championships (Hungary 2010 and Croatia 2012) and one World Cup (Thailand 2012).

 

 

 

You even played in Malta last December in the friendly international tournament.

Yes in fact, I have played against Malta and Gibraltar here at the Corradino Pavillion. I had the chance to have the first taste of this beautiful island.

What do you think about the local futsal teams?

Well there are good teams playing in the Premier Division and there is a good challenge for the final title.

How are you feeling with Balzan?

I am really happy with this team, I am part of a great family where each member of the group, including the president and all the committee take good care of you.

What do you think about Balzan?

As I said, this is a fantastic group, Balzan are a very organized team and take things seriously.

Talk about your debut with Balzan.

I remember that we played against Mosta and we won 6-3. I was a bit excited in my first match but as minutes passed by,  I grew in confidence and managed to score my first goals and help my team gain the most important victory.

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you think about Balzan’s chances to win the league?

I believe that we can do it. There are strong teams and now that we have the direct clashes we need to keep concentrated and focused to prepare for the final four and eventually confirm the title we had won last season.

What are your main objectives for this season?

Without doubt, I would like to win the league with Balzan.

 

 

Title Hopefuls Luxol, Balzan gain vital wins

As another Premier Division round of matches was played at the Corradino Pavillion,  title hopefuls Luxol and Balzan obtained important victories over Mosta and Valletta respectively to gear up for the final play-off to be played soon. 

Luxol dominated their game against Mosta from start to finish, winning it 12-2.

This win helped the St Andrews side to maintain the top of the table, also boasting the best attack of the campaign with 138 goals in their account.

After managing a 4-1 advantage before the break, Luxol continued with their intense pressure and it was hard for the Blues to hold their opponents attacking spree.

Karl Saliba, William Barbosa and Ibrahim Tarek netted a hat-trick each, Celino Alves hit the target twice while George Frendo added another one for the league leaders.

Mosta reduced the score from Eslam Khalifa and Laszlo Hayossy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balzan registered their fourth consecutive win after seeing off Valletta 5-1.

Despite the scoreline, it was not an easy stroll for the Champions as the Citizens were a different lot from the team that struggled so much against the same opponents in the KO semifinal.

This time, Valletta were more organized and disciplined in their approach and managed to block most of Balzan’s attacks.

Balzan took advantage of some defensive mistakes to punish the Citizens and clinch another important victory in view of their double top of the table clashes against Hamrun and Luxol respectively.

The Champions surged ahead after 3 minutes when a defensive blunder led Mark Zammit to put the ball home and make it 1-0.

Valletta tried a fierce reaction but found Balzan’s keeper Nicholas Farrugia in good form.

The Lilywhites were denied from a goal after Montes Burgos’ freekick hit the post on 15 minutes.

One minute later Balzan doubled the score after Boicho Marev finalized a solo run to slot the ball past Matthew Mifsud.

On 18 minutes, Glenn Bonello profited from another defensive mistake to fire Balzan’s third goal.

Valletta reduced the scoreline seconds from the break when Bandeira passed to Melvin Borg who immediately scored his team’s first goal.

In the second half, Valletta surged forward but Despotovic’s boys managed to score two more goals from a great lob by Karl Azzopardi and Marco Conti after a great run by Janjic.

They were even unlucky on 30 minutes when Giancarlo Sammut saw his effort hitting the post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swieqi and Zebbug had to settle for a point each after an exciting 3-3 encounter.

For Zebbug this was their second point of the season, while Swieqi dropped two points in their quest for the fourth place.

Jonathan Scerri, Ingo Dolora and an own goal were on the mark for Zebbug.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Swieqi’s goals came from Paul Hyzler, Jeremy Alden and an own goal.

In another thrilling match, Gzira and Qormi shared the spoils in a 4-4 draw.

Lija continue with their sole leadership, dramatic comeback for Qrendi

Sirens vs Lija 0-6

Two goals from Nicola Del Re, together with Aleksander Ribic, Zeljko Anicic, Jean Bert Gatt and Mark Mizzi were enough for the Athletics to get what it takes for their sole leadership in the First Division.

