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Malta juniors hit back to beat South Africa in final

The U-17 players and ASA officials in party mood, in Vienna, yesterday.

The U-17 players and ASA officials in party mood, in Vienna, yesterday.

Malta 11
South Africa 10

(0-3, 3-3, 5-2, 3-2)

Malta U-17 extended their momentum to the final of the EU Nations Junior Waterpolo Cup to beat South Africa 11-10 in the final and claim the prestigious title in Vienna, yesterday.

The side, coached by Karl Izzo, showed great commitment and fine play in the knockout stages of the competition the day before after eliminating Switzerland (14-4) and Poland (16-6) to reach the gold medal match.

And Izzo’s boys repeated the same dose against South Africa as they hit back from three goals down at the half-time interval to take sweet revenge on their opponents who had beaten Malta 8-7 in a group qualifier earlier in the tournament.

At half-time, Malta were trailing 6-3 but the deficit was cancelled in the third session which they won 5-2 to set up a tense finale.

In the end, the balance swayed in favour of the Maltese lads who won the last session 3-2, the decisive goal coming 26 seconds from time through Mikhael Cutajar who rounded up a hat-trick against the South Africans.

In a brief comment last weekend, ASA president Joe Caruana Curran highlighted the U-17 squad’s progress and the prospects for the future.

“This was yet another positive experience in the junior game,” Caruana Curran said.

“The investment made by the ASA guarantees a bright future for waterpolo at senior level in the years to come. Coaches Karl Izzo, Anthony Farrugia and Adrian Cachia and their players deserve all the praise they can get for their hard work.”

Malta: M. Muscat, K. Erdogan, J. Culic, J. Sciberras 2, J. Zerafa Gregory 1, L. Galea, M. Cutajar 3, L. Felice, M. Azzopardi 1, D. Zammit 3, B. Grech 1, N. Zammit. T. Micallef.

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