Month: May 2016

Luxol winners of the Knock Out, Hamrun try to end on a positive note

Definitely it was a positive season for Hamrun Spartans who flourished on top of the league before the playoffs, paved the way towards the final and actually played in the Knock Out final. On the other hand Luxol, eliminated by Champions Valletta in the playoffs, invested every final effort with the high aim of raising the cup.
Both teams gave a marvelous performance in a game played again behind closed doors with the entertaining first half ending 2-2. Luxol went early on the lead thanks to Florin Anton who was followed minutes later by Mark Zammit. Two minutes before break time, Hamrun reacted and balanced the score through Madson Gaetano and George Frendo.
The second half saw the effort of Luxol’s players to be the winners of this final, reach the peak. In the first minute, Florin Anton received an inviting ball from a corner taken by Celino Alves and sealed his personal brace. In the meantime Hamrun put everything forward as they were alternatively playing George Frendo as flying keeper, who also equalized again the score. On the 12th minute, William Barbosa added another one for Luxol to increase their chances of winning this final game. Carl Azzopardi’s brace and Celino Alves’ goal in between continued to assert Luxol’s dominance. Hamrun threw in the towel and with only 15 seconds left of play both teams shook hands and congratulated each other for their positive run in this season.
As the usual norm, presentation time followed the end of this league. Hamrun’s Raphael Felipe Ortiz de Oliveira was awarded this season’s top scorer while his team mates were given commemorative medals. Finally all Luxol’s staff and players were awarded together with Captain William Barbosa. They put an end to this final by raising the cup up high among the merited celebrations.

Raphael Felipe Ortiz de Oliveira - Top Scorer 2015/16
Raphael Felipe Ortiz de Oliveira – Top Scorer 2015/16

A Closer Look At … Keith Borg (Coach – Sirens)

Name: Keith Borg
Born on the 29th April 1980 in Attard
Favourite football player: Peter Schmeichel

Favourite futsal player: Ricardinho
Favourite Dish: Fish
Personal Motto: Believe in yourself and you will succeed


Why did you choose this sport?

I chose Futsal after I stopped from playing football due to a serious injury. I always enjoyed playing 5 a side football and when I was 14 years old I had the opportunity to play in Sicily.

How long have you been involved in futsal?

I have been involved in futsal for 11 years, where 8 of them as a player and the last 3 years in administration. My first team was named Boca Juniors which I founded and lasted for 5 yrs. Then I formed Naxxar Lions Futsal Team with Martin Attard, better known as Meme.


The memorable season in futsal that you remember most


There were many moments that I cherish but the last two years will remain marked in my life. Last season with Naxxar Lions we made it to the playoffs and this season Sirens played in the First Division Final against Sliema.


Describe your current team…Sirens

In the beginning of this season nobody considered Sirens to reach the First Division Final. Sirens has a very low budget and the players themselves pay for all the necessities of the club. Being a team formed only in the last five years they couldn’t train properly and focus on the basics of futsal.

As a coach I also worked hard to manage the team and took the responsibility of the team’s administration. This was fruitful in giving a boost in the club’s image and improving the way the team played throughout the season.

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Tell us something about the thesis you’re writing about futsal

The thesis named Improving futsal in Malta, it is self explaining that it is meant to improve the level of the game and increase in populatity. I’m presenting this thesis together with Claudio Azzopardi as part of the course I’m taking on Sports and Active Lifestyles.

We interviewed Peter Sturges ex national England coach and Michael Skubala who was his assistant at that time and now took Sturges’ place. Skubala apart from coaching England’s futsal national team, he also coaches the Under 23 national football team. The list of interviewees continues with Pete Yallance England’s youth futsal coach, Idafe Perez who’s a Spanish coach who worked and coached at Loughborough University. Perez is now head coach of Helvecia. Seth Burket London futsal player and ex youth England futsal player and Shanin Ehtesham Rassi from Iran who coaces London Futsal and played as a professional futsal player in Holland.

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Your personal objectives

I wish to continue learning about the wonderful game of futsal and that my thesis will serve to help all those involved in the local futsal scenario.

