Month: May 2015

It’s all well that ends well for Balzan

Another futsal season comes to an end, after seeing Balzan winning the Gatorade Knock Out Competition in the final against Luxol.

After the first minute Balzan started positvely when Boicho Marev broke the deadlock.

Three minutes later, Celino Alves equalized the score for Luxol.

Luxol finished the first half with two goals ahead scored by George Frendo and Peter Pullicino.

In the second half, Balzan were more organized and after 40 seconds Marev scored Balzan’s second goal.

In the fourth minute of the second half, Peter Pullicino netted his personal second goal and increased the lead for Luxol.

Five minutes later Balzan reacted fiercely and Glenn Bonello re-levelled the matters.

In the final seconds, Boicho Marev became Balzan’s additional player as the flying keeper.

This made way for the Croatian player coach Frane Despotovic to score Balzan’s winning goal, only nine seconds from the end.

This goal definitely ceased Luxol and initiated the well deserved Balzan’s celebrations.

After the end of the match, referees and both teams’ players were given the commemorative medals, followed by the presentation of the cup from FMA’s President Mark Borg to Balzan’s captain Carlo Scicluna.

Balzan and Luxol set their target to win

New champions Luxol will do their utmost to clinch the double after building up a fantastic season in the Premiership.

Luxol and Balzan are both well-shaped and ready to show off their high level of futsal to numerous spectators, at the Corradino Sport Pavillion.

When questioned by this site, Luxol’s player and coach Florin Anton, admitted that he is keen to continue the winning trail.

Florin Anton has built up and maintained good winning records in his Futsal history. In 6 years he registered 4 Premier Leagues (2 with Excess Lazio, 1 with Balzan and recently with Luxol), 2 Knock Out Competitions and 1 Super Cup with Balzan.

As a coach he confirmed that the same squad that appeared in the Premier Playoffs Final will also be available for the Knock Out Final, next Friday.

In the meantime, Balzan also have a good track record of 2 Premier Leagues, 3 Knock Out Competitions, 2nd Division Champions, 3rd Division Promotion Winners and also participated 3 times in the UEFA Futsal Cup.

Therefore Balzan are also looking forward to end the season on a positive note.

A Closer Look at…Stephen Mifsud (coach – Zebbug Rangers FC)

Name: Stephen Mifsud
Born on November 11th 1981
Place of Birth: Pieta’
Works as a Deliveryman.
Personal Motto: Live and let live.
I have been involved in futsal… for the last five years.
Futsal is… my main hobby. I give a large proportion of my free time  to futsal but it gives me a lot of satisfaction in return.
Mifsud while giving his instructions to his players
Photo: Mark Soler
Futsal involves… a lot of dedication, preparation and a communication with the players.
Zebbug Rangers FC is… a group of friends who are united together.
This year I am… not satisfied because we lost our place in the Premier Division.
My greatest moment was… last year when we got promoted to the Premier Division.
My main objective is… to win the First Division league and get back to the top division.
Zebbug Rangers FC.
Photo: Joe Borg.

Barbosa: A winning mentality helps you succeed

Name: William Da Silva Barbosa

Date of Birth: 2 June 1978 (age 36)

Place of Birth: Sao Paolo.

Plays with Luxol Futsal Club

William Barbosa,  regarded as one of the best foreign players in the Gatorade Futsal Premier League, is overwhelmed after his team’s success this season. 

He is even personally satisfied after placing top scorer of the league as well as giving a great share for Luxol’s success.

This website contacted the Brazilian forward who is no new name in the local football scene.

He signed his first professional contract in Brazil when he was only 14. During his career he played in Brazil, Germany, Holland, Spain, Switzerland and Italy.

He played  for two seasons with Valletta FC and was player-coach with First Division side Luxol St Andrews.

He also played for Premier Division side Tarxien Rainbows until he recently joined Gozitan side St Lawrence Spurs.

Futsal is one of his favourite sports and he has been playing with Luxol St Andrews for the past two years.

You  had a great season finishing  also top scorer of the league…

I’m personally satisfied with what I’ve achieved. I tried to work hard to reach my personal targets and succeeded to score important goals that helped me finish top scorer.

Luxol were a greatly organized side this season.

Yes it’s true. We tried to find those players that could give us that extra push to boost our chances of winning the league.

We succeeded to keep almost the same players of last season with the addition of some new ones that ensured a better quality to the team.

 

 

 

What is the secret behind Luxol’s success?

I think that hard work, unity and commitment were three important factors behind our success.   Then you have the individual skills of certain players that can make a difference in crucial matches.