Even though Sirens had a tough game against Lija, their positive attitude made them look forward and resulted positively in their next encounter with Luqa.

 

Luqa vs Sirens 2-7

Sirens performed with flying colours; with braces from Etienne Bonnici and Jason Camilleri together with goals from Antoine Galea, Jonathan Sammut and Leonard Zammit.

Andrew Scerri and Justin Muscat reduced the score line for Luqa St. Andrew’s.

 

Luqa vs Mellieha 1-5

Luqa had already another defeat this week against Mellieha who returned with Daniel Saliba’s goal and braces from Nikolay Filipov and Radoslav Kovachev.

Luqa’s only goal in this match was scored by Carl Grech.

 

B’Bugia vs Mdina 4-6

Mdina Knights continued their positive trail, obtaining their second win for this season against B’Bugia.

The Knights left their mark with Randall Vella, Robert Peplow, Ranald Portelli, Neil Cauchi and Cleaven Portelli twice.

Andrea Cutajar’s brace and goals from Anthero Agius and Peter Mark Cachia reduced the score for the Southeners.

 

Mqabba vs Naxxar 2-3

This quite balanced encounter between Mqabba and Naxxar ended in a 3-2 win for the Lions.

The score for Mqabba was opened in the very first minute of the game by Mark Spiteri, ex-Naxxar player.

The draw obtained by Roderick Attard after 11 minutes of play, was made 2-1 by Paul Bugeja three minutes later for Naxxar Lions.

After the break both teams lacked initiatives such that the second half was meant to be a status quo.

It was in the 26th minute that Mark Spiteri made his personal brace, while Ryan Mifsud managed to score the winning goal in the 38th minute.

 

Qrendi vs Attard 5-4

It was a thrilling game between Qrendi and Attard with the end result being determined in the final minutes of the game.

Initially Attard showed themselves as favourites with Gerry Christopher Fabbro, Clayton Farrugia, Matthew Buttigieg and Byron Fenech scored for Attard. However in the second half, Qrendi did a good come back and came out as winners, with Antonello Brincat’s brace, Alan Zammit, Bertram Azzopardi and Clayton Borg who scored for Qrendi.

 

Siggiewi vs Msida 4-11

Msida are heading for the playoffs with another great result, this time against Siggiewi.

Siggiewi are passing through a negative period as they didn’t manage to win this year.

Msida’s wide scorers’ list was made up of Marian Gologan’s poker, braces from Zvezdan Vukovic, Chris Cutajar and Herbert Spiteri and another goal by Noel Portelli.

A brace from James Borg and goals from Glenn Gauci and Philip Caruana turner reduced the score for Siggiewi.

 

 

Girls show enthusiasm in exhibition match

An exhibition match between two female teams was held at the Corradino Pavillion before the first KO semifinal between Balzan and Valletta.

The activity which was organized by coordinator Maria Coppola, together with FMA, was meant to attract more girls to this wonderful game.

The crowd, who was present for this event, was delighted by the enthusiasm that the girls showed during this activity.

Many of these girls are already participating in the 11-a-side football  league and the general comment was that they would like to have their own futsal league.

This website has contacted Maria Coppola who was satisfied with the girls’ participation.

“I am quite satisfied with what we have achieved so far. We are meeting every now and then and organize these exhibition matches before an important match.”

Coppola believes that these activities are vital to increase women’s participation in futsal.

” We need to continue organizing these matches as they will give a good promotion to women’s futsal.”

During this exhibition match, Stephanie Vella, who normally acts as a time-keeper in official matches organized by the FMA, made her official debut as a referee.

 

 

Luxol to meet again Balzan in another final

Holders Balzan will face off Luxol again, six months after their previous meeting in the Super Cup Final.

Luxol were absolutely the better team to take the vacant place in the final against Balzan.

