Month: February 2016

Swieqi make sure of Elite spot, Lija maintain good form

Swieqi United opened an unassailable six-point gap over their nearest rivals to make sure of their place in the Elite Round with two matches to spare, after a hard-earned 4-4 scoreline against fellow contenders Sliema Wanderers.
It was an exciting match with both teams battling for the precious three points.
Swieqi managed to open a double advantage in the first half but Sliema fought back and managed to level the matters before the break.
Kenneth Fiteni’s boys opened the second half on the attack, scoring another two goals in the process.
However the Wanderers refused to throw in the towel as they succeeded in scoring the equalizer 1.22 minutes from the end.
Swedish playmaker Fredrick Johnsson was in fine form for Swieqi as he notched a hat-trick. An own goal added the tally for United.
Darren Agius, Aleksandar Ribic, Paul Bugeja and Dexter O’Brien put their names on the score sheet for Sliema Wanderers.
Lija Athletic chalked up their ninth win in a row after seeing off Msida St Joseph 8-2.
It was another stunning performance by Kevin Mifsud’s men who managed to overcome their opponents’ stiff opposition.
Ebrahim Massoudi and Endrit Kaca hit the target twice while Redeemer Borg, Kurt Bartolo, Nicola Del Re and Gary Inguanez added more goals for Lija.
Msida reduced the gap through Ryan Xuereb and Clayton Farrugia.

Valletta ready for the big match

Another stunning result for the Citizens who are now looking forward to their next week’s big match against leaders Luxol. Valletta showed up against Qrendi winning 22-2, with their debutant Dejan Bizjak scoring five goals. Dylan Musu also netted the ball five times together with Denis Di Maio’s poker and braces for Xavier Saliba, Jovica Milijic and Mohammed Elamari. Jurgen Pace and Josef Borg also put their names in the large scorers’ list.

Qrendi reduced the arrears through Clayton Borg and Jonathan Xerri.

Valletta who now reached Hamrun in the second place with 31 points, next Friday will face leaders Luxol, who are five points ahead. Valletta and Luxol already met each other this season in the Super Cup Final, when both teams offered an exciting game. Sure that their coming match will bring a large audience to the Corradino Sport Pavillion and will be a worth watching big match.

Knights comeback in a very tight and entertaining match

It was another tight and entertaining match, where Mdina Knights came back to winning ways after 9 consecutive losses. On the other hand Marsascala had their good chances as they hit the post twice but failed to finish more goals.

Marsascala took the lead in the first couple of minutes, through Steve Gambin. Four minutes later, on their first dangerous attempt, Mdina’s Randall Portelli leveled the matters.

In the second half both teams weren’t able to score, even though Marsascala kept on creating various scoring opportunities. Four minutes to the end, on a Marsascala attack, Marsascala’s Nicholas Abdilla and Mdina’s keeper Matthew Gatt had a bad collision, with both players on the floor waving for assistance. The action resumed and Mdina went on the lead through Cleaven Portelli.

Mdina managed to defend the result till the end and came 2 points above Marsascala and just one point behind Mqabba. In their last match of the Gatorade Futsal League’s first round, Mdina Knights will now face Zebbug Rangers and Marsascala will play against Msida SJ.

Marsascala: Deylan Ivanov Papi, Josef Balzan, Jean Paul Bianco, Franklin Abela, Steve Gambin, Johann Callus, Nicholas Abdilla, Liam Gauci (C), Shaun Ebejer, Daryl Muscat, Nico Borg, Angelo Dimech, Matthew Grima & Reuben Degabriele.

Mdina Knights: Matthew Gatt (C), Daniel Camilleri, Daniel Gafa, Andrew Camilleri, Ryan Micallef, Nathaniel Borg, Cleaven Portelli, Paul Scerri, Kurt Drakard, Tyrone Grech, Dalziel Bugeja, Neil Cauchi, Ranald Portelli & John Micallef.

