Month: December 2015

2015 Round Up: Luxol steal the show,

As the end of the year 2015 is fast approaching, we take a look at the main events that characterized the futsal scene during the past twelve months.
Without doubt, Luxol stole the show after winning the Gatorade Futsal League and eventually the Gatorade Super Cup.
The Maltese national team was also in action for the UEFA and FIFA qualifiers while FMA successfully announced a new 3-year sponsorship agreement with Gatorade.

These are the main events that happened during this year:
January 2015
Malta hosts EURO Futsal Qualifiers
England…….3
Malta………..0
England clinched the first victory in the EURO Futsal Qualifiers after beating Malta 3-0 at the Corradino Pavillion.
England scored the goals that mattered through Ian Parkes, Luke Ballinger and Agon Rexha.
Malta’s best chance fell on 38 minutes as Matteo Desira Buttigieg saw his shot saved off the line by English defender George Nash.
Andorra …. 4
Malta ………0
It was a hard night for the Maltese National Team who suffered the second defeat in the UEFA Futsal Euro 2016 Preliminary Round.
Andorra found the net through braces from Carlos Manuel Barbosa and Ignacio Llamas.
For Malta, Nicola Del Re hit the post twice and Jovica Milijic hit the bar from a free-kick.

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Malta………..0
Latvia……….8
Mark Marlow’s boys were humbled by Latvia 8-0 in their final match of the UEFA qualifiers.
Latvia had to score more than three goals to make sure of their progress in the competition.
A hat-trick by Andres Aleksejevs, a brace from Arturs Jerofejevs and Maksims Sens, Andrejs Sustrovs were the goal-getters for Latvia.
Latvia placed first in Group E on seven points like England but had a better goal difference, Andorra placed third with three points while Malta remained rooted at the bottom of the group with no points from three matches.

March 2015
Semifinals Gatorade KO
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 managed to score more goals through braces from Glenn Bonello, Mark Zammit and Frane Despotovic with Karl Azzopardi adding another one for Boicho Marev’s side.
Valletta reduced the scoreline from Javier Montes Burgos and Shawn Vella.
In the other semifinal Luxol had an easy task as they beat Qormi 6-0. Luxol’s trio Barbosa-Alves-Anton were a continuous menace to the Qormi rearguard who tried to absorb their opponents’ fierce attacks.
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.

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April 2015
Invincible Lija uncork the champagne
Lija’s final ambition was reached when the new Gatorade Futsal First Division League champions dominated Mqabba 6-0 in their last match, on a day that was reserved for their celebrations.
Aleksandar Ribic, who was fundamental for the Athletic’s promotion, notched a poker while Nicola del Re and Larkin Saffett completed the score for Lija.
The afternoon’s climax was reached when the new champions were presented with the winners’ trophy from FMA vice- president Alfred Camilleri, for them to savour a much deserved success.

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FMA announces new sponsorship deal – GATORADE
The Futsal Malta Association successfully announced a new 3-year sponsorship agreement with Gatorade.
Through this sponsorship agreement, Simonds Farsons Cisk plc, the importers of Gatorade, will be branding the National Futsal Competitions organised by the Futsal Association (FMA) through the Gatorade brand.

May 2015
Msida promoted after intense game.
Msida St Joseph were promoted to the Gatorade Futsal Premier League after seeing off a mighty Naxxar Lions side 8-5.
It was an evenly balanced match that kept all those present at the Corradino Pavillion on tenterhooks.
The match had to go on extra-time after both sides were tied on a 4-4 scoreline.
The end of the game brought joy amongst the Msida clan who saw their dream come true as they joined the already promoted Lija and Mellieha to Premier Division.
Luxol dethrone Balzan to clinch title
Luxol were declared as Gatorade Premier League champions after seeing off Balzan 4-3 in the second decisive play-off final.
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.

