It was the turn of our nearest challengers San Ġiljan to succumb to our formidable defensive and offensive weaponry. Another show of force complemented by sheer class again demonstrated that Neptunes Emirates have no peers in the local game as the premier league completes its first stage of the title race.
Whereas all other league matches developed on tight lines, those involving our boys have resulted in more than emphatic victories.
Such has been the Reds’ superiority that our undoubted individual skills are playing second fiddle to superb collective play. Eight players on Neptunes’ scoring cards against San Ġiljan’s three reflected our homogeneous striking qualities.
As was the case against Sliema the match against our neighbours could best be described as one between men and boys. Scoring statistics and the quality of our conversions speak for themselves.
Up to a certain extent, so did our man-up succes rate, the reading showing four on seven against three on nine for our opponents. More so, our 15 goals compared to six for the Saints on numerical parity.
The only ponderable is whether we can maintain this superb level of performance throughout the season. On the evidence of our matches against San Ġiljan and earlier against Sliema there is no reason why we can’t sustain this formidable pace.
We were off the blocks with a four-goal spurt and by the time ends were changed the lead was 9-4. Our opponents’ efforts in the third quarter were not enough to cut down that five-goal leeway as eight goals were shared after Dino Zammit had gone on a six-goal scoring rampage to limit his team’s damage.
The rout was completed in the last quarter which we won 6-1. Our neighbours had long been dumbfounded.
The usual Steven Camilleri and captain Niki Lanzon (four each), followed by Jordan Camilleri (three) were the main scoring protagonists, with Tamas Molnar, Michele Stellini, Sean Gravina (two each) and Clint Mercieca and Alaksandar Ciric providing further scoring support with one each. Ciric, was also immaculate in defence together with the reliable Alan Borg Cole in goal.
Steven Camilleri’s second personal goal will probably go down as his best of his relatively short career so far. Receiving a high ball from the back whilst on a break, the Neptunes prodigy swerved to send a spectacular back-hander that completely stunned the national pool crowd as the ball ended beyond Dino Camilleri’s reach.
Our perfectly-timed breaks, superior swimming, shooting power, accurate passing and solid defending were all in our repertoire of skills.
More than that Neptunes’ feared scoring machine was again in full striking force.
San Ġiljan 9 – Neptunes 19
(1-4, 3-5, 4-4, 1-6)
San Ġiljan: D. Camilleri, J.C. Cutajar, C. Gialanze, K. Galea, K. Dowling, M. Zammit 2, M. Avramovic 1, A. Bianchi, C. Spiteri de Barro, P. Biros, P. Fava, D. Zammit 6, J. Sammut.
Neptunes: A. Borg Cole, N. Lanzon 4, A. Sammut, M. Stellini 2, T. Agius, A. Ciric 1, S. Camilleri 4, J. Camilleri 3, G. Pace, S. Gravina 2, B. Lanzon, T. Molnar 2, C. Mercieca 1.
Refs: M. Dalli, M. Piano.
Premier League Standings after the 1st round