Next Friday you have another final against Balzan. Certainly you would relish a double…

Well our first objective was to win the title and we have reached that goal. Now we have to focus on this final and we need to work hard to achieve our second title of the season.

 

 

 

 

 

You have also played for St Lawrence Spurs in the Gozitan Football League during this season.

Yes it’s true. It was a great experience with St Lawrence Spurs as I’ve even found a family more than just a team and this kept us united to achieve important results.

Your future regarding football.

I love football and I would like to continue playing. I think that I can still give my part in the local football and futsal scene. I wish to continue doing well.

Do you have other objective for the future?

My main objective is always to maintain this winning mentality so that I could continue to achieve positive results.

 

 

 

 

Luxol dethrone Balzan to clinch title

Luxol have been crowned as the Gatorade Futsal Premier League champions after winning their second play-off final and beat outgoing champions Balzan.

Balzan struggled to find their rhythm in a first half shaded by Luxol who deservedly built a two goal advantage but in the second half the former side improved and after some tactical switches, they stormed into their opponents to level the score.

Despite all this, Luxol still remained concentrated and soon two more goals followed. The fired-up Balzan tried to rattle past the St Andrews defence who absorbed their opponents’ pressure to administer their advantage.

A sizeable crowd headed to the Corradino Pavillion to watch this second play-off final as both set of supporters created a vibrant atmosphere.

The two coaches had no particular formation problems as they could field their full squads for this decisive encounter.

Despotovic chose Christian Cassar to replace regular keeper Nicholas Farrugia while Reuben Grech deputised Adrian Attard between posts for Luxol.

The match had to start 30 minutes later than scheduled because of some road closures in the vicinities of the Corradino Pavillion due to filming.

Luxol broke the deadlock inside the opening two minutes when Peter Pullicino cut inside from the right before freeing William Barbosa who fired home his team’s advantage.

Luxol would have doubled the scoring on 8 minutes when the revitalized Dean Gera found Florin Anton but his shot finished wide.

The St Andrews outfit remained the brighter side, taking control of midfield, adopting high pressing while Florin Anton, Celino Alves and William Barbosa were dynamic figures on the court.

Balzan created their first real chance on 9 minutes when Mark Zammit’s grounder finished wide.

Midway into the first half, Reuben Grech blocked two consecutive shots by Boicho Marev and Slobodan Janjic.

Even Cassar was tested by the scintillating William Barbosa whose shot was blocked into corner by the Balzan’s keeper.

One minute later, Luxol doubled the score when Dean Gera drove towards byline on the left before passing to the unmarked William Barbosa who poked home to send his fans into raptures.

Two goals down, Balzan showed signs of making a reaction. On 15 minutes Frane Despotovic met Slobodan Janjic’s pass, to produce a fierce shot that left no chance for Grech.

Three minutes from half-time, Luxol striker William Barbosa was unlucky to hit the upright after a good counter attack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balzan began the second half in brisk mode. Their improvement was rewarded on 23 minutes when Glenn Bonello’s effort finished at the back of the net to restore parity.

Despite this goal, Luxol kept their composure and in no time they regained their advantage when Dean Gera’s piledriver surprised Christian Cassar to make it 3-2 for his team.

This goal confused Balzan’s plans as Cassar avoided a classical own goal by Despotovic whose erratic low clearance was pawed away by his keeper.

Luxol took advantage of this and managed to score their fourth as Florin Anton led a quick counter attack to send Barbosa in a good position to convert.

The Brazilian nippy striker surged forward on 35 minutes but his shot finished against the post.

It was now Balzan’s turn to pile the pressure. Slobodan Janjic darted past the Luxol players to slot past the onrushing Grech to send some hopes among the Balzan clan.

The pressure continued to increase as  Mark Zammit had the equalizer on his feet on 37 minutes but he missed an incredible chance in front of goal after hitting wide.

Then Zammit was unlucky one minute later when he hit the post after a good Balzan move.

Luxol found the time to try to extend the lead but Cassar was superlative when he saved two efforts by Gera and Alves.

As the minutes trickled by, Balzan upped their pressure, forcing a couple of corners and introducing Marev and Despotovic as flying keepers but their efforts foundered on the solid Luxol rearguard who secured the results till the end.

Chants of “Campioni, Campioni” resonated around the Pavillion after the final whistle.

FMA President, Mark Borg alongside Vice President Alfred Camilleri and a Gatorade representative,  presented the medals and trophies to the new champions.

Both teams will now face each other next Friday for the Gatorade Futsal Knock-Out competition final.