Referee 1: Jonathan Mallia

Referee 2: Jude Amin Utulu

Time Keeper: Jeremy Mallia


Luxol open five-point lead after beating rivals Hamrun

Luxol St Andrews beat nearest rivals Hamrun Spartans 3-1 in a direct clash for the top places of the table.
The match of the week lived up to expectations as a sizeable crowd were treated to an exciting clash at the Corradino Pavilion.
Hamrun were looking to take sole leadership with victory over the champions but it was the St Andrews side who returned home with the points to maintain their perfect record with maximum points after 12 matches.
Hamrun were without their top scorer Raphael Ortiz de Oliveira who was still recovering from an injury.
It was Luxol who took a 2-0 advantage after Hamrun’s Melo Jose delivered the ball into his own net after being pressed by Barbosa. Shortly afterwards Croatian player-coach Frane Despotovic fired a shot that gave no chance to Clint Mifsud, the Spartans keeper.
Hamrun, however, regained composure to get more into the picture and level the score in less than three minutes.
First it was Michel Melo Jose whose solo run finished with the latter hitting a grounder that finished behind Nicholas Farrugia.
Before both teams headed for the dressing rooms for half-time, Hamrun managed to grab the equalizer when Losada Teruel slid the ball home after a good pas from Rodrigo.
Luxol started the second half with confidence as they managed to score their third goal through Zvezdan Vukovic after taking advantage of a rebound.
At this point, Paul Rapa, Hamrun’s mentor opted for Peter Pullicino as their flying keeper to instill more pressure on their opponents defence.
However in one of their attacks, Luxol managed to hit the target for the fourth time as Frane Despotovic shot home after watching the post unattended.
Brazilian Rodrigo pulled one back 2.6 seconds from the end to reduce the scoreline for the Spartans.

Luxol: Nicholas Farrugia, Celino Alves, Frane Despotovic, William Barbosa, Matthew Attard, Mark Zammit, Adrian Attard, Karl Lepre, Glenn Bonello, Carlo Scicluna, Zvezdan Vukovic, Carl Azzopardi, Clint Cope.
Hamrun: Joan Manuel Losada Teruel, Clint Mifsud, Michel Melo Jose, Daniel Mifsud, Kevin Cassar, Peter Pullicino, Andy Mangion, George Frendo, Rodrigo, Jason Mifsud, Madson Caetano, Robert Fenech, Brian Baldacchino.
Referee 1: Jude Amin Utulu
Referee 2: Matthew Vella.
Time Keeper: Jonathan Balzan.

Handsome victory for Sirens

Sirens registered their fifth win of the season after seeing off Gozo FC 3-1.
This win helped the St Paul’s Bay side climb seventh in the standings. On their part, Gozo FC defended boldly and operated on some quick counter-attacks.
Sirens broke the deadlock on 5 minutes through Ryan Gilmour Cassar with the same player scoring his second seven minutes later.
After the break, the plan of the match didn’t change as Khail Drago added another one for Sirens.
Gozo reduced the gap on 27 minutes from Warren Zerafa.

Mqabba end winless streak

Mqabba ended their six-match winless streak in the Gatorade Futsal League yesterday after edging past Zebbug Rangers 7-6.
Kevin Loughborough’s boys were a different lot from the previous encounters as they showed character to obtain their third victory of the season.
Mqabba who were 5-1 up before the break, had Matthew Buttigieg in fine form after notching a hat-trick.
On the other hand, Thomas Consoli, Leandros Calleja, Ryan Mifsud and Miguel Alcaraz also put their names on the score sheet.
Zebbug’s goals were scored by a hat-trick from Jamie Portelli, a brace by Claudio Venuto and Radnor Farrugia.


A Closer Look at… Robert Fenech (Hamrun Spartans Futsal)

Name: Robert Fenech.
Born on August 19th 1984
Place of Birth: Hamrun.
Work as a Human Resource Manager.
Favourite Food: Pasta (cooked Italian style)
Favourite Artist/Singer: Local: Errol Sammut (Airport Impressions)
Foreign: Denzel Washington.
Personal Motto: God never shuts one door without opening another.

Why did you choose futsal as your sport?
After going through the ranks of the Hamrun Spartans Youth Nursery, I didn’t manage to make it to the senior team as I had to continue my university studies. After graduating I played for a season in the 3rd division with Santa Lucija (at that time they teamed up with NET STARS) which I had the privilege to be coached by international experienced coaches Mr. John Buttigieg and Mr. Carmel Busuttil. Subsequently, I made a season with Luxol in the second division. After these 2 years, a group of friends, all from Hamrun, decided to form the Hamrun Futsal team. It seemed a challenging experience which I took with great dedication. The more we played the more I felt attracted to the game. The adrenaline involved during the game intrigues me a lot. I enjoy competition!

Describe this beautiful game in three words.

Passion, tactical intelligence and high tempo.

