Sliema too strong for Saints
Sliema McDonald’s put up a fine rearguard display, complemented by lethal weaponry in attack to avenge their 11-7 first-round defeat at the hands of San Ġiljan Giuseppe’s after sending the Saints reeling to a 9-5 loss yesterday.
There was little doubt about the Blues superiority. Their Hungarian goalkeeper Istvan Gergely oozed confidence behind a solid phalanx of unyielding defenders, and when they had possession they moved forward with purpose and good effect, especially in the opening session.
On the other hand, San Ġiljan, who again opted for Bogdan Rath in lieu of Nikola Sutic, were a far-cry from the side that did so well when the teams last faced each other.
Going for effective press, the Blues started briskly to take a 4-1 lead after four minutes with goals coming from Paul Privitera, Mark Meli, Michael Spiteri Staines and Ferenc Salomon. Andre Bianchi netted a momentary equaliser.
The lads in blue continued where they left of in the opening quarter to punish their fumbling opponents even further and open a 7-2 lead by the end of the second period. By this time both John Brownrigg and then Rath were on two major fouls.
With David Abela replacing Dean Camilleri at the start of the third session and eventually Matthew Zammit being fouled out things did not look bright for the Saints.
Rath had reduced the arrears but Sliema restored their five-goal advantage through Privitera who had been on two personal faults as were Daniel Paolella and Clint Debono.
It was Jerome Gabarretta’s turn to go on two major fouls but the Blues remained composed despite two late goals from Karl Galea which sealed the scoreline on 9-5.
There had been no danger for Sliema as they coasted to a deserved victory.
In the first match, the southerners of Marsascala Mor€ staged a stunning comeback to cut down a five-goal deficit late in the third session and finally get the better of Otters Nivea.
This result gives the team under the charge of Pierre Borg a breather at the top of the First Division standings.
The Gozitans conducted the scoreline in the first session which ended 3-2 in their favour. They held the upperhand in the second quarter. They covered well at the back and then took their chances to increase their lead to 6-3.
Veteran Adrian Cachia in goal continued to pull off fine saves to boost Otters. The lead was extended to 8-3 in the third quarter before the southerners staged their recovery with five late goals, three coming from John Licari.
Marsascala could not be stopped now despite some resistance from Otters.
Finally they sealed victory.
(3-2, 3-1, 2-5, 2-5)
Otters: A. Cachia, G. Attard, G. Zammit, Z. Radocx 3, S.Dimech, M. Balatoni 3, J. Paris 3, D. Schembri 1, C. Scicluna, K. Debattista, C. Martin, E. Farrugia, A. Cachia.
Marsascala: K. Schembri, G. Hegedus 3, M. Pace, B. Muscat, J. Kayes 2, L. Grixti 1, J. Licari 3, J. Cremona 2, S. Micallef 1, R. Scerri, D. Cassar 1, M. Fenech, K. Navarro.
Refs: R. Spiteri, I. Sciriha.
San Ġiljan 5
(1-4, 1-3, 1-1, 2-1)
San Ġiljan: D. Camilleri, J.C. Cutajar, D. Abela, K. Galea 2, K. Dowling, M. Zammit 1, B. Letica, A. Bianchi 1, R. Mock, C. Gialanze, P. Fava, B. Rath 1, M. Pisani.
Sliema: I. Gergely, J. Gabarretta 1, N. Lubrano, P. Privitera 2, M. Meli 2, J. Soler 1, D. Paolella, J. Brownrigg, C. Debono, F. Salomon 2, C. Cluett, M. Spiteri Staines 1, R. Coleiro.
Refs: M. Angileri, F. Ricciotti.