Young Stars and Hot­sticks reach fi­nal

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Flo­ri­ana Young Stars 1 Qormi Poiatti 0 Um­pires: Ray Mi­callef, Reno Cre­mona

The game started at a very fast pace with both mid­fields neu­tral­is­ing each other. It was Qormi who were dan­ger­ous in the first five min­utes, forc­ing keeper James Mizzi into a triple save. How­ever, it was the Flo­ri­ana team who had the first cou­ple of short corners which were ably cleared by the Qormi de­fence.

After 15 mins, the ini­tial fren­zied tempo sub­sided al­low­ing both teams to take a more cau­tious ap­proach. But with Qormi gain­ing some ter­ri­to­rial ad­van­tage, Flo­ri­ana’s cap­tain Mark Camil­leri, man­aged to ease past Juan Sar­cia to set up a mouth wa­ter­ing chance but hit the side net­ting.

Play was then held up in mid­field un­til the fi­nal minute of the first half when Flo­ri­ana were awarded a short cor­ner but again, no clear chance was cre­ated.

The sec­ond half started on a quiet note. Qormi had to make Mizzi work hard again from a well worked short cor­ner but at the other end Luke Borg Costanzi made Qormi keeper Mif­sud save bril­liantly in re­ply.

How­ever, from the sub­se­quent ac­tion, Young Stars gained an­other penalty cor­ner. It was the 17th minute and after the ini­tial shot was par­ried, Nanko Cor­nel­lis­sen con­verted from the re­bound. Qormi re­acted but could not cre­ate any real dan­ger with the Young Stars de­fence hold­ing out to keep a clear sheet and gain a place in next Sun­day’s Chal­lenge Cup Fi­nal.

Rabat Depiro 1 Light­shop Hot­sticks 4

Um­pires: Glen Bonello, Paul Brin­cat

Rabat and Hot­sticks had al­ready met once in the group stage and there­fore knew what to ex­pect. There was no rea­son to be­lieve that Hot­sticks would not dom­i­nate pro­ceed­ings again es­pe­cially since Rabat had their key player Kevin Mi­callef miss­ing in their line up.

How­ever, it was Rabat who had the first short cor­ner but could not get a shot on tar­get.

Two min­utes later Hot­sticks went ahead when after some nifty passes, Steve Portelli prod­ded the ball home.

In the 14th minute, Hot­sticks won their 2nd penalty cor­ner which was eas­ily saved by Rabat goal­keeper El­ton Far­ru­gia. Far­ru­gia could not re­peat this feat in the 18th minute when Sliema Hot­sticks young­ster Alessan­dro Amore, tapped the ball in at the far post, giv­ing Sliema a 2 goal cush­ion.

Rabat could not muster a re­ac­tion and The Light­shop Hot­sticks got an­other cor­ner which clipped the post. How­ever, Rabat built a counter at­tack which re­sulted in a goal when Char­lot An­tonelli trapped the ball and slot­ted home after cre­at­ing space in a re­stricted area.

This goal gave Rabat a bit of hope for an equaliser but in their fran­tic ef­fort, the game de­te­ri­o­rated into a scrappy af­fair.

It was not un­til mid­way through the sec­ond half that Hot­sticks re­gained their 2 goal cush­ion when Steve Portelli got his sec­ond goal from a short cor­ner set piece. From then on, Hot­sticks con­trolled the match and even man­aged to find a fourth through Ryan Dalli.

The Light­shop Hot­sticks now meet Flo­ri­ana Young Stars next Sun­day in the Chal­lenge Cup Fi­nal at 11am at the Na­tional Hockey Cen­tre at Cor­radino.

Ju­lian Zahra of Sliema Hot­sticks (in white) shields the ball from the chal­lenge of Brian Tanti of Rabat Depiro (back) - Photo Domenic Aquilina

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