Ta' Xbiex win marathon tie after penalties
Marsaxlokk register easy victory over Otters
Ta' Xbiex 16
(2-2, 2-3, 3-3, 3-2; 1-1, 1-1 - Ta' Xbiex win 4-2 on penalties)
Ta' Xbiex Mermaids Paradise and Exiles Pender Gardens figured yet in another pulsating duel, also spite by controversy towards the end of normal time, which finished on ten goals apiece.
The issue remained unresolved during the two periods of extra time, only to be decided on penalties in favour of Ta' Xbiex who thus earned a berth in Sunday's final against either Marsascala or Marsaxlokk.
The contest swayed from end to end scorewise with first one team and then the other nosing ahead. At one point, Exiles twice led by three clear goals midway through the third session.
But Aldo Scerri's team bounced back boldly to take a 10-9 lead midway through the last session.
A goal from Exiles' French player Aurelien Cousin towards the end of normal time restored parity, only for the Ta' Xbiex bench to contest the table officials vehemently, claiming that Cousin had been fouled out and his presence in the pool should have warranted a penalty in those final seconds.
Calm restored with Karl Rizzo Naudi being sent off without substitution with under two minutes to go from the end of the second period of extended time with the score on 12-12.
Still there was no breakthrough and five penalties had to be taken at each end with Exiles missing twice and thus conceding victory to Ta' Xbiex.
Ta' Xbiex: L. Bianchi, A. Tanti, M. Manara 1, C. D'Ugo, K. Sciortino, M. Camilleri, R. Polacik 6, P. Paolella 2, K. Engerer 1, K. Sciortino, J. Vella 2.
Exiles: N. Imbroll, K. Rizzo Naudi 1, M. Zarb, D. Pace Lupi 1, T. Sullivan 1, G. Desira Buttigieg, J. Paris 3, J. Cremona, S. Cini, A. Cousin 5, A. Arrigo 1, S. Vassallo, M. Calleja.
Refs: M. Caruana, A. De Raffaele.
Penalty shoot-out scorers: Ta' Xbiex - Polacik, Manara, Paolella, Vella. Exiles - Cousin, Calleja.
(4-1, 7-1, 6-1, 3-3)
Marsaxlokk Freeport won the right to meet Marsascala in tomorrow's semi-final after dismissing Otters ASC in a quiet match which contrasted sharply with the previous eventful encounter between Ta' Xbiex and Exiles.
The southseasiders, without their coach Anthony Farrugia who is on duty with the Youth squad in Hungary, were always in control with Sergei Frolov leading the goal charge with a massive 10 goals besides spearheading his team's superior drive.
The result was never in question as the Bielorussian gave his team a four-goal cushion early on leaving the Gozitans with more than a hill to climb.
As expected that advantage grew as the next sessions unfolded with the Gozitans, also not relishing some of the referee decisions, unable to put up decent opposition.
In the end the result had long been a foregone conclusion. A jarring note was the double expulsion of Otters coach and assistant coach for dissent.
Marsaxlokk: R. Bonnici, G. Attard, R. Calleja, A. Farrugia 1, K. Farrugia, C. Bugeja 2, E. Pisani 2, D. Schembri 1, S. Frolov 10, K. Grima Scott 1, G. Ghirxi 1, N. Agius 2; A. Sammut.
Otters: E. Farrugia, D. Saliba, G. Zammit, S. Grech 3, S. Cutajar 1, D. Saliba, P. Saliba, G. Xuereb, L. Cachia 1, C. Saliba, T. Simon 1, K. Scicluna, S. Scerri.
Refs: M. Caruana, R. Spiteri.
Playing tomorrow: Division Two KO SF 5.30 p.m. Marsascala vs Marsaxlokk. Division One KO SF 6.45 p.m. Neptunes vs Sirens.
Playing on Friday: Division One KO SF 6.45 p.m. Sliema vs San Giljan.
U-19 KO semi-finals: Sirens vs Exiles 10-5; Neptunes vs Sliema 14-8. Final on Monday.