Month: January 2017

Spirited Malta denied by last-gasp goal against Albania

Kevin Azzopardi
MFA Head of Communications

Malta were seconds away from opening their account in their final Group D game of the 2018 Euro Futsal Championship preliminary round but their hopes were shattered by a last-gasp goal which gave Albania a narrow 3-2 win this evening.

After emphatic victories over hosts Bulgaria (7-1) and England (5-1), Albania were widely fancied to end their group commitments with another fine win but the Maltese side produced their best performance
in this tournament to make life difficult for the group winners.

Malta, who lost to England and Bulgaria in their opening two games, led 2-1 at half-time after goals from Carl Azzopardi (12) and George Frendo (19).

Narcis Alibegu had given Albania a 10th-minute advantage and Azem Brahimi equalised early in the second half but Malta retained their composure.

Peter Pullicino’s side also had a couple of chances to surge ahead in the second half. Albania duly profited as Halim Selmanaj hit the winner with 30 seconds remaining.

“Luck was definitely not on our side,” Mark Borg, the president of Futsal Malta who is heading the Maltese contingent in Varna, told www.mfa.com.mt.

“Group winners Albania were made to sweat and they only managed to edge our team with a last-gasp winner 30 seconds from time.

“We were so close to our first international point but yet so far.”

Albania topped the group with a maximum nine points.

MALTA SQUAD
Neil Cuschieri (GK); Giancarlo Sammut; Jovica Milijic; Mark Zammit; Andy Mangion; Matthew Xerxen (GK); Carl Azzopardi; Glenn Bonello; Nicola Del Re; George Frendo;
Melvin Borg; Xavier Saliba; Dylan Musu; Matthew Attard.

Malta falter after promising first-half showing

KEVIN AZZOPARDI
MFA’S DIRECTOR OF COMMUNICATIONS

A spiriting first-half showing was not enough for Malta to open their account in Group D of the 2018 European Futsal Championship Preliminary Round as Peter Pullicino’s men conceded a 6-1 defeat to hosts Bulgaria this evening.

The Maltese team, who had also suffered a 6-1 loss to England in their first group game on Tuesday, held their own in the opening period but were unable to convert the chances that came their way.

Jovica Milijic missed an inviting opportunity early on while Xavier Saliba failed to score from the penalty spot on 14 minutes.

Bulgaria, who were beaten 7-1 by Albania in their opening game on Tuesday, had to wait until the 19th minute to open the scoring through Plamen Stoykov.

The hosts sealed their victory in the second half as Stoykov was on target three times to take his tally to four goals while Martin Ivanov and Daniel Nestorov got the other goals.

Malta’s consolation goal was scored by Giancarlo Sammut three minutes from time.

In today’s other game, Albania inflicted a 5-1 defeat on England to maintain their perfect record, in the process securing qualification to the next round of the 2018 Euro Futsal Championship.

Malta face Albania in their final group match on Friday at 4.30pm while Bulgaria and England, both on three points, meet in the other game.

MALTA’S LINE-UP
Matthew Xerxen, Giancarlo Sammut, Jovic Milijic, Mark Zammit, Andy Mangion.
Substitutes: Neil Cuschieri, Carl Azzopardi, Glenn Bonello, Nicola Del Re, George Frendo, Melvin Borg, Xavier Saliba, Dylan Musu, Matthew Attard.

