No winner in thrilling match

Valletta United 9 Exiles Jetfreight 9

Partial scores (2-3) (4-3) (2-1) (1-1)

A nail biting match ended all square when Exiles and Valletta United clashed last night. This leaves Exiles three points clear of their rivals in the Premier League Waterpolo table.

Exiles settled down quickly to build a two-goal lead (2-0) and (3-1) in the first part of quarter one before Valletta reduced the gap to a slender goal by its end. The second session saw the Citizens forge ahead twice half-way through the session (4-5)  and (5-6) but Exiles managed to react to end one goal up (7-6) at the end of the second session with a controversial goal in the last second as a lob in flight was ruled valid by the Italian referee whilst the goal judge stuck to his view that the ball had not passed the imaginary line.

The third and fourth sessions were characterized by signs of fatigue in  both sets. Exiles’ mentor kept insisting on squeezing the same four players’ resistance whilst Valletta’s Rizzo kept changing formations resulting in some of their attacks lacking any threat to the Exiles fort as the substitutions during play took long for the entering player to participate in his team’s attack. Pisani’s players also lacked the accuracy in the passes and these nearly cost them the three points. Once again the Valletta defence crowded out our centre but Exiles stuck to the same system. Valletta’s equalizer (7-7) was incredible when Vapenski found the net from seven metres ‘shadowed’ by two Exiles defenders.

Exiles managed to find their opponents’ net just twice in the last two sessions against the seven goals in the first two sessions. The final shot somehow lacked the precision to finish off their opponents. Exiles forged ahead in the last four minutes of the match (9-8). The Citizens’ efforts were being thwarted by a steady Exiles defence that had shown cracks in the first part of the game when soft goals were suffered. The team seemed to cling to their thin lead. Within the space of a minute, our boys had two glaring chances to settle the affair when they had numerical advantage, but somehow fumbled both chnaces to put the match in balance. When an Exiles player was excluded thirty six seconds to the final whistle. Valletta called a time-out and capitalized to score the equalizer seven seconds to go.

Exiles had eight man-ups including a double one in the dying seconds of the first quarter but manged to convert two. Valletta scored three of their six man-ups.

Dorian Pisani made use of ten players for this match: Matthew Castillo, Julian Rizzo Naudi, Michele Stellini (1 goal), Timmy Sullivan (4 goals) Sean Xerri de Caro, Slobodan Nikic (1 goal), Kurt Griscti (1 goal), Nicky Paris, Andrea Bianchi (2 goals) and Benji Lanzon.

Next match for Exiles is against runaway leaders San Giljan who have a 100% record of eight straight wins.

Swim-Up at 19.15 hours on Sunday 16th July.




photo by Adrian Farrugia shows Exiles defence (blue caps) defend their fort from an attempt by Valletta’s Michael Rizzo (white cap 4) in the second part of last night’s encounter.



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