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William Barbosa hit a hat-trick while Dean Gera added another one for the winners.
Frane Despotovic, Glenn Bonello, Slobodan Janjic put their names on the score sheet for Balzan.
FMA President, Mark Borg alongside Vice President Alfred Camilleri and a Gatorade representative, presented the medals and trophies to the new champions.
Balzan take sweet revenge as they clinch Gatorade KO
Another futsal season came to an end with Balzan winning the Gatorade Knock Out Competition as they beat Luxol 5-4 to make up for the disappointment of the Gatorade Championship a week before.
Boicho Marev put Balzan ahead but Celino Alves equalized for Luxol whowho managed to turn on the tables before the break through George Frendo and Peter Pullicino.
In the second half, Balzan were a different lot and after 40 seconds Marev scored Balzan’s second goal.
However, it was Peter Pullicino who netted his personal second goal to increase the lead for Luxol.
Five minutes later Balzan reacted fiercely and Glenn Bonello levelled the matters with a quickfire brace.
In the final seconds, Boicho Marev acted as a flying keeper and this move made way for Frane Despotovic to score Balzan’s winning goal nine seconds from the end.
At the end of the match, Balzan’s captain Carlo Scicluna was presented with the Gatorade KO Cup by FMA’s president Mark Borg.

July 2015
FIFA World Cup Preliminary Round Draws – Malta to face France in the Futsal World Cup
Malta was drawn to face France, Albania and Lithuania in Group C of the 2016 FIFA Futsal World Cup preliminary round in the draws held in Nyon.

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August 2015
Luxol place second in the UEFA Futsal Cup Preliminary Round
Luxol St Andrews participated in the UEFA Futsal Cup Preliminary Round. It was a hard group, having Italian champions Pescara as the leaders of the group who made it for the next round.
Apart from the 9-0 defeat against Pescara, Luxol had a very positive performance winning the hosts FC Encamp 5-3 and having an exciting equalizer of 5-5 against Danish JB Gentofte.

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Pullicino appointed new national coach
Peter Pullicino was appointed as coach of the futsal national team, the Malta Football Association announced.
Pullicino replaced Mark Marlow who led the team during the Euro qualifiers.

September 2015

Malta triumph over San Marino
The Maltese national team has returned home from San Marino tired but satisfied after achieving two positive results in the double fixture against the host team.
The Maltese side got off to a good start after beating San Marino 5-1 on Saturday and succeeded to make a double after seeing off the home side 5-3 a day later.

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October 2015
Malta participate in FIFA qualifiers
Malta ended their commitments in the FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifiers when they lost to second placed Albania 6-3 in Kaunas.
For Peter Pullicino’s boys this was their third successive defeat in Group C after losing to France (8-2) and hosts Lithuania (2-1). France finished top of the group on nine points after a 6-0 rout over Lithuania.

November 2015
Luxol win Super Cup
Luxol clinched the first honour of the season, the Gatorade Super Cup after having the better of Valletta 9-5.
The match had to go on extra-time as both teams were locked in a 5-5 scoreline after the first 40 minutes of the game.
This was the first Super Cup Final for the Citizens, who came out with raised heads as they continued fighting their opponents till the final seconds.
Jovica Milijic put Valletta ahead while a brace from Denis Di Maio increased their advantage. Carl Azzopardi shortened the difference before the break to make it 3-1.
In the second half, Luxol had a tremendous comeback as they came all forward using Frane Despotovic as flying keeper.
Valletta resisted Luxol’s pressure as Dylan Musu scored two more goals.
Luxol remained using the flying keeper successfully and achieved their aim to level the matters through goals from Glenn Bonello, who netted a brace as well as William Barbosa and Carl Azzopardi.
The match had to go to extra time with Luxol emerging as final winners when Despotovic, Barbosa and Azzopardi were on the mark to rubberstamp their team’s final victory.
FMA’s President Mark Borg presented the Super Cup to Luxol’s captain William Barbosa, with the latter raising it high amongst his team mates’ celebrations.

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Ribic scores three as Wanderers claim second consecutive victory

Aleksandar Ribic scored a quick fire hat-trick as he helped Sliema Wanderers see off Gozo FC 8-2 in the last match of the Gatorade Futsal League before the Christmas break.
On his second appearance with the Blues, the 33 year old Serbian experienced player inspired his team with his superb futsal skills providing assists and scoring vital goals.
After a bleak first half, the Gozitans played better futsal in the second half forcing two goals in the process to reduce the arrears to 3-2 at a certain point of the match.
But three goals in less than two minutes gave the contest to the Wanderers who registered their third win of the season to climb seventh in the table.
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The game was only two minutes old when another veteran player, Christian Micallef surged the Blues ahead when he fired a shot from outside the arc that left no chance to Abdilla.
On 6 minutes, Ribic was unlucky when he hit the post from close range.
This was a sign that Sliema were taking the upperhand and it was no surprise when they doubled the score as a counter attack led Darren Agius slot home and make it 2-0.
On the quarter, the same Agius had the chance to complete a brace as he placed the ball in the net from close range.
After the break, Gozo surged furiously forward in search of the goal and they managed to score twice in four minutes.
First it was a defensive blunder that led Jean Paul Abdilla to take advantage and hit the target and then after a swift counter attack it was Justin Camilleri whose grounder surprised Farrugia.
On 28 minutes, Mark Camilleri resolved the issue as he met a Ribic pass to score Sliema’s fourth goal.
Next it was Aleksandar Ribic who came to the fore as he scored a hat-trick in two minutes to propel his team to victory.
The Gozitans were stunned and Adam Wingfield had the chance to add another one for the Wanderers to rubberstamp their win.

