Shrewd Neptunes secure pole
Displaying a shrewder game-plan especially in the covering phase and propelled by the scoring bravados of five-goal Steve Camilleri, Neptunes Emirates secured pole position on the starting grid of the Premier Division and five bonus points when they defeated Sliema McDonald’s on a clear 9-5 scoreline.
Besides their valid team effort, the Reds also had Serbian Aleksandar Ciric to thank for rallying his rearguard superbly and almost totally nullifying the erstwhile erratic Blues’ forays into the hot five-metre zone.
Both sides had far from perfect readings on man-ups, each netting 40 per cent on 10 occasions. But whereas the Reds scored five times on numerical parity, the Blues could only net a solitary goal.
Sliema did manage to level the score on four-all at the end of the third session after going three goals adrift early on. But Neptunes, who had missed some easy chances when facing the Sliema goalie, pressed the accelerator in the last quarter to drill five goals past their nervous opponents who showed their dissatisfaction with some of the referees’ decision at the end of the match.
Otters Nivea secured second place in the lower division and three points against their opponents’ two when they defeated Valletta Sterling in a close duel marked by some disputed decisions, especially a late one when Valletta’s goal for a possible 10-all scoreline was annulled by referee Stefan Licari when he signalled an attacker’s foul.
From then on, the Gozitans took a three-goal lead, later trimmed to one. They had fought gallantly with Zoltan Radocz and Keith Grima Scott netting five and four goals respectively.
David Zoltan ended as the losers’ top scorer with four goals.
(0-3, 2-1, 2-0, 1-5)
Sliema: I Gergely, J. Gabaretta 2, N. Lubrano, P. Privitera, M. Meli, J. Soler, D. Paolella, J. Brownrigg, C. Debono, F. Salomon 3, M. Rizzo, M. Spiteri Staines, R. Coleiro.
Neptunes: I. Bugeja, N. Lanzon, E. Aquilina, M. Stellini 2, G. Pace, A. Ciric 1, S. Camilleri 5, J. Camilleri, B. Lanzon, S. Gravina 1, R. Sciortino, T. Molnar, C. Mercieca.
Refs: M. Angileri, M. Piano.
(1-3, 2-1, 4-1, 5-6)
Otters: A. Cachia, G. Attard, G. Zammit, Z. Radocz 5, S. Dimech, M. Balatoni 1, J. Paris, D. Schembri 1, K. Scicluna, K. Debattista 1, C. Martin, E. Farrugia, K. Grima Scott 4.
Valletta: A. Sammut, S. Meli 2, R. Calleja, A. Galea 2, T. Agius 3, S. Cachia, R. Kovac, J.C. Farrugia, M. Cordina, D. Zoltan 4, A. Arrigo, E. Arrigo, K. Hyzler.
Referees: S. Licari, P. Giordano.
Tuesday: Super Cup Division Two 6.45 p.m. Marsascala vs Ta’ Xbiex. Super Cup Division One 8 p.m. Neptunes vs Sliema.