Month: April 2016

Luxol, Hamrun take a slight advantage into the second leg

Next Friday’s second legs of the Gatorade Elite play-off semifinals will certainly be open to any result as Hamrun and Luxol edged Lija and Valletta respectively to open a slender advantage over their opponents.
Moreover, these two matches kept the numerous crowd at the Corradino Sports Pavillion on tenterhooks as both teams fought for the result till the very end.
A goal scored 35 seconds from the end, gave Luxol a narrow 6-5 advantage over Valletta.
It was a great match between two teams that showed character and were not ready to surrender.
Both rearguards were busy absorbing their opponents continuous attacks. _DSC2830 (Large)
Frane Despotovic was Luxol’s inspirational player as he notched a poker while Glenn Bonello and William Barbosa added more goals.
The Citizens had Dylan Musu notching a brace while Mohammed Elamari, Cristian Cuadros Silva and Dejan Bizjak were also on the mark.
Meanwhile, Hamrun Spartans saw off Lija Athletic 7-5 in another top notch semifinal.
The Spartans missed a lot of goal scoring opportunities in front of goal especially as they failed to capitalize four shots from the second penalty spot.
They were also unlucky to hit the post twice as Lija’s goalkeeper saved his team with a string of good saves.
On their part, Lija operated some counter attacks that resulted lethal in certain occasions of the match.
Hamrun had Brazilian duo, Madson Caetano and Raphinha helping themselves with a brace each as Andy Mangion and Jason Mifsud also put their names on the score sheet.
Endrit Kaca and Chavi Montes Burgos netted a brace while Chris Cardona also found the net for Lija Athletic.
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Sliema retain top spot, Zebbug stun Sirens

Sliema Wanderers came from behind to topple lowly Gozo 12-6 in a match which had two twists in the second half.
This victory enabled the Wanderers to retain their top position in the table and therefore face Mqabba in next Thursday’s play-off semifinals.
On their part, Gozo produced a good performance, leading 2-0 and 3-1 respectively in some parts of the match.
In the last 3 minutes they were trailing 8-6 and the Gozitan coach decided to change the goalkeeper and pressure for a possible equalizer.
But in doing so they exposed themselves as Sliema took advantage to seal the issue.
This happened to be Josh Parry’s last match in Malta as he is now going back to his country to resume his career.
The English striker paid farewell by hitting a hat-trick as two braces by Kenneth Bonnici and Darren Agius were among the scorers for the Wanderers.
Gozo had Warren Zerafa notching a poker while Jean Paul Abdilla hit the target twice.
In a match which will be repeated in next week’s play-offs, Zebbug Rangers returned to winning ways after three straight defeats when they stunned second-placed Sirens 3-1.
It was a great performance by the Rangers who gave no chance to the St Paul’s Bay outfit to enter in the match.
Alejandro Rubia Morenas, Inigo Dolara and Radnor Farrugia were on the score sheet for Zebbug while Antoine Galea reduced the arrears for Sirens.

