Month: June 2017

Agreed the proposed Futsal Reform proposed by MFA

STEPHEN AZZOPARDI
In an AGM held last week, Futsal clubs unanimously voted in favour of the proposed Futsal Reform proposed by MFA which is intended to introduce a number of improvements in the coming months.
As a starting point, MFA recognised the importance of Futsal as a complementary game to 11-a-side football and is committed to step in and support futsal. In this regard, MFA feels that the development of the game should be boosted in such a way that all futsal related matters are co-ordinated by an in-house committee under the management of MFA. To this effect, a Futsal Committee will be set up from this season to embark on a strategy for the coming years which will also include representatives from the Technical Department, Youth FA and Refereeing Department.
The direct running of the national competitions will be delegated to a Standing Committee, made up of club representatives and assisted by a dedicated Futsal Clerk at the MFA. The Standing Committee will also be represented on the Futsal Committee.
The reform will be phased over the span of the coming season, with outgoing FMA officials, Mark Borg and Mireille Vella assisting the Club Standing Committee during this transition until the full reform components are in place.

Hamrun’s second half comeback thwarts Citizens

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Hamrun Tre Angeli beat arch rivals Valletta 8-6 this evening to win the Gatorade KO competition.
It was indeed a memorable evening for Hamrun and their supporters as they not only landed their first trophy since the FMA took charge of the local futsal competitions but they did it at the expense of their sporting foes who were searching for the first honour of the season.
The match was an exciting affair with Valletta squandering their lead as the Reds fought back to level matters in the second half before scoring the crucial goals to make sure of grabbing the cup.
It was a bitter pill to swallow for Valletta as they displayed some positive futsal and could have easily scored more goals had it not been for a couple of superb saves by Ħamrun goalkeeper Matthew Mifsud at the start of the second half.
Futsal international referee Franco Cachia was officiating his last game and prior to kick-off he was presented with a memento by the FMA officials.
Valletta began confidently and surged ahead on 5 minutes when Raphinha’s grounder beat Mifsud to make it 1-0.
The Spartans keeper, who was playing his last official match, performed a string of consecutive saves on Raphinha, Milijic and Di Maio.
But on the stroke of 13 minutes he could do nothing as Jovica Milijic hammered home to double the score for the Citizens.
Hamrun seemed confused and it was no surprise that they succumbed to Valletta’s third goal one minute later courtesy of Denis Di Maio who slotted in from close range.
After calling a time-out, Hamrun managed to reduce the score as Luke Stivala took advantage of a defensive blunder to make it 3-1.
Valletta maintained their positive attitude and scored their fourth goal after Hamrun’s Daniele Degennaro scored an own goal.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, the Reds scored twice through Degennaro and Luke Stivala to make a 4-3 scoreline before the interval.
Hamrun now drove forward with renewed vigour as they intensified their offensive runs to try to upset the Valletta rearguard.
In no time they drew level when Jason Mifsud was at the right time and place to put the ball behind Stefan Vella.
Five minutes later Hamrun went ahead when Degennaro tapped in a Florin Anton pass to make it 5-4.
The Lilywhites maintained their composure and hit the target twice through Milijic and Aguilera Puerto to turn the result into their favour.
Despite this setback, Hamrun continued to attack and immediately Degennaro and Peter Pullicino turned the tables for their team.
With two minutes left, Clayton Felice, the Citizens’ mentor opted for the flying keeper , to instill more pressure on Hamrun’s defensive department.
But in so doing they left their goal unattended and Reds’ keeper Matthew Mifsud took advantage as he applied the killer touch in the dying seconds of the match to seal the issue for his team.
At the end of the contest, Mireille Vella, an FMA officiaL, presented the Gatorade KO cup to Jason Mifsud , the captain of Hamrun.