All square between play-off contenders as Luxol go on top alone

A dramatic goal scored by Daniel Mifsud in the dying seconds of the game earned a point for Hamrun Spartans as the latter shared the spoils in an exciting 4-4 scoreline.
It was a typical match betwwen two play-off contenders boasting of some star players in their squads.
Regarded as the plum fixture of the week, the Valletta-Hamrun match didn’t disappoint the expectations as it drew a good amount of supporters at the Corradino Sports Pavillion.
Hamrun broke the deadlock through Robert Magro and managed to double the score thanks to an Andy Mangion solo run.
Valletta reduced the arrears as Dylan Musu lobbed past Hamrun keeper Clint Mifsud.
This goal galvanized the Lilywhites as in no time they managed to level the matters through Denis di Maio after receiving from Melvin Borg.
Seconds before half-time, Xavier Saliba put the Citizens in the driving seat after a kick from the second penalty spot.
As both sides had a player sent off, Valletta extended their lead when Xavier Saliba passed perfectly to Dylan Musu to slot home and make it 4-2.
Hamrun refused to throw in the sponge as Rodrigo acted as a flying keeper to intensive his team’s pressure on the Valletta rearguard.
As usually happens in futsal, this move paid dividends as goals from Raphinha and Daniel Mifsud in the dramatic moments of the match helped Hamrun level the final score to 4-4.
This result left both teams in the second spot of the table on equal points after 6 matches.

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Luxol took advantage of this result as they surged alone at the top of the standings afterseeing off Mdina Knights 13-0.
Mdina tried hard to stay in the match but on the day Luxol proved stronger.
Mark Zammit and Carl Azzopardi notched a hat-trick, Clint Cope helped himself with a brace while returning player Celino Alves, Peter Pullicino, Matthew Attard, Zvezdan Vukovic and Florin Anton completed the rout for the St Andrew’s outfit.

Up and down for Sliema and Swieqi back on track

Sliema managed to get their second win of the season, with a narrow but exciting result of 8-7 against Qrendi.

The Wanderers were gaining a three goal advantage but Qrendi had a good comeback and equalized matters. Qrendi were always close to their opponents as they managed to level the score, each time that Sliema were temporarily on the lead. In the end Sliema were leading 8-6 and Qrendi pulled one back to end the final score.

Sliema’s Frankie Xerri had a hat-trick and Adam Wingfield scored twice. Aleksander Ribic, Robert Zammit and Christian Micallef also scored for Sliema Wanderers.

Qrendi’s Craig Pickard also had a hat-trick, together with a brace from Alan Spiteri and goals from Antonello Brincat ans Morad El-Torshi.

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Swieqi back on track in an entertaining but feisty encounter that saw two red cards, many fouls and countless opportunities missed.

Swieqi scored their first goal in the 5th minute, when player/coach Laszlo Hajossy slotted the ball into the back of the net following some neat work by Diego Gomes de Mello.

Three minutes later, Sirens came back into the match when Swieqi’s captain and goalkeeper Karl Balzan lost possession of the ball and gifted it to Antoine Galea, who passed the ball into an empty net for the equalising goal.

Swieqi led again when Diego Gomes de Mello received an assist by Hajossy from a well-executed corner. Daniel Sant, who was a constant thorn in Sirens’ side, had two chances to score within a minute, but one drew a good save from opposing goalkeeper Alejandro Garcia Melero, while the other skimmed just wide of the post.

In the 18th minute, Swieqi extended their advantage. Timothy Gingell’s shot was saved by Garcia Melero, who could only parry it into the path of the onrushing Andre Ciancio, who could hardly make a mistake from underneath the crossbar. The teams therefore went in to the half time break with Swieqi 3-1 in advantage.

