Neptunes Emirates 13 San Giljan Sir Alex 14
(4-3, 4-3, 1-5, 4-3)
San Giljan have opened up the league race again, and the black, yellow and red flags are fluttering in St Julian’s Bay. The Saints seemed the hungrier of the two sides, as San Giljan inflicted the first defeat on the champions and halted their triumphant march after two rounds of play. Both sides are now level on points, at the top of the standings.
It was uncharacteristic of Neptunes, as they scored only once in their five man ups, whereas the Saints netted five times from eight extra player situations. Neptunes won three sessions all with the same score, but the third period was their downfall. They came back, but they never regained their advantage.
A Peter Biros penalty opened the proceedings, and San Giljan scored twice more in this session, through Paul Fava and Biros once more, but Neptunes always had an answer, with Niki Lanzon and two Michele Stellini strikes, and Steve Camilleri put them ahead.
In the next session Marko Avramovic tied the score for the Saints, but Stellini was scoring from his favourite position, with Biros making the score level again. Stellini was on hand again, along with Camilleri, to open up a Neptunes’ double advantage. Fava reduced the deficit for San Giljan, but the champions went into the interval break with a double lead again, by Tamas Molnar, for an 8-6 scoreline. San Giljan had opted to put in Joseph Sammut in goal, after the champions’ last goal, in lieu of the regular Dean Camilleri.
After the break the game took a different turning. The Saints’ fervour brought them the goals, as Fava, Karl Galea, Matthew Zammit, Galea again, and Marko Avramovic had the Saints’ supporters in raptures, before Camilleri brought Neptunes nearer, on a 9-11 score.
The champions did not take long to get back on level terms, with a brace from Lanzon, the first from a penalty throw. Matthew Zammit had San Giljan in front once more, but Camilleri tied the score yet again. Here San Giljan took a decisive step with a couple of strikes, from Dino Zammit and another Biros penalty. Stellini put in another goal for Neptunes, but they were then denied till the end of the game, with San Giljan winning possession in the last seconds to celebrate their victory.
Biros finished with a poker of goals, and three from Fava. The champions had Stellini with a nap hand score, Camilleri was on four goals and Lanzon scored a hat trick.
Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon 3, A. Sammut , M. Stellini 5, T. Agius , A. Ciric, S. Camilleri 4, J. Camilleri, G. Pace , S. Gravina , B. Lanzon, T. Molnar 1, C. Mercieca
San Giljan: D. Camilleri, JC Cutajar, C. Gialanze, K. Galea 2, J. Sammut, M. Zammit 2, M. Avramovic 2, A. Bianchi , C. Spiteri de Barro , P. Biros 4, P. Fava 3, D. Zammit 1, M. Pisani
Referees: P. Balzan, A. Pascucci