Qormi were without Blendi Gockaj, Marwan Telisi, Luke John Stivala, David Alex Smith Cordina and Aaron Agius, while Luxol were without Matteo Desira Buttigieg, George Frendo and Dean Gera.

Luxol’s trio Barbosa-Alves-Anton were contiuosly well engaged and managed to control the game.

After nine minutes play, William Barbosa broke the deadlock from the penalty spot and the same player doubled the score, five minutes later.

Luxol kept on scoring through two braces by Florin Anton and Dale Camilleri.

So it is all to be decided on Thursday 30th April, whether Balzan will keep the cup or else Luxol will take the challenge and take their first title of this season.

Qormi: Marco Coccia, Armando Gjepali, Endrit Kaca, Charlo Magro, Allen Medati, Jesmond Micallef, Christopher Richard, Jonathan Sammut, Jurgen Tabone, Dario Arran Zampa, Gilbert Hill

Coach: Mario Gaffiero

Luxol: Karl Saliba, Celino Alves De Freitas, Dale Camilleri, Wiliam Barbosa, Jason Mifsud, Peter Pullicino, Michael Grima, Adrian Attard, Jonathan Micallef, Florin Anton, Karl Lepre, Tarek Ibrahim

Coach: Florin Anton

Referee 1: Franco Cachia

Referee 2: David Balzan

Referee 3: Stephen Vella

Time-keeper: Stepanie Axiaq

 

Luxol, Qormi seek final date with Balzan

Luxol are keen to seek a place in the KO final to be played on the 30th April 2015 when they face Qormi tonight (kick-off 21.45hrs).

Both teams are passing from contrasting moments in the championship.

Luxol are still undefeated and have maintained their leadership in the table while Qormi, who have done so well in the first phase of the league, are coming from three disappointing defeats.

This semifinal can be a good chance to make up for the recent disappointments as coach Mario Gaffiero hopes that his Albanian duo Blendi Gockaj and Endrit Kaca together with Basil Onuta find their scoring spree to surprise the league leaders.

As already said, Florin Anton’s boys are coming from a good run in the championship and the Luxol mentor can rely on Brazilian duo William Barbosa and Celino Alves as well as local talents Matteo Desira Buttigieg and Dale Camilleri who have scored important goals to push forward their intentions for a double.

Both teams have already met twice in the league with the first round figuring in an entertaining 6-6 equalizer with the St Andrews side dominating the second round match 12-3.

This website contacted Qormi’s Blendi Gockaj and Luxol’s Celino Alves, two keys players who will face each other tonight.

Celino Alves (Luxol)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brazilian player Celino Alves knows that this encounter will be a different story from the one played last week (when Luxol defeated Qormi 12-3)

“It will be a very different match, we are adopting a different approach as this will be knock-out match and everything can happen.”

Alves demands concentration from Luxol as Qormi will certainly be motivated to do well.

“We have to be concentrated from the very first second of the match because Qormi want to save their season so Luxol have to be on the alert.”

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, Blendi Gockaj is aware of the great task ahead.

“We know that this is going to be a very difficult game for us. We also know that we are not passing from a bright patch.”

“But we are looking at this semifinal as an occasion to save our season as we know that our chances for the play-offs are very minimal.”

Luxol had the better of Mosta (8-1) and Zebbug (9-4) in the previous round while Qormi saw off Mqabba (8-1), Mdina (9-1) and Hamrun (8-5) on their path to the semifinals.

 

 

 

We are keen to keep winning more titles- Marev

Immediately after the match between Balzan and Valletta this website contacted Boicho Marev (Balzan) and Matthew Mifsud (Valletta) to give a general comment about yesterday night’s semifinal.

As expected, Marev was elated about his team’s performance during the entire match.

“It was a very positive performance from Balzan. We are very happy of this achievement. At Balzan we are united and keen to keep winning more titles.”

Asked about next month’s final Marev was very prudent in his approach.

