Reds sign off formalities to join Exiles in final

Neptunes 17
 – Sirens 11
(6-1, 4-3, 2-4, 5-3 – agg: 34-16)

Adapted from The Times report by Alex Vella in The Times

Neptunes Emirates did not have to put any extraordinary fare on show to proceed to Saturday’s unedited KO final against Exiles who eliminated holders Sliema in the other semi-final.

Sirens’ predicament, after their 17-5 debacle in the first leg on Monday, had already been sealed and the Reds’ 17-11 success yesterday (34-16 overall) added to the formalities.

Gabriel Pace scoring one of his two goals

Gabriel Pace scoring one of his two goals

An early advantage, which went increasing, was followed by moments of respite for the Balluta Bay team whose coach kept rotating his manjack, with all the tailenders simultaneously in the water.

Sirens could only play to honour the fixture against an infinitely superior outfit. They did so generously, befitting sporting principles.

The Reds started cracking the goals after conceding the first of the day. They pressed vigorously and fanned out effectively on the break to score six times for a first-session 6-1 lead.

It was already time for Sergei Markoch to ring in some changes through substitutions. Sirens still went for double-on-the-centre tactics, changing rapidly to central zone.

The Reds conceded two goals after taking an 8-2 but their penchant of keeping coming through from nowhere again put them six goals ahead and a massive 18 goals in front on aggregate.

Pride was at the core of Sirens’ efforts as Neptunes grew a trifle casual, messing up their fifth consecutive man-up.

Goran Krstonosic struck his first and only goal after David Cutajar, Alex Attard and Clint Mercieca had reduced the gap for Sirens. Earlier, Matthew Pisani was the author of a beautifully-flicked goal off a service from Neptunes’ team-mate Vladimir Gojkovic.

Markoch kept giving his young players a feel of the water with Neptunes leading 12-4. The last session went in favour of the Reds, like the first two, with Gabriel Pace (twice) and Zak Mizzi inserting their names on the scorers’ list.


Neptunes: I. Bugeja, N. Lanzon 4, E. Aquilina, M. Stellini 2, J. Camilleri 1, Z. Mizzi 1, S. Camilleri 3, V. Gojkovic 1, G. Pace 2, S. Gravina, R. Sciortino, T. Molnar 2, M. Pisani 1.

Sirens: J. Sammut, A. Attard 1, P. Micallef, P. Borg 2, S. Kiss, R. Mock, J. Borg, D. Cutajar 2, G. Krstonosic 1, C. Zammit 2, N. Grixti, D. Zammit 2, C. Mercieca 1.

Referees: M. Angilleri, M. Piano.

Finals (Saturday) 
5 p.m. – Ta’ Xbiex vs Marsascala.
6.15 p.m. – Neptunes vs Exiles.