Decisive play-offs kick off tonight

Now that the classification in the Gatorade Futsal leagues has been defined, the real tussles to determine the champions in the two categories will take off during this week.
Hamrun Spartans and Luxol face some daunting tasks as they face Lija Athletic and Valletta respectively.
These teams will be involved in the first of a two-match series of play-offs tonight, hoping to proceed to the final.
In the first match to be played at 20.00, Hamrun cross swords with Lija Athletic.
The Spartans, who finished first in the Gatorade Elite Round standings certainly showed the best futsal during this season as Brazilians Michel, Madson, Rodrigo and Raphinha were the main protagonists behind their success.
Raphinha is the league’s top scorer and certainly Lija’s defenders will try to deny him the joy of goal.
The Athletics invested a lot at the beginning of the season and succeeded to fulfil their objective to place among the top four of the league.
They can rely on the likes of Iranian international Ebrahim Massoudi, Spanish Chavi Montes Burgos and Albanian Endrit Kaca who inspired the Athletics.
Nicola del Re and young Chris Cardona on their day can be a great menace to the Spartans’ defence.
In the previous rounds, Hamrun won both encounters 4-1 and 5-3.
In the second play-off semifinal, Luxol and Valletta face each other in a predictably balanced match.
After losing their last league encounter with Hamrun, Luxol will be relishing the prospect of ending Valletta’s play-off hopes not only to advance to the final but also to banish the memories of their 7-2 league upset to the Citizens in February.
The good performances shown in their training camp in Poland a week ago went some way towards restoring optimism in the St Andrews clan after the Hamrun setback.
Luxol will be hoping that attacking trio Alves, Azzopardi and Barbosa will be in fine form to upset the Lilywhites.
The latter possess an experienced squad as Jovica Milijic, Xavier Saliba and Mohammed Elamari look to emulate their past successes with their former clubs.
In their previous encounters, Valletta won 7-2 but in the second match Luxol saw off the Citizens 4-1.
A sizeable crowd is expected tonight at the Corradino Pavillion as the best teams in the local futsal hope to get a step closer to the final.

A Closer Look at…Gaetano Gesualdi (Mdina Knights)

Name: Gaetano Gesualdi.
Born on February 15th 1992.
Personal Motto: Enjoy Life!

How long have you been playing futsal?
It’s quite recent. In fact I’ve been playing futsal since January 2016.

What do you think about this sport?
I find futsal quite an enjoyable sport. It was a bit difficult to adjust at the beginning but now I am enjoying the fast pace of this game.

Your name is also synonymous with the local football scene.
Yes in fact I started this season with Tarxien Rainbows and then moved in the First Division with St Georges.

In my opinion, Mdina Knights is a particular squad with a lot of young players full of energy and determination…
We are quite a large squad and with many of us studying and working at the same time, futsal lets us take off a lot of stress.
At the same time I think that this team is ONE big group that has the goal to improve more and more.

A personal judgement on your performance so far.
On a personal level I think that I had quite a good half season. We may not have achieved the results that we wanted but our bond as a team has grown more and more.

What are your personal objectives?
My personal objectives are to finish my degree successfully and continue enjoying life as a student.
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Mqabba book play-off spot, Mdina end commitments on a high

Mqabba clinched a Gatorade First Division play-off berth after seeing off Marsascala 4-2.
It wasn’t an easy task for Kevin Loughborough’s side as they had to endure a tenacious Marsascala side that gave their all against their most quoted opponents.
The latter were playing their last match of the season and as Josef Balzan said, the South seasiders were extremely satisfied for their first season in local futsal and are keen to participate again in the forthcoming futsal competitions.
Marsascala surged ahead after four minutes but Mqabba had a great comeback as they turned the tables before the break.
In the second half, Marsascala started aggressively in search of goal and managed to score the 3-2.
Despite all this, Mqabba kept their cool as they closed the game seven minutes from the end to secure a place in next Thursday’s play-off semifinals.
Borja Lopez Fernandez, Thomas Consoli, Ryan Mifsud and Leandros Calleja were on the mark for Mqabba while Johann Callus scored a brace for Marsascala.
Mdina ended their official commitments for this season with a 10-7 win over lowly Qrendi.
It was an exciting match that produced 17 goals with both sides without any pressure that resulted in some good futsal.
The Knights extended their unbeaten run to five matches and managed to end positively this season with their coach Kyle Sultana describing as full of ups and downs.
Nippy striker Cleavon Portelli inspired the University students as he netted a hat-trick while Jake Grech and Roberto Sarcia hit a brace.
Andrea Farrugia, Gaetano Gesualdi and Neil Cauchi completed the mission for Mdina.
Qrendi, who were also playing their last match of the season, had their playmaker Antonello Brincat in fine form after scoring five goals as Owen Fiteni hit a brace.
The Gatorade First Division will resume next Thursday as Gozo play against Sliema while Zebbug entertain Sirens.
If Sliema win their last match against Gozo, they would ensure themselves of the first position in the table.

