Exiles lose grip and points

Exiles Jetfreight 10 Valletta United 14

Partial scores (1-3) (3-0) (3-5) (3-6)

Exiles left the Tal-Qroqq Sports Complex empty-handed last night when in their final match of the Relegation Pool, they suffered another defeat at the hands of Valletta United who took the opportunity of  their opponents’ distractions to cash on  a weak defence that leaked in 11 goals in the third and fourth sessions.

After a shaky first session in which Exiles frittered away three consecutive man-ups, the Lillywhites took a two-goal lead (3-1) in the last thirty seconds of the quarter, but Exiles recovered strongly to score three goals in the second session bolstered by a strong rear guard that fended off their opponents twice when playing a man short to overtake them (4-3) by the half-way mark.  These three goals were scored when both teams were equal  in the water. Whilst Valletta’s defence concentrated on blocking Milos Vukicevic out of the match, Exiles shooters dealt hard blows to their opponents’ fort with their sharp shooting to take a merited lead

The third session was a balanced affair with neither team unable to move away. A controversial goal suffered by Exiles on the stroke of the horn was convalidated by the table officials and this somewhat upset their concentration in the final session which saw the Citizens leading by a slender goal (8-7). With more determinaion, at least half of the 11 goals suffered in the second part of the match, could have been avoided but somewhat, the Exiles defence faltered leaving Coach Pisani no option but to change goalkeeper Ian Bugeja half-way in the final session with youngster Gianni Ciappara. It was all uphill for the Boys as their attacks were sterile and predictable as they stubbornly shifted on the right side to free Milos Vukicevic in the centre. When unable to land the final pass,  the final shots were either weak or off-target. Valletta United  piled another six goals against two of Exiles to win the session 6-3, the encounter 14-10 and add valuable points to their tally. Pisani had to shuffle his formation as Julian Rizzo Naudi and Andrea Bianchi both had two major fouls early in the match, and undoubtedly this had a bearing on the final score.

For the record, Exiles had six man-up situations and converted three. They were man-down on six occasions and conceded two goals. There were also two simultaneous exclusions and two Valletta  players were red-carded in the third and fourth sessions.

Exiles made use of the following players  – Ian Bugeja, Julian Rizzo Naudi, Simon Vassallo (2 goals), Daniel Borg Millo, Edward Gravina, Sean Gravina (1 goal), Kurt Griscti (2 goals), Nicky Paris (1 goal), Andrea Bianchi, Gianni Ciappara, Milos Vukecevic (3 goals) and Kayne Lanzon (1 goal).

Having completed their Relegation Pool matches, Exiles placed sixth and bottom place in the Premier League and now meet First Division Champions Marsaxlokk over a series of best of three encounters to determine which team retains or gains the top Waterpolo Division status next season.



photo by Adrian Farrugia shows Nicky Paris (White cap 9) shooting at Ryan Sciortino’s goal during yesterday’s clash which the Citizens won 14-10.


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