Neptunes Leo Vegas 10
(3-2), (3-2), (3-4), (2-2)
San Giljan Tum Invest beat Neptunes Leo Vegas in a thrilling encounter to secure yet another President’s Cup, with the Balluta Bay side gave the champions a good run for their money.
It was the fourth time that San Giljan won this honour, the third time in a row, with their first victory arriving in 1996. San Giljan have stretched their unbeaten record to 41 wins in the last 41 games.
Matthew Zammit and foreigner Paulo Obradovic were crucial for the Saints, scoring three times each with Jeremy Abela scoring a poker for Neptunes.
Obradovic arrived in Malta a few hours before the game, after on Saturday evening he contributed to the Champions League victory for his side Olympiacos Piraeus against Pro Recco. Neptunes’ foreigner Muslim also arrived hours before the game, with Neptunes also having to make do without Steve Camilleri.
The first session was a close affair with Matthew Zammit opening the scoring and Jeremy Abela making it 1-1. Ben Plumpton scored a brace in quick succession to put San Giljan 3-1 up before Petar Muslim reduced the deficit for Neptunes at the end of the session.
The see-saw continued in the second session with Nikolai Zammit making it 3-3 but San Giljan then took control of the encounter with three goals by Matthew Zammit, Tristan Said and Andreas Galea to make it 6-3. At the end of the session, Jeremy Abela scored his second goal to leave a two-goal deficit for Neptunes at the interval.
The match remained a close affairs in the third quarter as Neptunes recovered quite brilliantly with San Giljan relaxing ever so slightly. Jeremy Abela made it 6-5 with Paolo Obradovic and Matthew Zammit re-establishing the three-goal advantage for San Giljan. Jordan Camilleri made it 8-6 but Obradovic made it 9-6 just a few seconds later. Neptunes made it a one-goal game with Jake Muscat and Niki Lanzon to set up a thrilling final session, the score at 9-8.
Neptunes took the lead for the first time in the game with goals from Matthias Azzopardi and Jeremy Abela with the tension palpable. But San Giljan turned it around through Paolo Obradovic and Dino Zammit scoring the winner to the jubilation of the Saints support.
San Giljan Tum Invest: J Tanti, P Borg, A Galea (1), B Grech, C Farrugia, M Zammit (3), B Plumpton (2), D Zammit, T Said (1), P Obradovic (3), P Fava, D Zammit (1), T Micallef
Neptunes Leo Vegas: A Borg Cole, N Lanzon (1), K Erdogan, G Pace, J Culic, N Zammit (1), P Muslim (1), J Camilleri (1), J Abela (4), M Zammit, J Muscat (1), M Azzopardi, J Parnis
Referees: Massimo Angileri, Fabio Collantoni