A Closer Look at…James Borg (Player – Siggiewi FC)

Name: James Borg

Born on September 29th 1988

Lives in Mosta.

Works as a Salesman.

Personal Motto: Always trust your own intuition before taking anyone else’s word.

I have been involved in futsal for… the last two seasons.

Futsal is… a game that keeps you focused; a sport that keeps you guessing the score till the last second and improves the technique and mental strength of any player

 

 

Siggiewi Futsal is… a team created by friends for friends led by club president Steve Gingell Littlejohn. We train and enjoy the company of each other, improve our futsal abilities. This game can be described as a stress reliever from our daily routines.

This year I am… satisfied with our team’s performance because although we are a small squad and often some of the players have to travel for work commitments,  we always give our best no matter the number of players we have on the day. Moreover,  the most important thing is that we have fun and respect each other like brothers.

I am not satisfied… with the results as they didn’t reflect the sacrifices we made.

My greatest moment was… this season when we beat promotion contenders Mellieha after producing an excellent performance.

My main objective is… to help Siggiewi get better results, improve our performances game by game and keep the big respect among players, opponents and officials.

 

 

 

 

Luxol eye title, Last Chance for Balzan

Luxol head into their second leg play-off final clash against Balzan tonight (kick-off  20.30 hrs)  in high spirits after a dramatic triumph over their same opponents on Friday.

The St Andrews side will take to the court at the Corradino Pavillion eager to record a second consecutive win to clinch the title for the first time since FMA took charge of the organization of the local futsal scene as well as participate for the first time in the UEFA Futsal Cup.

While Luxol go into the game on a high following their first leg 4-3 win, Balzan have all the pressure in their hands as it will be their last chance to level the matters and leave everything for a possible third match.

Balzan are not ready to throw the towel and want to bounce back to victory.

They have worked hard during this week as coach Frane Despotovic tried to focus on certain details to fine tune some crucial tactics.

When asked about tonight’s match, Bulgarian international Boicho Marev confirmed that Balzan are well-prepared for tonight’s game. They want to be good both physically and psychologically to face this game with a positive attitude.

Marev predicts another evenly contested match between the best two teams in local futsal.

As Brazilian playmaker, Celino Alves states, Luxol are keen to maintain their positive trend during this second leg as they aim to repeat the great performance shown in their last match.

Luxol’s talisman player insisted that his team wants to maintain this form of late that led to a successful season and want to finish on a high note.

Asked about Balzan, Alves believes that their opponents have good experienced players and will not give up.

He predicts another balanced encounter that could be decided by a single glimpse.

If the match ends in a draw, penalties will follow immediately to have a clear winner. A Luxol victory will give them the championship title.

On the other hand, Balzan need a win to restore parity in the aggregate matches. Eventually the final match will be played next Friday.

 

 

 

A Closer Look at…Karl Micallef (President/Secretary/Goalkeeper- Luqa SA)

Name: Karl Micallef

Born on October 14th 1986

Lives in Rabat.

Work as a storekeeper and a delivery person

Personal Motto: “You only live once”

I have been involved in futsal for… 9 years. I played 3 years with River Plate and 2 years with Kerygma. At the  present moment Andrew Scerri and  I are playing and at the same time managing Luqa St Andrew’s.

Futsal is… not just a game but also a form of art expressed by a single player or a team.

Being… a President, a Secretary, and a goalkeeper requires passion, determination and love for the game. The satisfaction lies on respect, sacrifice and loyalty of the players and the staff.

Luqa Futsal Club is… a group of friends who are determined to learn and improve futsal skills to a better level.

 

 

 

 

 

 

This year I am… extremely satisfied with my team’s  performance  especially with the new players introduced for the first time to futsal.  Thanks to their determination and willingness to improve their futsal skills, we managed to make a great first round and a fair second round. We are  hoping to build on what we have achieved this year.

My greatest moment in futsal was… a few years ago when I played for River Plate and we were promoted to Second division and  eventually we won the second division league.

I would like to …win the league with my team Luqa St Andrew’s Futsal.

Late goal sinks Balzan, Luxol gain advantage

A roller-coaster match conjured up a dramatic finale as Luxol’s William Barbosa struck the decisive goal in the dying seconds to down Balzan 4-3  in an enjoyable game to give the first win in the Gatorade Futsal Premier League play-off leg 1 final.

It was a typical encounter between two heavyweights in the local futsal scene.

Luxol gained a double advantage but Balzan always reacted to reduce the score until the already mentioned goal gave the St Andrews side the first advantage ahead of next week’s second game.

