Month: April 2017

Title challengers share spoils in 4-4 draw

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Title contenders Hamrun and Luxol had to settle for a point apiece after their Gatorade Elite Round top-of-the-table clash ended in a 4-4 draw.
Both teams gave life to an absorbing encounter which saw them share them eight goals in a nail-biting draw.
After breaking the deadlock early in the match, Hamrun tried to impose themselves on the game but the St Andrews outfit made a bold reaction to level matters and consequently net the second goal.
Three minutes from the break, Hamrun managed to restore parity
The second half was balanced with both teams trading goals. The drawn result was a fair outcome as neither side deserved to lose.
Jason Mifsud struck a brace for Hamrun with Peter Pullicino and Cleavon Portelli adding more goals for the Reds.
Giancarlo Sammut, who scored a hat-trick and Mark Zammit put their names on the scoresheet for Luxol.
Swieqi FC returned to winning ways after seeing off University of Malta 13-1 to prepare well for the upcoming play-offs.
As the finale scoreline clearly indicates, it was a rampant attacking performance from Nikola Farrugia’s boys who tore apart the students’ defensive department.
Boicho Marev was the undoubted protagonist for Swieqi as he netted six goals. Besides that he had a hand in the majority of the goals scored by his team yesterday as his surging runs created havoc in the University defence.
Fredrick Johansson was another outstanding performer for the Oranges, particularly for his distribution of the ball and openings in the opponents’ half as he also found the time to net a brace.
On the other hand Dylan Micallef, Dexter O’Brien, Redeemer Borg, Dimitar Petev and Vesko Gerenski were also on the mark for Swieqi.
University of Malta scored their consolation goal through Andrea Farrugia.
Meanwhile in the Gatorade First Division, Sliema extended their positive patch after defeating Mriehel ESS 5-2.
Mauro Busuttil and Radovan Duric hit a brace for the Wanderers with the other goal coming from Aleksandar Ribic.
Mriehel, who are still in contention for a play-off berth, had Ayoub Ahmad hitting the target twice.
Tarxien JMI also returned to winning ways as they hammered Zurrieq Wolves to the tune of 6-0.
Their third win of the season was never in doubt from the moment Leonard Alla fired them ahead after just 4 minutes.
What followed was a brilliant performance from Tarxien who outclassed the poor Zurrieq, adding five more goals from a hat-trick by Joseph Meilak, Ruben Sanchez and Vince Camilleri.

Title Race enters decisive stage

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Rivals Luxol, Hamrun and Valletta, all flying high in the table, are widely tipped to produce a fitting finale to the last phase of the 2016-17 top-flight campaign.
With the beginning of the play-off finals on the doorstep, two of these three juggernauts, Hamrun and Luxol share a resolve to emerge winners from their direct encounter tonight (kick-off 20.00) and bolster their morale for the battles ahead.
Hamrun are justified in thinking that the initial difficult times of the campaign are behind them after eleven victories on the trot propelled them into the upper reaches of the table.
For their part, Luxol are having a great campaign, having won 14 out of 15 matches.
The St Andrews side can rely on the flair of trio Frane Despotovic, Celino Alves and Emil Raducu who have scored vital goals for their side.
On the other hand, Hamrun hope that their key players Everton Veve and Daniele Degennaro will extend their positive patch of late.
The two teams have met once this season as Luxol emerged clear winners after seeing off Hamrun 4-0.
On the other hand, in the late kick-off, a balanced affair is expected in the match between University of Malta and Swieqi.

