Month: March 2017

Qrendi, Qormi sign off with entertaining draw, Marsascala through to semis

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Qrendi and Qormi signed off from their first round commitments with an entertaining 5-5 scoreline.
It was an extremely balanced encounter with both teams attacking relentlessly in search of goal.
George Chircop and Antoine Galea were in fine form for Qormi as they hit a brace while James Tabone also put his name on the score sheet.
Qrendi had Craig Pickard and Antonello Brincat netting a brace while Alan Spiteri added to their tally.
The attention of futsal lovers this week is shifted to the Gatorade KO quarter finals as Marsascala managed to reach the semifinals after ousting Safi San Lorenzo 5-3.
This was a historic result for the Southseasiders as they stunned their opponents with quick counter attacks that were lethal at times.
As the score was 5-2, Safi opted for the flying keeper to instill more pressure on the Marsaskala defence but the latter defended well to grab the semifinals.
Franklin Abela helped himself with a brace while Reuben Degabriele, Johann Callus and Justin Mifsud were the other goal-getters for Marsaskala.
Safi reduced the score through Franklin Seisun, Sean Vella and Nathaniel Borg.

A Closer Look At … Clive Calleja (Safi San Lorenzo)

STEPHEN AZZOPARDI
Name: Clive Calleja
Born on: 29.12.1987
Plays for Safi San Lorenzo
Works as: Accountant
Hobbies: Football; supporting Liverpool

How long have you been playing futsal?
I started futsal in 2009 where I joined Los Street boys. On my first season we won promotion to the 1st Division equivalent to nowadays top division. We played a decider against Sliema Bilbao. The match ended 1-1 and we won through a penalty shootout. Against all odds during the same season we also managed to make it to the final of the knockout but we lost the match against a much better equipped Naxxar Motors.


The following season we played in the top flight division where we encountered various difficulties due to the higher level in this division. However it was a great experience for all players involved. After this season Los Street Boys and Luxol Futsal Club joined forces and I also had a small spell with Luxol.


In season 2012/13 I joined Vittoriosa Stars who had a similar squad setup as my previous team and that was the main driving force which led to join Vittoriosa Stars. We won promotion from 1st division to Premier by placing 2nd place. The following season we had a good season in the top flight and again managed to make the finals of the knockout but we lost the final against Balzan


In 2014/15 I had a short spell with Balzan which was a learning curve in my futsal career. Now I am part of Safi San Lorenzo on our first year as a futsal club and I am looking forward to achieve all the targets of the club.

What do you think about this sport?
When I started playing futsal the sport was on a high. Everybody was interested in playing futsal and in fact there were 4 divisions which made it very interesting. However for various reasons nowadays Maltese futsal is losing its appeal and one can say that this is a shame. In my opinion we are risking of losing this beautiful game from the local scene and all of us who love this sport need to join forces and find a common way how to make things interesting again for everyone involved in local sports.

How can you define Safi San Lorenzo’s championship so far?
This is our first year as a futsal club. Most of the players in the team have no experience in Futsal and therefore we always accepted the fact that our first season will be a hard fought one. We are using this season as a learning curve for all involved and in fact in January we managed to sign the experienced coach Kevin Mifsud in order to help us achieve this target.

Analysing the results one can easily see that we had our ups and downs but fortunately enough we are a very strong group and we always look forward to bounce back in the difficult moments.

What are your main objectives for this season?
Our objective at the start of the season was to make it to the playoffs of the 1st division. Luckily enough we still have a chance of doing so and therefore one must say that we still have a good opportunity of achieving our targets.

Nominations for executive roles in the FMA

Following a meeting held yesterday, the Futsal Malta Association is receiving nominations for filling up the following executive roles:

President
Vice President
General Secretary

All nominations are to be sent to the Treasurer by email (fma.treasurer2011@gmail.com) by not later than Friday 7th April, following which an election will be held, if necessary. Nominations should also be accompanied by a declaration of acceptance.