As from the beginning of the second half, Sirens’ goalkeeper Garcia Melero was replaced by Lawrence Vella due to injury. After some 40 seconds, Sant managed to scoop up a long ball floated across the pitch by Gomes de Mello and lobbed over Vella.

The same goalkeeper Vella was given a yellow card in the 3rd minute for a foul from behind. Nonetheless, Swieqi continued to pepper the Sirens goalkeeper with various attempts.

However, things took a turn for the worse for both teams in the 10th minute, when there was a scuffle and both teams came playing 4 against 4. In the meantime Ciancio managed to score his second goal of the game, and Swieqi’s fifth, with a goal from half pitch, after spotting the flying goalkeeper well off his line.

In the final minute of the match, Sirens committed their sixth foul of the second half, resulting in a penalty for Swieqi, Timothy Gingell stepped up to take the penalty and missed it.

 

Female futsal tournament in aid of L-Istrina

An event involving four female futsal teams was held at the Corradino Pavillion during the annual marathon organized by the Futsal Malta Association in aid of L-Istrina.
Maria Coppola, who organized this tournament, expressed her satisfaction as the girls who participated showed a lot of interest and seemed keen to improve their futsal skills.
“This was a great event for the ladies. We still hope that we could organize a small league for these players as they wish to enhance their knowledge in this game.”
Coppola believes that futsal can improve a lot of skills such as ball control and passing. It can be a good stepping stone to play 11-a-side football.
The idea of a first official women’s futsal league is still in the pipeline as Maria Coppola still hopes that this dream will finally come true.

We need to keep our feet on the ground – Josef Balzan

Marsascala are in seventh heaven after obtaining their first win of the season when they saw off Zebbug Rangers 8-5.
It was a collective effort by the south seasiders as four goals by Filipov, a hat-trick from Josef Balzan and another by Steve Gambin gave the most precious three points.
This website contacted player/coach Josef Balzan who seemed satisfied by this achievement.
“These three points will certainly boost our moral after such difficult matches. We encountered four top clubs in one month and these were not easy matches,” admitted Balzan.
“We have been training for months to be in shape for this season.”
“I believe that we deserved all this. Yesterday we played collectively and managed to get a positive result.”
Balzan still doesn’t want to boast so much on this achievement.
“We need to forget this match, keep the feet tight on the ground and focus on our next matches.”

Marsascala break their duck

Marsascala finally broke their duck in the championship after halting Zebbug’s stride for their first win of the season.
This win came after a bad patch of five defeats in the Gatorade Futsal League .
Even though the Southsiders boast some exciting young talent, results were not forthcoming.
This time, however, Marsascala deserved the points as they created the better chances with returning players Nikolay Filipov and Delyan Ivanov also contributing to their success.
Zebbug tried to get back into the game after being 3-2 down before the break.
But they found Marsascala in fine form as the latter surged into quick counter attacks to punish their opponents in the decisive parts of the match.
Nikolay Filipov was Marsasacala’s inspirational player as he netted a poker.
Player/coach Josef Balzan hit a hat-trick while Steve Gambin added another one for the sea south-siders.
Zebbug’s goals came from an Anton Novoa’s hat-trick, Joseph Chetcuti and Jamie Portelli.

msida celeebrate

Previously, Msida managed to return to winning ways after a hard-fought 8-4 victory over Mqabba.
Paulo Mendes da Silva notched a hat-trick while Ryan Xuereb, Marian Gologan, Matthew Dingli, Herbert Spiteri and Floren Manea were also on the mark for Msida.
Steve Falzon scored a brace while Miguel Alcaraz and Lydon Baldacchino were also on the score sheet for Mqabba.

Lija gave another blowout to Gozo

It was another catastrophic match for Gozo as they still have their goalkeeper Roderick Debattista and Daniel Cosaitis injured. In their first presence ever in the Gatorade Futsal League and after five league matches, the Gozitan team is still under construction.

On the other hand, Lija Athletic are proving themselves as the team to beat in another dominant match. Lija had a comfortable eight goals advantage during the first half.

During the first half Jamie Abdilla was the only hard working player for Gozo but he was substituted for a head injury after a hard tackle with Lija’s Nicola Del Re. Abdilla’s fighting spirit led him to take Ryan D’Ugo’s place as Gozo’s goalkeeper. This move was successful as in the last fifteen minutes he suffered only one goal.