Slick England see off Malta

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
The Maltese national team started their commitments in the Futsal Euro 2018 Preliminary Round Group D tournament as they went down to England 6-1 at the Varna Sports Palace in Bulgaria.
But to their credit Peter Pullicino’s men produced a determined display that saw them equalize four minutes after England managed to surge ahead.
The score remained one-all for the next seven minutes but England gained the upperhand and started scoring at regular intervals to gain a 4-1 advantage before the interval.
The English started the second half with some fancy play but Malta men never lost composure as they produced some sound defensive play and excellent goalkeeper from Matthew Xerxen.
Malta tried to produce a reaction as Peter Pullicino opted for Xavier Saliba as their flying keeper to instill more pressure on the English rearguard.
England did add two more goals to their credit to wrap up victory.
Medina Borges Pinto and Maximilian Kilman were in fine form for the Three Lions as they netted a brace while Luke Ballinger and William Wallace were also on the mark.
Malta’s temporary equalizer came from Andy Mangion.
Malta, led by coach Peter Pullicino, meet hosts Bulgaria in their second game on Wednesday (7pm) while, on the same day, England take on Albania. The Maltese side end their group commitments on Friday with a match against Albania (4.30pm).

England: Croft(GK), Reed, Raoni Medina(C), Cook, Wallace, Sims(GK), Goldstein, Rexha, Kilman, Palfreeman, Bettson, Ballinger, Webb, Ward
Malta: Xerxen(GK), Azzopardi, Bonello, Milijic, Musu, Cuschieri(GK), Sammut, Del Re, Frendo, Borg, Zammit(C), Saliba, Mangion, M. Attard

National futsal squad heads to Bulgaria on Sunday

The Malta futsal team, led by coach Peter Pullicino, will head to Bulgaria this Sunday ahead of their participation in a Futsal Euro 2018 Preliminary Round tournament.

Malta has been drawn in Group D along with England, Albania and Bulgaria with the matches scheduled to be played between Tuesday, January 24 and Friday, January 27 at the Palace of Culture & Sports in Varna.

The Maltese contingent will be headed by Mark Borg, the president of Futsal Malta and MFA Executive Committee member.

Malta’s first game is against England on Tuesday, starting at 4.30pm (Maltese time).

On Wednesday, Pullicino’s team face hosts Bulgaria at 7pm before concluding their group commitments with a match against Albania next Friday (kick-off 4.30pm).

The referees for this four-team tournament are Barton Josip, from Macedonia, Hora Hennadly, from Ukraine, Jaruchiewicz Damian, from Poland, and Estonian Osomkov Grigori.

The squad called up by national futsal coach Peter Pullicino is as follows:

Goalkeepers – Neil Cuschieri (Valletta FC), Matthew Xerxen (Luxol FC).

Defenders – Melvin Borg (Valletta FC), Nicola Del Re (Luxol FC), Jovicia Milijic (Valletta FC), Giancarlo Sammut (Luxol FC), Mark Zammit (Luxol FC).

Forwards – Karl Azzopardi (Luxol FC), Matthew Attard (Luxol FC), Glenn Bonello (Luxol FC), George Frendo (Msida FC), Andy Mangion (Luxol FC), Dylan Musu (Valletta FC), Xavier Saliba (Valletta FC).

TECHNICAL STAFF

Head coach – Peter Pullicino; Team Manager – John Mizzi; Assistant coach – Zeljko Ancic; Team doctor – Daniel McKean; Physiotherapist – Adam Briffa; Kit Manager – Mark Sammut

DSC_9284 (Large)

photos (C) Joe Borg

Hamrun inflict Swieqi’s first loss

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Hamrun Tre Angeli staged a great comeback in the second half to hand Swieqi their first defeat of the season after beating them 6-5.
Prior to Monday’s match, Swieqi had gained six straight wins in the Gatorade Futsal League.
The match turned out to be an exciting affair with Swieqi squandering their lead as the Red/Blacks fought back to level matters after the second half and then notch the crucial goals to make sure of returning to winning ways.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for Swieqi as they displayed some good moves and could have easily scored, at least, another goal had it not been for a couple of superb saves by Hamrun goalkeeper Matthew Mifsud at the start of the second half.
Jason Gauci, Redeemer Borg, Boicho Marev, Fredrick Johansson and Andre Ciancio got the goals for Swieqi with Hamrun hitting back through a hat-trick from Brazilian Everton Veve, a brace by Daniele Degennaro and an own goal.