Valletta roared victoriously on Luxol

STEPHEN AZZOPARDI
The encounter between Valletta and Luxol as usual was nothing but a breathless experience to all local futsal lovers. Both teams played with winning intentions, ending with a victory for Valletta as they roared and bravely defeated Luxol for the first time this season.
From the initial moments of the match, both teams attacked and played vigorously, rarely giving chance to each other. Even in the first minutes both teams played for a short period with their flying keeper, being Dylan Musu for Valletta and Frane Despotovic for Luxol.
After only five minutes of play Luxol went on the lead through Carl Azzopardi who from a near distance put the ball at the back of the net. Few seconds later, Serbian Dejan Bizjak doubled the score for Luxol through a direct free kick. Four minutes towards the end of the first half Celino Alves missed the target as he hit the post. A minute later Raphael Felipe Ortiz De Oliveira came across Luxol’s goalkeeper Clint Mifsud in a way that nobody could stop this Brazilian from scoring. Then it was the turn of Valletta’s captain to score the Citizen’s second goal, from a fierce renowned shot from the second penalty spot. Just few seconds towards the end of the first half, Luxol’s Gian Carlo Sammut hit the bar and both teams went for half time on equal matters.
In the first minute of the second half Sammut’s shot almost passed the ball by the line of goal. A minute later Raphael Felipe Oriz De Oliveira put his fellow team mates on the lead. In the seventh minute Luxol lost the opportunity to balance the matters as Andy Mangion found Valletta’s goalkeeper Neil Cushieri who saved the attempted goal, and two minutes later even Mark Zammit hit the post. It was Jovica Milijic a few seconds later who scored and increased Valletta’s advantage. A minute later Frane Despotovic’s score gave Luxol some relief until the 13th minute when Dylan Musu scored Valletta’s fifth goal. Three minutes from the end of the match Sammut gave hope to Luxol and reduced the score to 5-4. In the last crucial minute Gian Carlo Sammut was sent off after receiving the second yellow card. Finally Jovica Milijic had a brace and sealed the end reult of 6-4, putting the Lillywhites on celebration mode.

Late Friday night saw the impressive victory of fourth place Swieqi beating Qrendi 11-1. Boicho Marev had a brace, Redeemer Borg had a hat-trick, while Fredrik Johansson scored his 100th goal with Swieqi. Andre Ciancio, Christian Wismayer, Dylan Micallef, Veselin Gerenski and Dimitar Petev also scored for Swieqi. Qrendi’s only goal was scored by Craig Pickard.

University of Malta through to the Elite Round

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
University of Malta are among the top five teams in Maltese futsal after obtaining a 1-1 scoreline from their match against Sliema.
A point was enough to get the students through to the Elite Round where they will be facing Luxol, Valletta, Swieqi and Hamrun.
It was an electrifying encounter which saw a very sizeable crowd at the Corradino Pavillion with over 200 University supporters in celebration mode after this historic result.
As the students’ mentor Kyle Sultana said, “This is a project that is ongoing and now we are getting the desired results.”
The latter were motivated to get this result and after surging ahead, they managed to control their more experienced opponents who struggled to find solutions in attack.
A win was the only result that the Wanderers wanted and although having more possession they didn’t find it easy to get through a very disciplined and organized defence.
This result also meant that Sliema will play in Division One as they failed to get the three points. Despite this result, Aleksandar Ribic, who was making his debut as player-coach, saw his team prolong their unbeaten run to six matches.
The match was a cagey affair as both set of strikers found the going tough against two organized rearguards.
University of Malta surged ahead on 12 minutes through Shawn Deguara to install a 1-0 advantage before the break.
In the second half, Sliema were a determined lot as they tried hard to turn the tables but the University keeper Matthew Gatt was in fine form as he performed a string of important saves.
After considerable shots at goal, Sliema managed to restore parity one minute from time after a counter attack which saw Uros Markovic’s low drive going past the students keeper.
The Wanderers tried all their best to get the goal that would have given them the Elite place but the University students kept their cool to qualify for the most prestigious round of Maltese futsal.

