San Giljan Giuseppe’s 10
It was a blood and thunder match, with no side yielding an inch, and aggressive marking at both ends. Sliema just edged it at the end, but San Giljan were a whisker away from going into extra time, when an optical illusion had the Saints’ supporters in raptures, thinking that they had drawn level, in the last seconds of the game, only for them to be bitterly disappointed that the ball had finished the wrong side of the upright.
Sliema thus made the first step to meet their age old rivals in the final. They recovered Jerome Gabarretta, now back from abroad, and Ryan Coleiro took his place between the sticks once more, where he played a sound match.
The first session finished all aquare, with the lead chamging hands. Sliema then took a double advantage till the interval, with two late goals, for a 6-4 lead. Sliema went futher haead, in the third period, but the Saints struck back, late in the session, and went to a goal behind, when the last session began. San Giljan were twice on level terms, but Sliema obtained another double advantage. The Saints reduced their arrears, and in a final flourish they just missed in prolonging this exciting match
Sliema were six times with an extra player in the water, and they in four of them. Mark Meili and Bogdan Rath both scored a hat trick. San Giljan will bemoan the fact that they had no less than a dozen man ups, in which they only managed a measly two strikes. There was a poker of goals for Filip Trajkovic, and Nikola Sutic and Paul Fava put in three goals each.
The second encounter is on today, where another rip roaring game is envisaged.
Sliema: R. Coleiro, J. Gabarretta 1, N. Lubrano, R. Fodor 1, M. Meli 3, J. Soler 1, D. Paolella, M. Rizzo 1, C. Debono 1, P. Privitera, B. Rath 3, J. Spiteri Staines, D. Abela
San Giljan: D. Camilleri, JC Cutajar, N. Sutic 3, K. Galea, F. Trajkovic 4, K. Dowling, L. Grixti, A. Bianchi, M. Borg Spiteri, C. Gialanze, P. Fava 3, A. Galea, K. Schembri
Referees: M. Angileri, R. Daniele