Msida, Qormi confirm good form, Great comeback from Swieqi U21

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Msida continued their impressive march at the top of the Gatorade First Division standings after overcoming Safi San Lorenzo 7-3.
As the scoreline indicates, Msida produced a positive performance to impose themselves on court and land their tenth win of the season.
The Seasiders were again mastered by the usual Mohammed Elamari who helped himself with a hat-trick while Chris Cardona was also in scintillating form as he netted a brace.
Ryan Xuereb and Floren Manea completed the score for Msida who face their direct encounter against rivals Sliema on May 4th.
Alexei Saliba, Clive Calleja and Sean Vella were the goal-getters for Safi.
Qormi earned three precious points in a very close match against Qrendi as they won 6-3.
Nippy strikers George Chircop and Miguel Alcaraz maintained their goal-scoring spree after hitting the target twice for Qormi while Sam Vella and James Tabone added to their tally.
Qrendi, who offered stern resistence to their opponents, replied through goals from Alan Spiteri, Bertram Azzopardi and an own goal by Etienne Bonnici.
In another clash from the bottom end of the table, Swieqi Under 21 came from behind to see off Marsascala 3-1.
Reuben Degabriele put Marsascala ahead on 11 minutes. But the youngsters from Swieqi stormed back and goals from Dean Bonello, Darryl Schembri and own goal by Ryan Mifsud earned them the three points.

Luxol beat Valletta in another thrilling match

STEPHEN AZZOPARDI
From the Elite Round, Luxol and Valletta gave another exciting match at the Corradino Sport Pavillion. After a goalless first half, both teams struggled to have the opening score. The turning point of the match came when Dylan Musu was shown a red card for harsh comments addressed to the referee. While Valletta were a man down, a striking shot from Nicola Del Re, opened the score for Luxol. From that point, the Citizens put everything forward and Xavier Saliba came out as the flying keeper. Luxol managed to double the score through Celino Alves. Xavier Saliba missed the opprtunity to reduce the score, when he hit the crossbar from the second penalty spot.
Definitely it was a big no for the Universitarians, who faced second placed Hamrun Tre Angeli. Even though Hamrun were without Everton Da Silva Santos, they still easily and meritedly won for 6-1. We have to highlight that Hamrun’s young goalkeeper Marc Ciangura was at his best throughout the whole match. Experienced players such as Florin Anton and Peter Pullicino were instrumental as they scored together with Jason Mifsud and Cleaven Portelli who had a brace apiece. UOM’s sole goal was scored by Glen Sultana.

Sliema Wanderers retain their chase to the top

STEPHEN AZZOPARDI
Sliema Wanderers obtained a stunning win of 10-1 against Marsascala Construct Furniture, and kept chasing Msida SJ to the be on top of the table. Early in the match the Wanderers gained a double advantage through Radovan Duric and Aleksander Ribic. With an immediate response, Marsascala Construct Furniture’s Reuben Degabriele found the net for the Southenders. This moment led Sliema to regain their forces and take control of the rest of the game, resulting in more goals. Before the break, Mauro Busuttil scored twice while Sean Keane Cassar Degabriele also jotted down his name on the score sheet. Throughout the second half, Sliema Wanderers gave a lack of chances to Marsascala and continued to score through Radovan Duric, Uros Markovic, Christian Micallef, Mauro Busuttil and Nikolay Filipov.
Swieqi U21 also registered an impressive 7-1 victory over Zurrieq Wolves. Swieqi’s youngsters had Timothy Gingell who marked a hat-trick, together with goals scored by Lydon Baldacchino, Dean Bonello, Jamie Mangion and an own goal. Russell Camilleri scored the only goal for Zurrieq Wolves.

Msida go top after comeback win

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Msida St Joseph maintained their superb form in the Gatorade First Division to cruise to another convincing victory, this time at the expense of Qormi Futsal.
The Seasiders are now one point ahead of nearest rivals Sliema and two points from third-placed Mriehel ESS.
Despite their 5-3 defeat, Qormi Futsal gave their all during the entire match also finding the time to establish a quickfire double advantage before the break.
Msida started the second period on the offensive and in no time they managed to level the matters and pave the way for their ninth win of the season.
Mohammed Elamari was twice on the mark for Msida while Liam Cachia, Floren Manea and an own goal completed to their score.
George Chircop, Andrew Catania and Lawrence Vella were the goal-getters for Qormi.

