A close defeat for Exiles

Valletta United 12 Exiles 10

A reaction was expected from Maurizio Mirarchi’s boys after three straight defeats against tougher sides and the close encounter against the Citizens proved that the Exiles players were at par with their opponents with the match and points being decided on episodes which favoured one team to the other. The Italian Coach was not satisfied after suffering another defeat however, apart from the usual slips and the missing all the six man-up situations, the team gave its best to leave the pool  empty-handed yet again but convinced that the players can do better.

After forging ahead in the first session, Valletta scored two goals to get a slender lead before Julian Rizzo Naudi scored his first goal of the season to see both teams level at 2-2. The second quarter was characterized by six expulsions with Exiles missing three consecutive man-ups whilst the Citizens capitalized in full by netting their chances to inch away from our boys 5-2 before a well taken shot by our Sean Gravina (also his first this season) closed to gap to two goals. The Valletta keeper also kept our attackers at bay with some fine saves. The third session saw Exiles suffering another four expulsions and a red card to Julian Rizzo Naudi for our opponents to stretch their advantage to four goals (7-3) before the boys made an impressive comeback with some spectacular efforts by Marco Cuk (two scorchers) Sean Gravina and Romain Blary, to end the quarter (8-10). In the last session, Exiles twice shaved their disadvantage to a slender goal with Cuk and Andrea Bianchi putting the ball in the net but an expulsion of the latter was converted by Valletta to restore a two-goal lead which they clinged to it until the final horn. Exiles did have two man -ups in the dying minutes but kept a 100% negative record of fritting the last chances away .

Exiles had 11 men sent out and Valletta scored 7 goals when man-up. Apart from a (converted) penalty awarded in the third session, Exiles scored nine goals when both teams played with equal players in the water.

Some controversial decisions relating to players’ behaviour and interpretation of interference by defending players could have been avoided.

Coach Mirarchi  once again, made use of  eleven players, Ian Bugeja, Julian Rizzo Naudi (1 goal), Simon Vassallo,David Pace Lupi, Romain Blary (2 goals), James Spiteri Staines, Sean Gravina (2 goals), Kurt Griscti, Andrea Bianchi (1 goal), Marco Cuk (4 goals), and Kayne Lanzon. Goalkeeper David Abela and Luca Peric were not utilized.



photo by Adrian Farrugia


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