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Hotsticks beat Rabat in Challenge Cup opener

Lightshop Hotsticks 2
Rabat 1

Lightshop Hotsticks were off to a flier in the opening encounter of the Challenge Cup as they surged ahead in the fifth minute.

Jonathan Borg picked a deflected clearance in the centre of the D and hit an unstoppable shot high into the net.

The Hotsticks continued to exert pressure on the Rabat rearguard but did not take advantage of four penalty corner awards.

Rabat put their counter-attacking game to good use and drew level on the half-hour mark, Matthew Buhagiar hitting home to restore equilibrium.

The Hotsticks then did not avail themselves of another two penalty corners, the half-time whistle sounding with the score deadlocked at 1-1.

Hotsticks started the second half in determined fashion and went 2-1 up on 42 minutes.

Steve Portelli hit a beauty into the roof of the net as a result of a penalty corner action, at a time when Ludolf Rasterhoff was orchestrating all the Hotsticks moves from midfield.

On 50 minutes Hotsticks hit the post and continued to dominate the game territorially, stretching the Rabat defence to the limit.

But Rabat then created and squandered two gilt-edged chances to equalise on 65 minutes.

The Group A game ended with a 2 -1 victory for Lightshop Hotsticks.

Umpires: Shawn Mifsud, Glen Bonello.

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