Citizens ready for play-offs

Valletta geared up for the Gatorade Elite play-offs with a sound 8-3 win over Msida St Joseph.

The Citizens are now in shape for next Friday’s clash against Luxol.

As expected, Valletta were streets ahead of the Seasiders. They opened 3-1 lead by the end of the first half, and following another five goals in the second period they never looked back.

For Msida St Joseph this was their last match in this campaign, in a season which saw them finish sixth in the table.
Spanish Cristian Cuadros Silva was in fine form as he notched a hat-trick while Dejan Bizjak, Jurgen Pace, Xavier Saliba, Mohammed Elamari and Dylan Musu also put their names on the score sheet.
Msida St Joseph’s goals were scored from a Gilmore Cuschieri’s brace and a Paulo Mendes da Silva’s goal.

Bielsko Biala win again, Luxol in shape for play-offs

Rekord Bielsko Biala…….5
Luxol St Andrews………..3

Bielsko Biala made a double on Luxol as they saw them off 5-3 as another international friendly was played during the Maltese team’s training camp in Southern Poland.

While the first match between the Maltese champions and the Polish side was an interesting one, the rematch was even more attractive as eight goals were scored in a high intensive encounter played at the Bielsko Biala complex.
Both teams pressed each other from the word go with the respective defences busy trying to repel each others’ attacks.
Luxol created the first opportunity on 7 minutes as Zvezdan Vukovic’s shot hit the post with keeper Puddle surprised.
Rekord Bielsko Biala responded immediately on the counter as Jan Janovsky and Paul Machura also hit the bar in the space of 30 seconds.
Rekord were venturing forward now and it was Luxol’s keeper, Nicholas Farrugia who saved a shot from the second penalty spot by Artur Poplawski.
The Polish side surged ahead on 17 minutes through Woychiech Lyson who beat Farrugia from close range.
Two minutes later they doubled the lead as Artur Polasek found the net to make it 2-0 before the interval.
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As the second half began, Lyson completed a brace as he hit the target on 26 minutes before Douglas made it 4-0 for the locals.
Despite the score, the Maltese side continued to attack and managed to reduce the score courtesy of Karl Azzopardi who surprised the Rekord defence.
The Polish southerners were made to defend as Luxol pushed forward but on 31 minutes on a quick counter attack it was Lukasz Biel who was on the mark.
The St Andrews side had the chance to reduce the arrears twice more through Mark Zammit and William Barbosa for a 5-3 final scoreline.
Despite being beaten twice, Luxol St Andrews gave a good account of themselves in this training camp held in Poland as they are now in shape for next Friday’s play-off match against Valletta.

Record : Puddle (Szczepańczyk), Janovsky, Machura, Szymura, Polasek, Wachuła, Poplawski, Lyson, Kmiecik, Biel, Borowicz, Silent.

Luxol : Farrugia, De Freitas, A. Attard, Anton Azzopardi, Barbosa, Scicluna, Zammit, Vuković, Cope, Bonello

Spartans seal first position, Lija back to winning ways

Relentless Hamrun Spartans secured the top position in the Gatorade Elite Round standings by winning 11-5 against Swieqi while Lija returned to winning ways as they edged Msida St Joseph 6-4.
The Spartans were motivated to seal the first place in the table as they held most of the initiative in their match against Swieqi.
The main protagonist for Paul Rapa’s side was Madson Caetano de Abreu who netted three goals while his Brazilian counterpart Raphinha, George Frendo and Joan Losada Teruel each hit the target twice.
Robert Fenech and Michel Melo Jose completed the mission for the Spartans.
Swieqi, who were playing their last match of the season, had Bulgarian Boicho Marev finding the net three times while Andre Ciancio and Diego Gomes de Mello added more goals.
Therefore Hamrun will face fourth place Lija Athletic in next Friday’s play-off.
The latter managed to return to winning ways after seeing off a mighty Msida side 6-4.
It was an intensive game which produced 10 goals and a lot of goal-scoring opportunities.
Lija had the final say in this match as goals from Andre Henrique (2), Jason Gauci, Redeemer Borg, Kurt Bartolo and Chris Cardona pushed forward their intentions for the final victory.
Msida, who will play Valletta next Monday in their final league commitment, had a double from Floren Manea, Armando Gjepali and Christian Arturo Navarro who put their names on the score sheet.