In another match played today, Swieqi Under 21 registered their second win of the season as they saw off Tarxien JMI 3-1.
This victory helped Kenneth Fiteni’s team to reach their opponents on the six-point mark to end a satisfying first round of matches.
Jurgen Ciantar, Dale Vella and Jamie Mangion were Swieqi’s goal getters.

Hamrun deny Mriehel

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Ħamrun Tre Angeli came from behind to beat stubborn opponents Mrieħel ESS 6-3, cancelling out an early deficit to deny their opponents from a place in the Elite Round.
The Red/Blacks were credited for summoning enough pressure to win the match after a lacklustre first half.
Mrieħel were really flexible and defensively organised and played futsal, had good moments with passing and direction. They were found lacking in the final third though.
Mrieħel were off to a surprise start, taking the lead and establishing a 3-1 advantage before the interval.
Hamrun needed a response, a shot of energy, of inspiration after the break and inspired by their Brazilian talisman Everton Veve first drew level and then managed to turn the tables in their favour.
Sensing that they were home and dry, Hamrun held on to Mrieħel’s flacid reaction and on the stroke of full time they struck again to add some excessive gloss to their win.
Veve helped himself with a hat-trick, Jason Mifsud struck a brace while Alex Ellul added another one for Hamrun.
Mrieħel, who will now play in the First Division, had Ayoub Ahmad hitting the target twice and Ayrton Duncan also finding the net.
Msida ended their first round commitments with a 13-0 hammering of strugglers Żurrieq Wolves to move into the eighth place in the standings.
The game was over as a contest inside the opening minutes as the Seasiders surged into a considerable lead before adding more before half-time as the limited Wolves were outplayed.
Mohammed Elamari clinched a hat-trick, Floren Manea, George Frendo, Liam Cachia and Chris Cardona scored a brace apiece while Chris Cutajar and Ryan Xuereb added the tally for Msida.
In a hard-fought match, Safi San Lorenzo edged Qormi Futsal 5-4 to register their sixth victory of the season.
Their experienced player Clive Calleja was in inspirational mode as he netted three goals as Jonathan Bellizzi and Franklin Seisun were the other goal-getters.
Qormi, who gave a good account of themselves, had a double by Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Sam Vella and an own goal.

Universitarians grab the fifth place, which is still undecided

STEPHEN AZZOPARDI
Against all expectations the first round ended in an interesting race for the fifth place, between UOM, Mriehel ESS and Sliema Wanderers. Msida also had their chance but lost against Swieqi who maintained their fourth position.
UOM managed to win and grab the desired three points, through a very tight encounter against Qormi, with the end result of 2-1. After 13 minutes of play, the Universitarians went on the lead through Neil Cauchi. In the initial 8 minutes of the second half, Andrea Farrugia doubled the score, giving chance to the fellow students to kick off their celebrations. The last minute led Qormi to narrow the gap through Antoine Galea and to put everything forward. The young goalkeeper Jacob Cipriott, who had a stunning performance throughout the game, took the role of a flying keeper. The dying seconds proved to be also the end of every opportunity for Qormi to balance matters. They lost a golden chance to equalise the result through a freekick of a foul Cipriott received close to the penalty area.
Tarxien JMI added another three points and were detached from the last place, beating Zurrieq Wolves with the end result of 8-3. Leaders Luxol continued marching as they easily won against Marsascala Construct Furniture with the result of 11-0. Msida SJ found it tough to beat Swieqi as they lost for 4-1.