Mriehel ESS and Sliema figured out in an exciting 4-4 draw.
A match which had all the good elements of a balanced affair ended with Sliema and Mriehel ESS sharing 8 goals and the spoils, a result which leaves both teams on level points.
It was a great duel between two teams that needed to move off the danger zone.
In the final reckoning, it was a fitting result that rewarded the efforts of both teams.
Eslam Khalifa netted a brace while Julian Rodriguez and Emanuel Muscat added more goals for Mriehel.
Adam Wingfield hit the target twice as Aleksandar Ribic, and Darren Agius were also on the mark for Sliema.

University of Malta chalked up a comfortable 8-0 win over Zurrieq Wolves.
The students, fresh from two consecutive wins saw more of the possession with their goals coming at regular intervals through a poker from Andrea Farrugia, a brace from Djordje Maksimovic and goals from Shawn Deguara and Martin Caruana.

Standings:
Luxol, Valletta 21; Hamrun Tre Angeli, Swieqi FC 15; Msida, Qormi Futsal, University of Malta 12;Safi Lorenzo, Qrendi 9; Mriehel ESS, Sliema 7; Marsascala 6; Tarxien JMI, Zurrieq Wolves, Swieqi U21 0.

Easy for Luxol, Qormi climb sixth

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Luxol achieved their seventh win on the trot as they routed Mriehel ESS 9-0.
The St Andrews outfit made sure of the points in the first half when they opened a five-goal advantage.
They took the lead after 2 minutes through Mark Zammit. Four minutes later, it was 2-0 when debutant Dejan Bizjak netted from close distance.
Luxol managed to maintain the upperhand as they scored twice in a minute through Giancarlo Sammut and Zvezdan Vukovic.
Before the interval Emil Andrei Raducu hit the target to install a 5-0 advantage.
After the break, Luxol were all over their opponents, scoring four more times through a hat-trick by their player-coach Frane Despotovic and another goal from Vukovic.
Qormi chalked up a deserved 10-5 win over Swieqi Under 21 to level Hamrun and Msida on the 12-point mark.
Qormi completely dominated the first half as they gained a 7-1 advantage to make sure of the three points at stake.
In the second half, Swieqi’s youth team produced a better performance and succeeded in scoring four more goals to make a respectable score.
Adrian Fenech was Qormi’s star as he hit the target five times while Dylan Agius was on the mark twice.
George Chircop, Luca Mallia and James Tabone completed the score for Qormi.
Swieqi Under 21 scored their consolation goals through braces from Lydon Baldacchino and Jamie Mangion while Jurgen Ciantar also put his name on the score sheet.
The Gatorade Futsal League resumes today as Hamrun take on Swieqi in the big match of the week while in the late kick-off Mriehel ESS face Sliema.

Valletta hit back to win a tight match

STEPHEN AZZOPARDI

As many highly expected, the match between Valletta and Hamrun Tre Angeli turned out to be a tight match, with both teams fighting to maintain the best position on the table. Hamrun lost three points against Luxol while Valletta won all their previous matches.
Hamrun started on a positive note through a quick double advantage, thanks to Daniele Degennaro. Raphinha reduced the matters and put again the Citizens in the match. Melvin Borg managed to level the result, scoring a powerful goal. In the remaining 40 seconds of the first half, Daniele Degennaro sealed his personal hat-trick and put Hamrun again on the lead.
After the first two minutes of the second half, Xavier Saliba scored Valletta’s third goal. As in response, Jason Mifsud answered with the fourth goal for Hamrun with Raphinha again leveling the result. From this moment onwards it seemed there was no looking back for the Lillywhites, who in the last two minutes took absolute control of the match. Denis Di Maio’s and two more goals from Raphinha in the last 30 seconds, paved the way for Valletta’s supporter’s celebrations.
Also during this week of futsal, Sliema returned to the winning ways, beating Zurrieq Wolves 11-3. George Frendo’s six goals led Msida to retain their positive trail with a great win of 13-4 against Qrendi. The University students celebrated their 50th game in the local futsal competition with a bang as they took over Tarxien JMI winning 11-4. Safi San Lorenzo came back after two difficult encounters against Luxol and Valletta, winning Marsascala 5-2.