Sliema Wanderers clinch second consecutive title

STEPHEN AZZOPARDI
Sliema Wanderers’ successful round in Division One bore fruit and they raised the cup for the second consecutive time. On the other hand Msida SJ also deserved to be finalists but unfortunately they had to suffer from various injuries, during this final match.
The Wanderers had a fantastic opening as they had a double advantage in the first minute, through Nikolay Filipov and Christian Micallef. A minute later Mohammed Lamari answered back and reduced the matters for Msida. Minutes later, the same Lamari managed to equalize the score. From that point in time, both teams gave their utmost in the continuation of an action-packed game. Msida ramped up and Chris Cardona put Msida SJ momentarily on the lead. A minute later, Paul Bugeja brought again both teams on equal matters. Msida managed to take back the advantage before the break, through Herbert Spiteri.
In the opening seconds of the second half, Sliema’s player and coach Aleksander Ribic restored the equaliser for Sliema. After a long period of time, it was Ribic again who put the ball at the back of the net and filled his fellow players with confidence. Sliema’s Radovan Duric scored and almost sealed the issue. Nine seconds from the final whistle, Ryan Xuereb reduced the end result of 6-5.
After the end of the match both teams were presented their respective commemorative medals for their brilliant performance throughout the season. Finally Sliema’s captain Alan Galea raised the cup high accompanied by the joy of his team mates and supporters present at the Corradino Sport Pavillion.

Citizens take ‘sweet revenge’, Easy for Hamrun

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Valletta and Hamrun are the finalists of the Gatorade Knock-Out competition after eliminating their respective opponents in the semifinals played yesterday at the Corradino Pavillion.
Valletta made sure of the final after ousting holders Luxol 7-2 in the last four of the competition.
During this semifinal, the Citizens had an axe to grind. This was the seventh meeting between the two rivals this season and, to the Lilywhites’ obvious discomfort, Luxol won four of the other six matches played.
The St Andrews outfit had already wrestled the league crown off the head of Valletta four days before, therefore the latter made their ‘revenge’ against the same opponents with the stamp of efficiency.
Valletta navigated their boat in admirable fashion, making their opponents run into labyrinths, before unwinding with swift balls which invariably spelt danger.
Luxol, so nippy in Friday’s league game against Valletta but with several players missing through injuries, kept running at dead ends and in the final reckoning they should be the first to admit that they went down to a superior outfit.
Indeed, Valletta were worthy winners and now relish the possibility of winning their first honour of the season.
Denis di Maio, Rodrigo Patricio netted a brace while Melvin Borg, Jovica Milijic and Daniel Aguilera were the other goal-getters for Valletta.
Luxol reduced the arrears through Andy Mangion and William Barbosa.
On the other hand, Hamrun had an easy outing as they eliminated Marsascala 10-3.
The game was over as a contest before the break as the Reds surged into a four-goal lead before adding another six in the second half as the Southseasiders were outplayed.
Florin Anton was inspirational for Hamrun as he struck a hat-trick, Cleaven Portelli and Peter Pullicino scored a brace while Alex Ellul, Daniele Degennaro and James Ciangula sealed the issue.
Marsascala’s answered back through Reuben Degabriele, Liam Gauci and Steve Gambin.

