San Giljan Sir Alex 8 Neptunes Emirates 9
(1-3, 2-2, 1-2, 4-2)
Neptunes survived a last, desperate effort by the Saints, to obtain their second win in three matches over their neighbours, and force a league championship decider, next Tuesday.
The champions were in control for most of the encounter, and when they twice held a four goal advantage, in the last quarter, it looked odds on that they would go alongside San Giljan in the final standings. The latter then produced a storming finish, which took them to just a goal behind, but the final strike eluded them, and Neptunes edged it on an odd goal victory.
Played in front of the biggest crowd of the season, by far, the Saints found difficulty in playing their normal game, as Neptunes were tight in defence, and closed all avenues to their goal, which had San Giljan potting from a distance.
Paul Fava opened the scoring for the Saints, early on, but neptunes’ response was a strong one, as they netted three times in succession, from Tamas Molnar, twice, and Sean Gravina in between, for a double advantage. In the second period Alex Ciric extended the champ[ions’ lead, with Matthew Zammit powering a san Giljan goal.
It was Molnar again for Neptunes, with a reply from San Giljan’s Fava, and at the interval Neptunes were on a 5-3 advantage.
It was a quieter affair after the break, but Neptunes managed to edge further ahead, through Niki Lanzon and a Molnar penalty, but in between Fava netted his hat trick, and when the last session began the champions were 7-4 in front. Ciric increased their lead further, but later on Ciric and San Giljan’s Karl Galea were given matching orders, and neptunes also lost Jordan Camilleri on fouls. Peter Biros grabbed a goal back for the Saints, but Neptunes were awarded another penalty, again converted by Molnar. It seemed all over, but Neptunes’ four goal advantage was whittled down, as the Saints pressed forward. Goals by Dino Zammit, Christian Gialanze and again Zammit had Neptunes in trouble. San Giljan won possession with twenty seconds play left, but their final effort was thwarted, and Neptunes could savour their victory.
The champions scored in their first three man ups, but missed their final one. They had Molnar on a nap hand score. San Giljan netted half of their ten man ups, and their captain, Fava, scored a rare hat trick.
San Giljan: D. Camilleri, JC Cutajar , C. Gialanze 1, K. Galea , K. Dowling, M. Zammit 1, M. Avramovic , A. Bianchi , C. Spiteri de Barro, P. Biros 1, P. Fava 3, D. Zammit 2, J. Sammut
Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon 1, A. Sammut , M. Stellini, T. Agius , A. Ciric 2, S. Camilleri , J. Camilleri , G. Pace , S. Gravina 1, K. Debattista, T. Molnar 5, C. Mercieca
Referees: M. Angileri, M. Di Chiara