Safi San Lorenzo chalked up their second consecutive win to maintain their intention for a play-off spot after a 7-2 scoreline over Tarxien JMI.
It took Safi only two minutes to take the lead through Clive Calleja but five minutes later Tarxien restored parity through Preston Ellul.
Safi extended their advantage through Sean Vella and Clive Calleja until Allan Cachia reduced the gap to 3-2 before half-time.
Tarxien tried to be more adventurous in their approach in the second half but in so doing, they left the backdoor wide open and Safi took full advantage to score four more goals through Mauro Damato, Clive Calleja, Reuben Vella and Neil Vella to round up the scoring.

Meanwhile Qrendi chalked up their second consecutive win as they handed Mriehel ESS an unexpected 10-8 defeat.
Qrendi duo Antonello Brincat and Craig Pickard were behind the Greens’ success as they marshalled their team to victory.
On the other hand, Mriehel had some key players missing and these were certainly felt as they suffered their second consecutive defeat.
Antonello Brincat, Craig Pickard, Alan Spiteri and Bertram Azzopardi helped themselves with a brace apiece while David Delicata and Dwayne Grech were also on target for Qrendi.
Ayoub Ahmad notched a poker, Faisal Alnakua hit the target twice while Kamal Edgeli and Ayrton Duncan were also on the mark for Mriehel.

Champions back to winning ways

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
A great second half performance ensured Valletta to return to winning ways after seeing off University of Malta 6-2
The Citizens, who lost to Hamrun in their previous outing, found it hard to penetrate the students’ organized defence at first but five goals in the second part of the match, paved the way for their thirteenth victory of the season.
Denis di Maio and Daniel Aguilera Puerto netted a double while Melvin Borg and Rodrigo Ticz Patricio also found the net.
The students, who were making their official debut in the Elite Round, had Neil Cauchi and Aidan Caruana on the mark.
Hamrun Tre Angeli maintained their positive trend in the championship after beating Swieqi FC 5-2.
After finding themselves 2-0 down before the break, Swieqi produced a quickfire reaction to level the matters.
Most of all, Hamrun’s keeper Matthew Mifsud distinguished himself with some great saves.
Despite their opponents’ initial attacks, Hamrun maintained their composure and quickly extended their advantage to grab their most desired victory and climb second in the standings.
Cleavon Portelli and Frank Paul Azzopardi scored two braces apiece while Brazilian star Veve also put himself on the score sheet.
Swieqi’s scored their goals through Redeemer Borg and Boicho Marev.

Photos: Kevin Cassar

Luxol defeated in Bielsko Biala

ROBERT BUSUTTIL

Rekord Bielsko-Biała – Luxol St. Andrews FC 7:3 (1:1)

Luxol lost their second international friendly at the Startowa Pavillion in Bielsko Biala after being beaten by Polish leagueleaders Rekord Bielsko Biala 7-3 yesterday afternoon.
This was the second match played in Poland for the St Andrews side after their positive 3-2 win over Piast Gliwice.
It was a tough encounter for Frane Despotovic’s boys who had a positive first half after quickly reacting to the opening goal scored by Bielsko Biala.
In the second half, the Polish side was more determined to win this match as they created goal-scoring opportunities and saw more of the ball.
Luxol refused to throw in the towel as Dejan Bizjak was their best player after netting a brace during this encounter.
Bielsko surged ahead on 6 minutes as Szymon Clichy surprised Xerxen after a fast move from the Polish players.
Luxol kept their cool and on the stroke of 15 minutes they managed to level the matters through a Dejan Bizjak’s header after being well served by Mark Zammit.
As the scoreline finished 1-1 before half-time, in the second half the Polish leaders was a revitalised side as they surged forward in search of goals.
They succeeded in doing this one minute after the start of the second period as Pawel Budniak’s shot finished on the top corner of the net.
Rekord were trying to impose superiority and they netted their third one through Michal Marek.
Luxol remained concentrated and again it was Dejan Bizjak who completed a personal brace to put the ball behind Polish keeper Nawrat.
The Polish leaders increased their aggressive approach and succeeded in scoring three more goals through Bondar, Marek and Budniak.
Meanwhile, Giancarlo Sammut found the time to reduce the score for the Maltese side until Poplawski sealed the issue for Rekord Bielsko Biala who will coincidentally meet Piast Gliwice in their next league encounter.
For the Maltese side this was an impressive training camp in Poland that gave their player-coach Frane Despotovic an idea of how to approach the next tough games in the Gatorade Futsal League.