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Hamrun break sweat to sink Lija

Hamrun Spartans had to sweat for a place in the Gatorade KO final and only managed to secure a 4-2 victory in the dying seconds of the game against a battling Lija side.
This match, which was also played behind closed doors, had a high tempo as both teams showed character throughout the whole 40 minutes.

Last Wednesday’s play-off final defeat to Valletta placed pressure on Hamrun. Knowing that his side’s only hope of silverware rests with the Gatorade KO, Paul Rapa motivated his troop to clinch a place in the final against Luxol.
However, their mission was not an easy one as they were pinned at the back with Lija showing an extraordinary ability to vary their play and open out on the flanks.
They had to break sweat to sink a gallant Lija side who were unlucky to hit the post four times in the second half.
Hamrun opened the scoring when Rodrigo Ticz Particio hit home courtesy of a deflection by a Lija player.
Montes Burgos and Chris Cardona had good chances to get Lija back on level terms but were found wanting in attack.
The Spartans doubled the score minutes later when Robert Fenech received a precise pass from Caetano de Abreu to slot the ball into the net.
Hamrun held the upperhand but Lija gradually regained their composure as they managed to reduce the gap through Chris Cardona after a quick counter attack.
Rodrigo Ticz Patricio completed a personal brace when he received from Losada Teruel to make it 3-1 before the interval.
Sensing Hamrun’s toils to get their usual passing game off the court, Lija increased their efforts in search of an equaliser.
On 23 minutes, Kurt Bartolo unleashed a powerful drive from outside the arc that hit the post.
Again it was Bartolo who was unlucky as he saw his shot from close range parried away by the Hamrun custodian Kevin Cassar, who was kept busy with a string of several saves.
The Spartans survived three further scares when shots from Del Re and Cardona hit the woodwork.
Lija succeeded to reduce the scoreline when Jason Gauci’s fierce shot finished at the back of the net.
Hamrun were on the ropes with Lija swarming forward, an equaliser seemed inevitable.
Despite all this, in came Michael Spiteri who resolved the issue when he cooly sent the ball inside the net after a good action on the counter.

Mqabba officially withdrawn from the Knock Out Competition

Mqabba FC have officially withdrawn from the competition and will therefore not turn up for tonight’s game. FMA suggested that Luxol turn up at the scheduled time so that match officials may take note.

The second match between Hamrun and Lija is being moved earlier to 9pm, by mutual agreement.

Match is once again being played behind closed doors, so police and FMA security are instructed to allow only players (including suspended players), club officials on the bench, other club officials, match officials, FMA staff and press members.

Make or break for Spartans, Luxol

The Gatorade KO competition has reached a decisive phase as four teams will be vying for a place in the final when the semi-finals are played at the Corradino Pavillion tonight.
Success in the Gatorade KO competition is Luxol’s and Hamrun’s objective tonight but the latter can’t afford a repeat of their lame showing in the 10-4 league defeat to Valletta two days ago if they are to offer Lija a stern challenge in today’s semifinal.
In the first match, Luxol start as clear favourites to advance to the final of the Gatorade KO as they take on Division One side Mqabba (kick-off 20.00 hrs)
Frane Despotovic’s men have been inactive for more than a month after their elimination in the play-offs. They hope that this competition will give them further success to add another trophy after winning the Super Cup in the initial part of the season.
The St Andrews outfit, who stunned Valletta 2-1 in the quarter finals, will now look to add further gloss to their season by making further progress in this competition.
On their part, Mqabba had an impressive run in this KO after ousting Gozo 9-2 and Elite side Swieqi 8-2.
Hamrun will be determined to bounce back from Wednesday’s disappointing league defeat to Valletta, which costed them the championship, when they take on Lija Athletic (21.45 hrs) with a place in the cup final at stake.
The Reds, who beat Sirens 7-2 in the quarter finals, are now devoting all their focus to the Gatorade KO as they bid to win this honour to make up for their recent disappointment.
Lija, who had a positive season in the championship, will be going all out to make it to the final.