“It’s good to defend the title but this is a final and in one game everything can happen. So let’s concentrate and prepare well for the coming league commitments and gear up gradually for the KO final.”

On the other hand, the Citizens’ goalkeeper Matthew Mifsud, was disappointed about the outcome of the match.

“We knew it was going to be a very tough game against a strong team. Despite all this I’m disappointed that we weren’t capable of showing our best and produce a decent reaction.”

“Although we are all disappointed, on the positive side this can serve us a lesson to improve our level and carry it for our objective to place fourth in the league and participate in the final play-offs”

Mifsud, also found the time to congratulate his opponents for their bold performance.

“Well done to Balzan. They are a very good team and have played a very intense match.”

 

 

 

Balzan turn on the style to blow Valletta away

Serbian international Slobodan Janjic was three times on the mark as Balzan outpaced Valletta to win 10-2 and close in on a fourth final in three years.

The KO holders were simply irresistible as they dominated the first half and broke the deadlock after three minutes when Mark Zammit reached a Frane Despotovic pass to slot home.

Zammit had two chances 20 seconds later but Valletta’s keeper Matthew Mifsud denied him with two important saves.

Despite all this, the Valletta custodian was beaten one minute later after a fierce drive by Slobodan Janjic finished at the back of the net.

Valletta tried to react and on 7 minutes Xavier Saliba’s shot was repelled by Nicholas Farrugia.

Once the early advances subsided, Balzan continued to dominate possession and their incessant pressing forced Valletta to move the ball quickly out of defence. Trio Marev-Despotovic-Janjic looked dangerous on either flank and the latter managed to score Balzan’s third after taking advantage of a rebound.
The Citizens were stunned and found it difficult to absorb their opponents non-stop offensive display.

In a swift counter attack Karl Azzopardi fired home to make it 4-0 for Balzan.

On 16 minutes, Balzan’s player-coach Frane Despotovic notched his team’s fifth goal.

Valletta, buoyed by a mammoth task to overcome this heavy deficit did make a reaction as Saliba’s lob finished just wide from Farrugia’s goalpost.

Seven seconds before the break, Javier Montes Burgos reduced the arrears for Valletta to make it 5-1.

The Citizens regained their composure after the interval, but were undone once more six minutes after it, as Balzan increased their tally.

Frane Despotovic‘s freekick went straight into the net for the joy of Balzan’s supporters.

Glenn Bonello was on the mark on 27 minutes after applying his finishing touch as his team conducted a swift counter-attack.

Balzan’s goalkeeper Nicholas Farrugia was magnificent one minute later as he saved a Denis di Maio shot.

Valletta managed to score again when Shawn Vella slotted home a Denis di Maio pass.

This goal didn’t discourage Balzan as they continued to surge forward and managed to find two more goals through Mark Zammit and Slobodan Janjic.

The latter received a standing ovation after an amazing back-heel effort to make it 9-2.

Valletta were caught out once more before the end. Glenn Bonello completed a personal brace, drifting in from the right and slotting into the far corner to rubberstamp his team’s greatest win.
The end of the match brought great satisfaction among the Balzan players and supporters who continued their quest to close another memorable season.
Balzan: Nicholas Farrugia, Slobodan Janjic, Boicho Marev, Glenn Bonello, Frane Despotovic, Carlo Scicluna, Carl Azzopardi, Matthew Attard, Mark Zammit, Giancarlo Sammut, Clive Calleja, Adrian Lia.
Coach: Frane Despotovic.
Valletta: Matthew Mifsud, Javier Montes Burgos, Cedric Sciberras, Melvin Borg, Fabio Bandeira, Xavier Saliba, Shawn Vella, Alan Borg,  Bryan Deguara, Neil Cuschieri, Denis di Maio, Daniel Mifsud.
Coach: Clayton Felice.
Referee 1: Pierre Bonnici
Referee 2: Jonathan Mallia
Referee 3: Kristof Zsakas
Time-Keeper: Jonathan Balzan