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San Ġiljan remain in hot pursuit

The two-horse battle between champions San Ġiljan Salini Resort and neighbours Neptunes still rages on. By virtue of a clear-cut 11-5 win over Sliema Betsson the Saints kept breathing down the necks of their Balluta neighbours in their bid to retain the big prize of Maltese waterpolo.

Again San Ġiljan were full worth their victory with seven of their goals coming from Boris Vapenski and a brace each from their young talent Andreas Galea and powerful left-hander Matthew Zammit. The Blues just could not live with their opponents, despite twice going ahead early on, only for the side guided by Marko Orlovic to turn it round by the end of the first quarter.

Sliema, without two useful cogs, centre Jerome Gabarretta and utility player Nicholas Bugelli, fell apart after ends were changed, with the Saints 5-3 ahead and still not on solid territory. In any case, the Blues only had prestige as their prime mover after they had lost their slim chance of making up the leeway for the title following their last defeat against Neptunes.

The Saints nailed it in the third session which they won 3-0 to make it 8-3 into the last quarter. The Blues somehow battled on but could only finish wellbeaten after losing the final session 3-2. Any doubts that Sirens Ritter Sport would falter against Exiles Jet Freight in yesterday’s bottom pool match were summarily dispelled when they defeated their opponents fairly and squarely by a margin of five goals.

Despite still having the suspended Luke Caruana missing as well as the indisposed Matthew Balucci, Sirens were never troubled by opponents who were coming from a deserved victory over Valletta.

Dorian Pisani’s team slid into a 4-1 deficit into the second session but that gap widened to 9-4 by the end of the third quarter. Eight goals were shared in the final eight minutes to leave the side from St Paul’s Bay at more than an arm’s length from their opponents, with the result consolidating their fourth position in the table.

Zach Mizzi’s four goals followed by Marc Grech’s hat-trick had inflicted the main damage on Exiles for whom Milos Vukicevic grabbed four more goals to add to his already impressive tally.

Summaries

San Ġiljan 11
Sliema 5
(3-2, 2-1, 3-0, 3-2)

San Ġiljan: J. Sammut, P. Borg 1, A. Galea 2, B. Vapenski 3, Darren Zammit, M. Zammit 2, K. Galea, C. Mercieca, B. Plumpton 1, A. Cousin 1, P. Fava 1, Dino Zammit, D. Camilleri.
Sliema: R. Coleiro, L. Galea, E. Aquilina, C. Cluett, M. Meli 1, J. Soler, M. Fenech 1, T. Sullivan, J. Brownrigg 1, A. Attard 1, M. Cuk 1, K. Dowling, J. Gambin.
Referees: P. Balzan, G. Fusco.

Sirens 13
Exiles 8
(3-1, 1-1, 5-2, 4-4)

Sirens: N. Grixti, Z. Mizzi 4, S. Mora 2, T. Pace 2, M. Grech 3, I. Riolo, D. Cutajar 1, J. Napier, J. Sciberras 1, M. Pullicino, N. Farrugia, J. Cremona.
Exiles: I. Bugeja, J. Rizzo Naudi, S. Vassallo, D. Pace Lupi, D. Borg Millo, E. Gravina, S. Gravina 1, K. Grixti 2, N. Paris, A. Bianchi, G. Ciappara, M. Vukicevic 4, K. Lanzon 1.

Referees: A. Goncharenko, A. Acierno.

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