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Malta qualifies for final

Karl Izzo – Malta coach.

Karl Izzo – Malta coach.

The powerful left-hander Matthew Zammit was again in an irresistible vein yesterday as he helped Malta obtain a berth in the EU Nations Waterpolo Cup final against South Africa, winners of Group A.

His seven-goal bonanza and a spurt of goals in the third session, resulting from superb collective play had the Maltese pull the trigger against Switzerland who until midway through the match were in contention to deny the hosts the top spot in Group B.

On the downside, Malta’s changed squad will probably have to surrender to two important cogs in today’s match for first place, that of Nicholas Bugelli and Jerome Gabarretta, both of whom are nursing injuries.

However, the spirit in the team is optimal with Aurelien Cousin and Jordan Camilleri guiding their colleagues, with the prodigious Ben Plumpton and Dino Zammit supplying the weaponry alongside all other players.

Switzerland proved to be hard to shake off in those first two quarters and nosed ahead three times before Matthew Zammit and his team-mates took their opponents by the scruff of the neck.

It was all over as some powerful interplay resulting in deadly finishing took the game completely out of Switzerland’s reach.

The climax at the National Pool is now scheduled for today at 2pm.

Switzerland 8
Malta 19

(3-3, 2-3, 1-9, 2-4)

Switzerland: L. Henzi, K. Muller 1, R. Lucato 1, M. Herzog, O. Frohli 2, L. Muller, A. Hermann 1, S. Velikov, J. Herzog, P. Bjelajac 2, L. Damjanov, R. Pleyer 1.

Malta: N. Grixti, J. Gabarretta 1, P. Borg, C. Cluett, M. Meli, M. Zammit 7, M. Spiteri Staines, J. Camilleri 3, B. Plumpton 3, A. Cousin 1, M. Rizzo, D. Zammit 4, R. Coleiro.

Referees: M. Maciej (Poland), A. Fredrik (Denmark)

Group A results

South Africa 20
Lithuania 3

(7-0, 4-1, 7-0, 2-2)

Ireland 5
Austria 8

(3-1, 1-2, 0-3, 1-2)

Wales 12
Lithuania 10

(3-5, 1-1, 3-2, 5-2)

South Africa 24
Ireland 2

(5-1, 7-0, 5-1, 7-0)

Standings: South Africa (4-0-0) 12 pts; Austria (3-0-1) 9; Ireland (1-1-2) 4; Wales (1-0-3) 3; Lithuania (0-1-3) 1.

Group B

Poland 4
Switzerland 6

(2-1, 1-3, 1-1, 0-1)

Scotland 10
Denmark 11

(3-3, 3-3, 4-1, 0-4)

Denmark 6
Poland 10

(1-3, 2-2, 1-2, 2-3)

Standings: Malta (4-0-0) 12 pts; Switzerland (3-0-1) 9; Poland (2-0-2) 6; Denmark (1-0-3) 3; Scotland (0-0-4) 0.

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