Luxol confirm their top position

STEPHEN AZZOPARDI

The late hours of Friday evening witnessed Luxol’s supremacy, as Hamrun Tre Angeli were faced off, with a score of 4-0. Hamrun started on a bad foot as Emil Andrei Raducu’s shot was deflected to an autogoal.
Afterwards Zvezdan Vukovic together with Emil Andrei Raducu changed the half time score reading to 3-0. Throughout the second half both teams kept a sharp eye on each others’ actions which resulted in a more balanced encounter. However, to worsen Hamrun’s position, Daniel Mifsud was sent off after receiving the yellow card for the second time.
Finally Luxol’s Carl Azzopardi sealed the end result to 4-0.
The University students returned to win, this time 7-4 against Marsascala Construct Furniture. A brace from Djordje Masksimovic together with goals from Andrea Farrugia, Martin Caruana, Jean Carl Cuschieri, Gaetano Gesualdi and Paul Scerri, led to the second win for the UOM’s team. Marsascala reduced the arrears through Paulo Caetano’s hat trick and Reuben Degabriele’s goal.
Mriehel ESS obtained their second consecutive win when beating Swieqi U21 13-4. The veteran futsal player Eslam Khalifa scored five goals, Julian Rodriguez made a hat-trick, Fabio Grech and Ryan Buhagiar scored two goals, while Mark Galea scored another goal. Braces from Lydon Baldacchino and Karl Sciortino weren’t enough for the Swieqi’s youngsters.
Champions Valletta easily dominated Safi San Lorenzo winning with the end result of 14-4. Raphael Felipe Ortiz de Oliveira was again in the limelight when scoring six goals. Valletta’s captain Xavier Saliba had a poker and Denis Di Maio, a hat-trick. Dylan Musu also put his name in the scoresheet for Valletta. Clive Calleja, Franklin Seisun, Sean Vella and Terrence Cachia scored the four consolation goals for Safi San Lorenzo.

Swieqi keep the pace, Qrendi, Qormi maintain positive trend

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Swieqi FC maintained their match in the Gatorade Futsal League and joined rivals Luxol and Valletta at the top of the standings after an easy 11-1 win over Sliema Wanderers.
Nikola Farrugia’s boys dominated possession for long stretches and had their talisman player Boicho Marev in fine form as he struck a poker.
Jason Gauci netted a brace while Timothy Gingell, Andre Ciancio, Fredrick Johansson, Christian Wismayer and Redeemer Borg completed the score for Swieqi.
Paul Bugeja scored Sliema’s consolation goal.
Meanwhile Qrendi registered their third victory of the season after seeing off Tarxien JMI 9-6.
After an evenly balanced affair in most parts of the match, Qrendi took the upperhand and managed to score in the crucial minutes of the game.
Craig Pickard helped himself by scoring a hat-trick while Robert Baldacchino hit the target twice. David Delicata, Bertram Azzopardi, Godfrey Cutajar and Jeremy Cutajar also put their names on the score sheet for Qrendi.
Joseph Meilak (2) Michele Bucciano, Lawrence Gheiti, Lawrence Buhagiar and Malcolm Berry were Tarxien’s goal scorers.
George Chircop chalked up three goals as Qormi edged Zurrieq Wolves 7-4.
Andrew Catania and Adrian Fenech scored two goals apiece to help Qormi notch their second consecutive victory.
Zurrieq Wolves, who are still without a point in this campaign, had a brace from Russell Camilleri and other goals from Andrew Attard and Peter Paul Cassar.