Luxol declared Elite Champions

STEPHEN AZZOPARDI
Luxol were declared as champions of the Elite when they defeated Valletta with a 7-5 score. This third and last final which was termed as the bestest game of this season, took place in a high pitched atmosphere in the presence of a record attendance including the MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo and the Vice President Matthew Paris. Above all this game served as a platform where both teams continued showing off their powers in local futsal. Presumably this will repeat itself in next Tuesday’s Knock Out semifinal, at 8.00pm.
The first ball found the net after four minutes of play by Valletta’s Melvin Borg. Four minutes later Luxol’s international Romanian player Emil Raducu responded back and equalised the result. At the last nine minutes and forty nine seconds of the first half, Rodrigo Ticz Patricio managed to put Valletta back on the advantage. This was balanced again exactly one minute after through Glenn Bonello who had one of the best performances. Thus both teams ended the first half on an equal score of 2-2.
The second half, in terms of rythm was merely a continuation of the first. Top scorer Raphael Felipe Ortiz de Oliveira scored his 75th goal of the season and put Valletta again on top. They remained so for another ten minutes until Luxol’s Brazilian player Celino Alves balanced the matters. This moment seemed to increase Luxol’s initiative and led them to widen the gap between them and Valletta in quite a short time through Mark Zammit and Dejan Bizjak. Remaining passive was surely not the response of Valletta, and they responded back with another goal through Rodrigo Ticz Patricio. Despite the fact that only a minute was left until the game was over, more goals followed. Mark Zammit scored his second personal goal for Luxol while Valletta benefited from an autogoal by Raducu. The last and final move of the game emerged in the last seven seconds from Glenn Bonello who sealed the victory for Luxol which made them Elite Champions.
Presentation of medals to both teams from the MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo, the Vice President Dr Matthew Paris, FMA’s treasurer Mireille Vella and Farsons representatives followed. Then the cup was presented to Luxol’s captain Mark Zammit who lifted it up amongst celebrations of joy. Thus Luxol secured their place as the Maltese team which will participate in the premilinary round of the UEFA Futsal Cup.

The final challenge set between Sliema Wanderers and Msida SJ

STEPHEN AZZOPARDI
Sliema Wanderers and Msida SJ confirmed their presence in Division One’s Playoffs Final. Sliema Wanderers continued their positive attitude as they came out victorious against Qormi with the end result of 5-2. On the otherhand Msida SJ also gave a stunning performance, winning 10-2 against Mriehel ESS.
In the first encounter, despite having several goaling opportunties, the first half ended goalless for both teams. It was in the first minute of the second half, that Sliema’s Uros Markovic opened the score through a fierce shot. A few minutes later player coach Aleksander Ribic managed to double the score. From this point onwards, Qormi moved forward and reduced the matters through James Tabone. Two minutes later Qormi lost the golden opportunity to level the matters, when Ryan Gilmour Cassar shot high from the second penalty spot. However this was not the end for Cassar as the the ball he put at the back of the net, not only equalised the score but gave high hopes to Qormi. Sliema recovered their forces and made it a point to win this game. Aleksander Ribic, Nikolay Filipov and Darren Aithchinson sealed the final score of 5-2.
In the following match, last Thursday’s evening, Msida SJ were definitely superior to Mriehel ESS. Msida were already leading 5-0 before the end of the first half. George Frendo, Armando Djepali, Mohammed Lamari, Herbert Spiteri and Floren Manea scored a goal in both the first and second half. In the second half, Ayoub Ahmed and Kamal Edgeli scored for Mriehel ESS, in their attempt to reduce the difference against their stronger opponents.