The match attracted a number of supporters at the Corradino Pavillion and those present were not certainly disappointed as both teams played a good level of futsal.

Luxol surged ahead after five minutes when Celino Alves found the net from long range with Balzan’s keeper surprised.

One minute later the St Andrews outfit doubled the score when Celino Alves served Florin Anton who tapped in to make it 2-0 for his team.

Balzan’s keeper Nicholas Farrugia was kept busy during these moments as he denied Alves and Barbosa from the joy of goal.

Balzan called a time-out, with coach Despotovic emphasizing more on the offensive aspect.

In fact Glenn Bonello had the time to reduce the score for Balzan after a grounder that left no chance to Luxol’s keeper Adrian Attard.

Then Marev was unlucky as he hit the post twice for Balzan.

14 seconds from half-time Luxol were awarded a freekick which William Barbosa converted to extend the lead for his team.

However, Balzan were quick to respond as six seconds later Bonello connected well a Boycho Marev pass to slot home and score his side’s second goal.

Balzan started the second half onn the offensive and Marev hit the post twice until Despotovic saw his three efforts saved by Luxol’s goalie Attard.

On 32 minutes Pullicino tried his luck with a low shot but Farrugia was superlative to deny him from the joy of goal.

One minute later, William Barbosa missed a good chance for Luxol as he shot wide.

From the consecutive action,  Mark Zammit was unlucky to hit the post with Adrian Attard limping injured to be replaced by reserve goalkeeper Reuben Grech.

The latter was called in action 25 seconds later as he saved a Boycho Marev shot. However from the rebound Mark Zammit was quick to hit the target for the equalizer.

The match looked set to go to penalties to declare the first winner for this encounter.

However Brazilian William Barbosa had other ideas as his header met a Celino Alves cross with the ball flashing past Nicholas Farrugia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Balzan, Luxol cross swords in decisive encounters

It may be considered as the local ‘Clasico’, the encounter between Balzan and Luxol. Both sides meet tonight (kick-off 20.30 hrs) for the best-out-of-three Gatorade Futsal Premier League play-offs final at the Corradino Pavillion.  

These three important clashes are expected to be a real title show-down for all the Maltese futsal followers.

Both teams will also face each other in the Gatorade Futsal Knock-Out competition, to be played later on this month.

Luxol, who won 15 out of 18 matches, boast the best attack with lethal striker William Barbosa and Brazilian Celino Alves in fine form.

They had a comfortable qualification for the final after imposing themselves on Valletta 15-5 on aggregate.

On the other hand, Balzan, who are the outgoing champions, had to sweat hard to see off Hamrun Spartans as they had to go on extra time to obtain qualification for the final 13-11 on aggregate.

Balzan hope that their foreign trio Despotovic, Marev and Janjic will be keen to persist with their scoring spree against Luxol to retain the title which they had won last year.

Both teams have met each other twice during this season.

Luxol emerged as winners in the first round after seeing off Balzan 11-5. However, the latter bounced back with a 6-3 victory over the St Andrews side in the second round match.

This website contacted both player/coaches Frane Despotovic (Balzan) and Florin Anton (Luxol) who willingly gave us their comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Despotovic was satisfied with his team’s performance during this year and feels happy to play in the final.

“It is always pleasure to play in the final because it is a gift for the hard year of work for us. So we are satisfied that we can enjoy these final legs.
“We are preparing tactically and mentally for these games. Hope we will enjoy on the pitch.
Asked about the hard semifinal against Hamrun Spartans, Despotovic was optimistic.
“Our mentality after the semis thriller is on a very good level because we realized that we can go back from the hard situations which is very important in sports.”

When asked about Luxol, the Croatian international showed a lot of respect towards his opponents.

“Statistics speak about Luxol this year. They are playing very well in both directions, attack and defense. They were the best team in regular season but they have to prove that they are the best in the playoffs. We are respecting them but we will try to win.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the other hand, Florin Anton was concentrated ahead of these important matches.

“This is the most important game of the season. We worked hard to earn it and we’re preparing every single detail. We are training everyday and emphasizing on a lot of tactical training.”

Anton is happy in his second experience as player-coach with Luxol, who kept the core of their team from last season.

“We are a united group with the president, players, team manager and all the committee who have been together for the last two years.”

“If we win this will be the first time that Luxol will compete in the UEFA Futsal Cup.”

Asked about his opponents Anton is cautious.

“Balzan is a very good team with a lot of experience and start as favourite to win the league.”

The match between Luxol 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.