Mdina extend unbeaten streak, M’Scala leapfrog Qrendi

Mdina and Marsascala obtained impressive victories against their respective opponents as another round of matches from the Gatorade First Division was played yesterday at the Corradino Pavillion.
This win enabled the University students’ team to extend their unbeaten streak to four matches.
They dominated possession in the first half scoring two goals in the process. In the second half, Kyle Sultana’s side had to endure Gozo’s intense pressure as they ventured forward in search of the equalizer.
Mdina managed to add another one in a quick counter attack but Gozo refused to throw in the towel as they found the net twice to produce an intriguing finale.
However Mdina held tight to obtain three important points.
Roberto Sarcia, Andrea Farrugia and Shawn Deguara were on target for Mdina while Warren Zerafa and Jean Paul Abdilla netted for Gozo.
Marsasacala went up to eleventh place in the table after a clear 4-1 win over lowly Qrendi.
This win helped the Southsiders leapfrog their same opponents in the table. The latter were bereft of a lot of key players as coach Shawn Rogers could only field 6 players in his squad.
On the other hand, Marsascala dedicated this win to their team mate Reuben Degabriele who had to renounce for this match as he sustained an injury during the warm up.
Meanwhile Steve Gambin hit a brace while Andre Mamo and Franklin Abela added more goals for Marsascala.
Antonello Brincat netted the consolation goal for Qrendi.

Luxol stand tall in Poland defeat

Rekord Bielsko Biala……..4
Luxol St Andrews…………3
(H.T 0-2)
It was a great futsal evening yesterday at the Bielsko Biala Complex as the local team Rekord Bielsko Biala edged Maltese champions Luxol St Andrews 4-3.
Despite losing to the Polish counterparts, the Maltese side had a great performance and gave a hard time to their opponents during the match.
Frane Despotovic, the Luxol mentor, treated this match very seriously as he fielded a strong side to try to challenge the Polish giants.
Although the latter held most of the possession, the Maltese team were operating some fast counter attacks that at times were lethal as Rekord keeper Michael Puddle had to be called in action on multiple times.
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However he could do nothing on 6 minutes as Luxol surged ahead with a great shot by William Barbosa after taking advantage of a defensive blunder.
The Polish side was stunned as on 16 minutes they capitulated again and this time it was Karl Azzopardi who found the net, courtesy of another defensive frail.
After succumbing to a 2-0 disadvantage before the interval, Rekord Bielsko Biala opened fiercely the second half as they reduced the arrears from a powerful freekick by Lukasz Biel.
Eventually Luxol had to endure their opponents’ continouous attacks as they had to concede the equalizer when young Igor Borowicz received from Artur Poplawski who fired home the 2-2.
The Maltese side kept concentrated as they again took the upperhand, when Matthew Attard put the ball past keeper Puddle amongst the joy of the St Andrews’ clan.
Despite this blow, Bielsko Biala produced a great reaction and managed to restore parity when Paul Machura had escaped the attentions of the Luxol defenders before squaring to Radek Polasek who scrambled the ball into the net.
As the match was heading for a draw, which in reality could have been a fair result, Bielsko Biala found the winning goal when Polasek returned the favour to Machura as he controlled the ball before stabbing home past Farrugia.
Luxol could leave the Bielsko Biala complex with heads high despite defeat as a rematch is expected this evening at 18.00hrs.

Record : Puddle, Wachuła, Borowicz, Douglas, Kmiecik, Janovsky, Czernek, Biel, Lyson, Poplawski, Polasek, Machura, Quiet, Szczepańczyk.

Luxol : Farrugia, Alves, Despotović, Barbosa, Cope, Zammit, M. Attard, Azzopardi, Bonello, Anton, Vuković, Scicluna, A. Attard, Lepre.