Report by Alex Vella as appearing in the Sunday Times
(0-3, 2-1, 2-0, 1-5)
Displaying a shrewder game-plan especially in the covering phase and propelled by the scoring bravados of five-goal Steven Camilleri, Neptunes Emirates secured pole position on the starting grid of the Premier Division and five bonus points when they defeated Sliema on a clear 9-5 scoreline.
Besides their valid team effort, the Reds also had Serbian Aleksandar Ciric to thank for rallying his rearguard superbly and almost totally nullifying the erstwhile erratic Blues’ forays into the hot five-metre zone.
Both sides had far from perfect readings on man-ups, each netting 40 per cent on 10 occasions. But whereas the Reds scored five times on numerical parity, the Blues could only net a solitary goal.
Sliema did manage to level the score on four-all at the end of the third session after going three goals adrift early on. But Neptunes, who had missed some easy chances when facing the Sliema goalie, pressed the accelerator in the last quarter to drill five goals past their nervous opponents who showed their dissatisfaction with some of the referees’ decision at the end of the match.
Sliema: I Gergely, J. Gabaretta 2, N. Lubrano, P. Privitera, M. Meli, J. Soler, D. Paolella, J. Brownrigg, C. Debono, F. Salomon 3, M. Rizzo, M. Spiteri Staines, R. Coleiro.
Neptunes: I. Bugeja, N. Lanzon, E. Aquilina, M. Stellini 2, G. Pace, A. Ciric 1, S. Camilleri 5, J. Camilleri, B. Lanzon, S. Gravina 1, R. Sciortino, T. Molnar, C. Mercieca.
Refs: M. Angileri, M. Piano.