Rekord: Nawrat – Popławski, Bondar, Budniak, Marek, Wachuła, Cichy, Borowicz, Polašek, Gąsior, Burzej
Luxol: Xerxen – Alves de Freitas, Zammit, Mangion, Bizjak, Despotović, Attard, Sammut, Vuković, Barbosa, Azzopardi, Mifsud

Msida go top as they win direct encounter

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Msida St Joseph beat Mriehel ESS 7-6 in last Monday’s top-of-the-table clash to open a one-point lead at the top of the standings although playing a game more.
The match lived up to expectations with both teams playing their hearts out to obtain the desired victory.
Msida had the better chances during the first half as they stormed to a 4-0 advantage in the first minutes of the match.
The shell-shocked Mriehel did their best to contain their opponents and after a time-out called by their coach, they were a transformed side as they succeeded in scoring three goals in succession to reduce the score to 4-3 before half time.
In the second half, the match resumed its exciting moments as Mriehel restored parity soon after.
The match was a rollercoaster of emotions as Msida keeper performed crucial saves to keep his side in the match.
The Seasiders made sure of the points in the last part of the game to temporarily move top of the standings although playing a game more than their rivals Sliema.
George Frendo was Msida’s star as he netted a hat-trick while Mohammed Elamari hit a brace. Liam Cachia and Chris Cardona were their other goal-scorers.
Mriehel, who missed a golden opportunity to move top of the table, had Marwan Terlisi, Ayoub Ahmad and Eslam Khalifa scoring a brace apiece.

In another match played on Monday, Qormi Futsal grabbed their second consecutive win after they annihilated Tarxien JMI 6-0.
The Yellows dominated the game from start to finish as they had George Chircop hitting the target three times while Miguel Alcaraz, Antoine Galea and James Tabone were also on the mark.
A polished Safi San Lorenzo side returned to winning ways after a 5-0 victory over bottom club Zurrieq Wolves.
Safi were motivated to get the three points after their latest disappointing results as goals from Clive Calleja (2), Sean Vella, Mauro Damato and Nathaniel Borg ensured of their seventh victory of the season.

Luxol triumph in Poland

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Luxol managed to win their first international friendly in Poland as they saw off hosts Piast Gliwice 3-2 in an entertaining affair.
It was a positive performance by Frane Despotovic’s boys that gave the utmost during the entire encounter against a Polish side who lie fourth in their country’s futsal league.
The Maltese team played a good level of futsal and Piast had their goalkeeper performing a string of good saves especially in the second half.
The opening minutes was a balanced encounter as both sides attacked in search of goal.
Piast surged ahead on 18 minutes as Krzysztof Piskorz scored from close range after taking advantage of a rebound.
Luxol didn’t lose their composure and in no time they levelled the matters after a Dejan Bizjak’s kick-in stamped into the post, in came Carl Azzopardi that from a tap-in put the ball into the net.
As the score ended 1-1 before the break, Luxol were a better lot in the second half as they enjoyed ball possession and control and they were surging forward in search of goal.
They succeeded in doing so on 26 minutes as Giancarlo Sammut hit the target after a well-taken set piece.
Immediately afterwards Piast goalkeeper was sent off by the referee after protesting heavily with the match officials.
Piast Gliwice were stunned and two minutes afterwards it was Frane Despotovic who shot home a direct freekick to make it 3-1.
The Polish side reduced the arrears seconds afterwards as Dewuckiego also put his name on the score sheet to make it 3-2 and create a dramatic finale.
Despite all this, Luxol defended boldly and controlled the proceedings to start their adventure in their training camp in Poland in an extremely positive way.
Luxol play their second match next Wednesday as they face league leaders Rekord Bielsko Biala.