Valletta crowned champions in a rip-roaring final

Valleta were crowned champions, as they dominated the third decisive Elite Final against Hamrun Spartans with the final score of 10-4. On the road to this final, Hamrun won the first encounter 13-12 on penalties and Valletta won the second with an end result of 7-6.
On the third minute, Valletta’s Dylan Musu opened the score followed by Cristian Cuadros Silva who made it a double. The third goal of the Citizens was scored by Jovica Milijic.
On the 11th minute Mohammed Elamari skipped the goalkeeper Brian Baldacchino and netted his first personal game for the might, from an angled position. He made his score a double, less than a minute later.
Hamrun Spartans opted for George Frendo to play as a flying keeper but this proved out to be an unsuccessful attempt, as Milijic took the opportunity in scoring in an empty net from half court.
Hamrun were awarded a penalty together with their first score in the last six minutes of the first half, as Milijic handed the ball in the penalty area. It was Rodrigo Tics Patricio who used the penalty opportunity to obtain the first goal for the Spartans. As if motivated from this move, Andy Mangion put again the ball at the back of the net, from a corner taken by Frendo.
Just before break-time, both Musu and Milijic scored again easily in an empty net, because of the flying keeper.
The third goal for Hamrun was listed in the third minute of the second half through Frendo.
Peter Pullicino hardly managed to cope in playing as flying keeper due to a groin injury. In fact, it was no hard job for Dejan Bizjak to improve the score for Valletta to 9-3.
Unexpectedly Rodrigo scored the fourth and last goal for Hamrun.
Both teams had their scoring opportunities, the last one towards the end, when Cuadros Silva scored again and made the final score 10-4.
After the match, FMA President Mark Borg accompanied by Farsons’ representatives, on behalf of Gatorade, presented the mementos, medals and the respective cups to the match officials and to both teams. The celebrations’ apex was fulfilled by Xavier Saliba raising the cup for Valletta, officially declared as champions.

Final to be played behind closed doors

Further the communication received from Police, the Futsal Malta Association has commissioned a reputable Security Management company to evaluate the current circumstances, taking into account the disproportionate level of tension between the clubs, the venue set-up and the level of security services available to the association.

A site inspection was carried out and a number of stakeholders were interviewed. From the Risk Assessment received this morning, the FMA is being categorically advised to stage the final behind closed doors, in view of the high risk profile, with the aim of putting public safety.

Although the FMA is deeply saddened with this recommendation, because of the lost opportunity to promote the game to a higher level, the association feels that public safety.

The FMA is therefore informing the clubs that the championship final will be held on Wednesday 25th May at 8.00pm behind closed doors.

Night to remember for Milijic

Jovica Milijic stole the show at the MFA Awards 2016 yesterday as the Valletta and Malta international secured the prestigious award of the Futsal player of the year.

Milijic, a key figure in Valletta’s march to the final of the Gatorade Elite play-offs, was summoned to the stage during last night’s ceremony, organised by the MFA.

It was the FMA president Mark Borg who announced the winner as two other contenders, Melvin Borg and Karl Azzopardi were also nominated for this award.

Milijic was born on January 20th 1986, he is 30 years old and has been playing futsal for a number of years with various clubs such as Scandals, Balzan, Hamrun and Valletta.

He made his international debut with the Maltese national team in 2013 against Georgia and has made several appearances since then scoring also two goals.

At club level he also played in the UEFA Futsal Cup.
During this first season with Valletta, Milijic scored 18 goals in the Gatorade Futsal League.
He is still in contention of winning the championship should Valletta win the last encounter in the play-off final series against Hamrun.
Elsewhere, Florin Anton, who plays with futsal with Luxol, was chosen as the BOV Third Division Best player in 11-a-side football.
Anton, who plays with Ghaxaq, had a memorable season as he helped the Southerners secure promotion to Division Two.
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Elite Final Leg 3 – Postponed

Following the Disciplinary Board Decision regarding what happened at the end of the Elite Final’s second leg between Valletta and Hamrun Spartans, the last and decisive match has been postponed. More details to follow about this decision.