Judgement day for Valletta and Luxol

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Judgment day has finally arrived for Luxol and Valletta as these two teams will cross swords in the highly anticipated third and final play-off decider (kick-off 20.00hrs) to determine this year’s Gatorade Elite winner.
For much of the past eight months, the two title hopefuls have been embroiled in a tug-of-war for the most prestigious silverware. Both teams had moments when they slipped but, after the end of the first phase of the campaign, there was nothing to separate these two and it should be tonight’s showdown to decide which team will be crowned champions.
In the first play-off match, Luxol had an easy outing as they saw off the Citizens 5-2. During this encounter the St Andrews side stunned the champions with some deadly counter attacks that resulted in a positive result.
Not so can be said in the second match as Valletta fought tooth and nail with Luxol and after a 4-4 scoreline during extra-time, the former managed to win the contest after the penalty shoot-out.
From what we have seen from these two matches, it will be a balanced affair between the two most consistent sides in the Gatorade Futsal League.
Having the best defence and attack on the island, and enjoying the most wins in the Elite Round, Luxol can rely on their foreign trio Celino Alves, Emil Raducu and Dejan Bizjak who have scored decisive goals in this campaign.
Frane Despotovic, Luxol’s player/coach, reiterated that his team is concentrated to the maximum for this encounter.
“The atmosphere is great and we are really enjoying the moment. All the players are focused and motivated to do well.”
When asked about some defensive mistakes from last week’s encounter, Despotovic was clear.
“Futsal is a game of mistakes and we know that these can happen naturally. Now we are working to try to reduce them to the minimum.”
On the other hand, the Lilywhites possess a competitive squad and this could be seen in their previous encounters against their rivals.
Clayton Felice, the Valletta mentor, hopes to recover the league’s top-scorer Raphael Felipe Ortiz de Oliveira who resulted decisive in many of his team’s matches.
After last week’s performance, Felice is hopeful that his team will show the same aggressive approach that led to his team’s victory.
“As we always did during all the season, we are approaching this game with the objective of winning this match.”
“The team wants to do well and I hope that we play with the same determination like last week.”
Denis di Maio is suspended for Valletta, and he is the only player missing for the Citizens. Luxol have no players suspended, but they have Nicola del Re, Carl Azzopardi, Matthew Attard and Giancarlo Sammut missing due to injuries.
Having mentioned these facts, this shows that there all the possible ingredients to make this decider-match an entertaining one. If the winner will not be decided until the 40 minutes, extra time and therefore penalties will take place.

Valletta forces a third final for the Elite

STEPHEN AZZOPARDI
Valletta proved themselves as winners of the second final against Luxol. This final did not solely involve emotions but also every effort from both sides as much that it remained undecided till the last minutes. In fact it ended up in penalties where some luck also played its part.
After the first eight minutes of play, Luxol’s Slovenian player Dejan Bizjak, found the net for the first time during this game and was then followed after a minute by Melvin Borg who rebalanced the score. At the last five minutes of the first half, a powerful ball from Emil Raducu put Luxol again on top. However matters were levelled again through another goal from Valletta’s, Jovica Milijic. Thus the first half ended up with a 1-1 score.
The second half saw the first goal in the net after six minutes, when Milijic scored his second goal of this game and put Valletta on the advantage. However on the seventh minute from the end of this half, the score was balanced again through Luxol’s Mark Zammit. Tension continued to increase and reached its peak during the last two minutes of play when Raphael Felipe Ortiz de Oliveira was involved in an involuntary incident where he lost consciousness for a short period after he was hit by a ball. He was immediatelly given first aid until the ambulance arrived. Play resumed and the game moved on to extra time since the result remained balanced.
During the extra time, it was Denis Di Maio, who put Valletta on the advantage and was followed promptly by another goal from Mark Zammit who again levelled matters for Luxol. Since the extra time didn’t decide the winners, penalties were the last resort. Emile Raduca failed his first penalty as it was saved by Valletta’s goalkeeper, Stefan Vella. From their side Valletta scored their penalties through Dylan Musu, Jovica Milijic and Rodrigo Ticz Patricio. Luxol’s penalties were scored by Dejan Bizjak and Frane Despotovic.
This second final of the Elite ended up with the result of 7-6 for Valletta. Since Luxol were the winners of last week’s game with the score of 5-2, the winner of the Elite has to be declared in yet another final. The third and last final of the Elite is scheduled to be next Friday at 8pm.

Make or break for Valletta

ROBERT BUSUTTIL
Luxol and Valletta meet tonight for the second leg of the Gatorade Elite play-off final (kick-off 20.00 hrs) in another decisive encounter.
While Luxol go into the game on a high following their imposing 5-2 win, the Citizens have all the pressure in their hands as it will be their last chance to level the matters and leave everything for a possible third match.
A win for Luxol will definitely give them the title as they would win two matches out of the possible three.
However Valletta are not ready to throw the towel and want to bounce back to victory. Clayton Felice’s boys are known for their determination and this could be a decisive factor ahead of today’s match.