Lija’s thirteen goals without a reply, were made up of braces from Andre Henrique de Souza, Ebrahim Massoudi, Jason Gauci, Luke John Stivala and Chavi Montes Burgos. More goals were scored by Chris Cardona, Wallace Santos Junior and Nicola Del Re.

Great Friday night for Valletta and Luxol

Valletta and Luxol continued their winning track and kept their place on top together with Hamrun Spartans.

In Friday’s first match, Swieqi tried to restrain the Citizen’s attacks and keep it a balanced game.

Unexpectedly Swieqi’s Boicho Marev, who was the best player on court, was sent off after receiving two accumulated yellow cards. This lead to Valletta’s opening goal marked by Daniel Brincat in the seventh minute. A couple of minutes before the half time break, Cristian Cuadros Silva doubled the score by slotting the ball into the corner of the net.

In the first six minutes of the second half, Swieqi didn’t throw in the towel as their top scorer Diego Gomes de Mello pulled one back.

This goal set an alarm for the Citizens who reacted fiercely and increased their scoreline with three consecutive goals scored by Denis Di Maio, followed by Daniel Brincat who sealed a brace.

Captain Xavier Saliba sealed another win for Valletta with a stunning shot from the second penalty mark.

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Friday’s second match was completely dominated by Luxol who little gave chance to Marsascala to enter into the game.

After only five seconds, Luxol’s player coach Frane Despotovic opened the score. The same Despotovic doubled the score a few minutes later.

The first half ended with a nine goals advantage for Luxol, with more goals scored by Zvezdan Vukovic, Glenn Bonello, Clint Cope twice, Florin Anton, autogoal from Daryl Muscat and William Barbosa.

In the second half Luxol kept pressing and playing in half pitch, thus scoring more goals. In the first opening minute Despotovic marked his hat-trick.

Florin Anton also sealed a brace as Mark Zammit did when he scored two quick goals in only 15 seconds.

Marsascala scored a little too late when Josef Balzan reduced the arrears.

It wasn’t enough for Luxol as Clint Cope had his hat-trick and gave way to Matthew Attard to score too.

Vukovic and Barbosa sealed their braces and made the final score 17-1.

Next Friday both Valletta and Luxol will be in action as they will play against Hamrun Spartans and Mdina Knights respectively.

Dingli saves the day for Msida, Mqabba back to winning ways

Matthew Dingli saved Msida’s blushes with a late goal as he came in as a flying keeper to level the matters and earn a point for the Seasiders against Sirens.
In fact the 5-5 scoreline, the first one for this season, was a reflection of an intense match.
Msida managed to dominate possession but failed to capitalize in many occasions of the match.
On the other hand, Sirens operated on some swift counter attacks that resulted fatal in certain circumstances as former Naxxar Lions 11-a-side player, Ryan Gilmour Cassar stole the show after notching a hat-trick.
Trailing 5-3 before the end, Msida’s mentor Kevin Agius opted for the flying keeper to pile more pressure on the Sirens’ rearguard.
This move paid dividends as his team managed to equalize in the last minutes of the match.
As already said, Ryan Cassar hit the target three times for the St Paul’s Bay side while Leonard Zammit and George Chircop also put their names on the score sheet.
Consequently, Ryan Xuereb, Matthew Dingli, Herbert Spiteri, Armando Gjepali and Diones Mendes da Silva were the goal-getters for Msida.
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Mqabba managed to return to winning ways after a hard-fought 4-2 win over Mdina Knights.
The winners succeeded to turn the tables before half-time as goals from Steve Falzon and Miguel Alcaraz crossed off Neil Cauchi’s initial advantage for the Knights.
Mqabba controlled the proceedings and managed to score their third goal through Thomas Consoli after taking advantage of a defensive blunder.
Mdina’s reaction was fierce as they attacked continuously in search of goal, hitting the post in the process.
They succeeded to reduce the score from nippy striker Cleavon Portelli.
However Borja Lopez Fernandez conducted a swift counter attack as he rubberstamped Mqabba’s victory in the dying minutes of the match.
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The Gatorade Futsal League resumes today with two more matches as Valletta cross swords with Swieqi (kick-off 20.00 hrs) in a match between two teams that are enjoying a positive patch during this season.
In the late kick-off Luxol should not find any difficulty to overcome Marsascala as the latter are still in search of the first points of the campaign.