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Malta settle for 14th place after 11-8 loss to Turkey

Malta 8
Turkey 11

(4-3, 1-4, 1-4, 2-0)

The Maltese youth team had to settle for 14th place in the Under-19 European Championship after going down 11-8 to Turkey in a ranking match from the lower half of the ladder, played in The Netherlands yesterday.

Anthony Farrugia’s team did well to win the first and last sessions but Turkey showed their true mettle in the middle quarters, paving the way for their victory which meant a 13th placing in the final rankings of the tournament.

Ben Plumpton scored the first of his three goals just before the buzzer signalled the end of the first quarter for Malta to take a 4-3 lead.

However, that was the last time they led for the rest of the match as Turkey took over to dictate proceedings before staving off Malta’s comeback bid late on.

Turkey won the second quarter 4-1 and repeated the same partial score after the interval to open an 11-6 advantage which they preserved till the end despite Malta’s bold rally to save the match.

In the end, they only managed to score twice, through Nicholas Bugelli and Jeremy Abela (three goals in all yesterday), to fall short of their objective but making the final scoreline look more respectable.

Malta’s other goal was scored by Jacob Sciberras in the third session.

Farrugia’s team showed their best play in this phase of the championship following three heavy defeats in the group to the more-quoted Hungary, Montenegro and Greece.

Malta qualified for the 13-14th place play-off after beating Azerbaijan 9-5 on Wednesday. The Azeris finished bottom of the rankings after a 13-9 upset to Slovakia, yesterday.

In today’s semi-finals, Italy play Spain and Russia take on rivals Serbia.

The gold medal match will be played tomorrow.

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