San Giljan overcome Neptunes in high scoring final to win Knock-Out for eighth time

What a way to end a thrilling encounter.

There were goals a-plenty, with the Saints ahead for most of the match, but Neptunes came back, as is their wont, and forged ahead in the last session, only for San Giljan to regain their lead.

There were seconds left on the clock, when the champions were a man up. Jordan Camilleri tied the score, just eight seconds from time, and everybody was looking at extra time in this final, but San Giljan were not through yet. It was left to the man of the match, the San Giljan Spaniard, Guillermo Molina, to strike lethally, with just over a second remaining, and give the K.O. to the Saints, after an absence of 20 years, and for the eighth time in their history, three times as San Giljan and the first five, starting from back in 1952, as the former Balluta side.

San Giljan were on fire at the start, notching three strikes, from Aurelien Cousin, Peter Borg and Boris Vapenski. The champions came gradually back into the match, with Peter Biros and Niki Lanzon goals, for a mere goal deficit. In the next period Lanzon had the champions on a level score, with the Saints twice regaining their lead with Borg and Molina goals, and Neptunes tying each time, through Steve Camilleri and Michele Stellini. Molina was still proving to be a handful, and struck twice more, giving San Giljan a double advantage at the interval, on a 7-5 score.

After the break Neptunes didn’t take long to be back on level terms, with Biros and Steve Camilleri goals. Paul fava and Matthew Zammit had the Saints in front again twice, but the champions drew level on both occasions, with goals from Stellini and Clint Mercieca.. The two sides went into the last quarter on a perfect parity of 9-9.

It was Neptunes, this time, who forged in front twice, with the Camilleri brothers, Steve and Jordan, but Matthew Zammit and Molina had the Saints on an even score. It was then Paul Fava who took San Giljan ahead again. With time running out came the dramatic last moments, with Jordan Camilleri seemingly saving the game for Neptunes, and taking the match into extra time with eight seconds remaining, but it was Willie Molina to take the Cup back to San Giljan, with a strong shot, leaving the champions to take a pot shot right at the death, with keeper Joseph Sammut saving easily, to start off wild celebrations from the numerous Saints’ supporters, after such a long wait.

When the celebrations subsided a little the BOV Chief Officer, Anthony Scicluna, and the ASA president, Joe Caruana Curran, presented the winning medals to teh san Giljat outfit, and the trophy to the Saints’ skipper, Matthew Zammit.

Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon 2, M. Castillo , M. Stellini 2, T. Agius , I. Krapic ,  S. Camilleri 3, J. Camilleri 2, J. Abela , P. Biros 2, B. Lanzon , S. Xerri de Caro , C. Mercieca 1

San Giljan: J. Sammut, P. Borg 2, A. Galea , B. Vapenski 1, G. Molina 5, M. Zammit 2, K. Galea , Da. Zammit , B. Plumpton , A. Cousin 1,P. Fava 2,  Di. Zammit , D. Spiteri

Referees: M. Angileri, A. Petronilli