Elite spot still up for grabs as Mriehel and Sliema progress

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
One place is still up for grabs in the Elite Gatorade Futsal League with no fewer than four teams still fighting for that spot – Mriehel, Sliema, University of Malta and Msida.
With Luxol, Valletta, Hamrun and Swieqi already guaranteed of a place in the most important round, only four points are separating fifth-placed Sliema and Mriehel from Msida in eighth place.
The remaining spot will be decided in the next two round of matches with Mriehel and Sliema in pole position as they maintained their positive streak after winning their respective encounters.
Sliema managed to overturn a five-goal deficit as they came from behind to beat Qrendi 7-5.
Craig Pickard looked to have wrecked Sliema’s ambitions but a quickfire reaction saw the Wanderers turn the tables to a 7-5 score line before the interval.
In the second half, in came Serbian Uros Markovic who inspired the Wanderers with a sublime performance to ensure his team’s fourth consecutive win in the campaign.
Returning player Paul Bugeja was in fine form for Sliema as he netted five goals while Uros Markovic was three times on the mark.
Leandros Calleja scored a brace while Christian Micallef added another one for the winning team.
Qrendi had Craig Pickard scoring six goals while Antonello Brincat notched a hat-trick.
Mriehel ESS are also in contention for the fifth place after seeing off Safi San Lorenzo 7-2.
Mriehel’s win was deserved even though they had to wait until the second half to ensure of the three precious points.
Safi goalkeeper Christian Lia needed to produce a string of quality saves to keep his team in the match.
However in the second half, he had to surrender in four occasions as Faisal Alnakua was a continuous threat to his team’s rearguard.
Alnakua struck a poker for Mriehel while Ayoub Ahmad, Milad Najem and Marwan Telisi also put their names on the score sheet.
Safi’s consolation goals came from Clive Calleja and Leonard Zammit.
Marsascala Construct Furniture returned to winning ways after an impressive 6-3 win over Swieqi Under 21.
It was clear from the outset that Marsascala were desperate to bounce back from their unexpected defeat to Zurrieq Wolves last week.
Marsascala regained their earlier momentum and extended their lead in the second half to clinch their third victory of the season.
Denzil Pisani was the hero for the Sea Southsiders with a hat-trick, Franklin Abela was twice on target while Dylan Caruana added to their tally.
The youth team from Swieqi, who had a good first half, had Jamie Mangion, Lydon Baldacchino and Dale Vella on the mark.

Sliema continue to move forward

STEPHEN AZZOPARDI
Last week Sliema Wanderers came closer to the top five teams, after winning the mid-table encounter against Msida SJ.
As from the beginning of the first half, Sliema went on the lead after only two minutes of play through Darren Aitchinson. Another two goals from Serbian duo Uros Markovic and Radovan Duric gave Sliema a three goals advantage, before the end of the first half.
The second half was a more balanced one as Msida tried hard to equalise the score. Liam Cachia and George Frendo managed to momentarily reduce the gap . Radovan Duric scored his second personal goal in the match and in the last minute Sliema were awarded a penalty. From the penalty spot Nikolay Filipov sealed the end result of 5-2.
Earlier last week Valletta and Hamrun Tre Angeli kept their pace with leaders Luxol. Valletta won against Swieqi’s youngsters with the end result of 18-1, while Hamrun beated Safi San Lorenzo with the end result of 5-2. Mriehel ESS continued to impress as they gained another three points, winning 4-0 against UOM. Swieqi consolidated their fourth place as they won 14-0 against Tarxien JMI.
The match between Qormi and Qrendi had to be postponed due to power failure in the Corradino Sport Pavillion. This match has now been scheduled for Tuesday 28th April and kicks off at 9:15pm.

Wolves stun Marsascala to gain first win

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Zurrieq Wolves chalked up their first victory in the Gatorade Futsal League after they won their relegation clash with Marsascala Construct Furniture 3-0.
The Wolves produced a lively first half display grabbing two goals before the interval to stun the South Seasiders who struggled to reply on the counter.
Zurrieq opened strongly as they surged into a 2-0 half-time lead courtesy of Andrew Attard and Steve Sadowski.
Marsascala bounced back in the second period to try and overturn the deficit as they stormed into the offensive.
However the Wolves have to thank their keeper Jason Scicluna who denied the opponents with some good interventions.
Meanwhile, Alistair Camilleri sealed the issue for Zurrieq as he found the net from close range.
These first points of the season gave a huge boost to Zurrieq who wait eagerly for the second phase of the championship to improve in their performances.