Have you always played for Hamrun? How does it feel to don the Spartans shirt?
This is my tenth season with Hamrun. I only moved for one season to Sliema. It gives you an extra push to succeed, playing for the locality you are from. Like I explained, we are the sole team to have started from the bottom and made it to the top without ever changing our name or the basis of foundation.

It seems that the Fenech family have a sporting tradition particularly in football.
Yes, as a family we have always been involved in football. I follow with much support, my brother Ryan. Just like many other families who have made name, we are happy that sports gave us a lot of satisfaction.

Let’s talk about this season. Hamrun are passing from a great moment. What are your chances this season?
For the past three seasons we have added a lot of quality to our team. This gave us extra motivation to succeed and now we are considered as one of the top teams in Maltese futsal. We are working hard to achieve our objective to win the league. Several people behind the scenes do lots of sacrifices and we players are highly motivated to deliver!


Do you have a particular idol in football or futsal that you inspire yourself from?
Alessandro Del Piero is fantastic, you look at the way he handles his image, and it’s inspirational. In Futsal, I admire several talented players. Mr. Stefan Sultana is a legend.

What are your main objectives?

I see myself as a highly motivated man whom constantly looks to improve, broaden my knowledge and set reachable goals which lead to success in every aspect of my life. Such applies to my work, relationship and Futsal!

A Closer Look at…Carl Azzopardi (Luxol St Andrews)

Name: Carl Azzopardi
Born in August 31st 1989 in Pieta’
Works as a loader with Air Malta
Favourite Food: Meat
Favourite artist/singer: Robbie Williams
Personal Motto: All roads that lead to success have to pass through hard work.

Why did you choose futsal as your sport?
At first I started to play football at a very young age. Eventually, I decided to start playing futsal because I consider it as an attractive game and keeps you involved all the time.

Describe this beautiful game in three words.
Challenging, thoughtful and energetic.

Talk about the teams that you have played so far.
I started with St Helen Band club about 6 years ago. Eventually when the rules changed, St Helen’s team had to drop out.
It was my former coach, Tonio Micallef who encouraged me to join Pembroke in the second division. We managed to win the league and after some teams dropped out, we started playing in the Premier Division.
After one year even Pembroke had to quit from the local futsal scene so the former Balzan president Mario Vella wanted me to join his team.
Consequently I moved to Luxol and I am really glad to be part of this amazing team.

Let’s talk about this season. Luxol are passing from a great moment. You are also giving your contribution…
We have been well prepared for this season, working hard for these past 8 months. So far all the sacrifices we have been through together are all showing during the games. I thank our coach Frane Despotovic for believing in me and involving me in all the games. I owe him a lot as a player as I have improved and strengthened my skills considerably.

Do you have a particular idol in football or futsal that you inspire yourself from?
I support Juventus and love watching players like Pogba, Marchisio and Dybala but my idol is Messi.
Moreover I am mostly inspired by the Portuguese futsal player Ricardinho.

What about the national team?
I have been selected last September to participate in two friendly matches against San Marino to prepare for the World Cup qualifiers.
We managed to win both games and had a good performance.
A month later I was also chosen to be part of the squad for the above mentioned qualifiers in Lithuania. Although the results were not so successful, we managed to give a good performance in all matches.

What are your main objectives?
My aim for this season is to win the league and eventually participate in the UEFA Futsal Cup.


Hamrun beat Swieqi to close in on Luxol ahead of Tuesday’s clash

Hamrun Spartans eased past Swieqi United 9-3 to maintain their good form of late in the Gatorade Futsal League and prepare in a perfect way for their clash against Champions Luxol.
The Spartans produced another polished display to overcome Swieqi’s challenge.
Hamrun had Brazilian lateral Madson Caetano de Abreu making his official debut with a bang as he signed off with a brace.
His compatriot Michel Melo Jose was four times on the mark as Jason Mifsud, George Frendo and Juan Manuel Losada Teruel scored more goals for the Red/Blacks.
Swieqi reduced the gap thanks to a Boicho Marev’s brace and a Diego Gomes de Mello goal.
Lija Athletic emulated their rivals’ feats as they saw off Mdina Knights 13-1.
Endrit Kaca was Lija’s inspirational player as he netted six of his team’s goals.
Gary Inguanez, Chris Cardona, Andre Enrique de Souza, Nikolay Filipov and Redeemer Borg added more goals for Kevin Mifsud’s side.
Neil Cauchi hit the target for Mdina Knights.

Kaca scores one his six goals for Lija against Mdina.
Kaca scores one his six goals for Lija against Mdina.