Light­shop Hot­sticks crowned win­ners of the Hockey Association Malta Chal­lenge Cup

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Flo­ri­ana Young Stars Light­shop Hot­sticks

Um­pires: Ray­mond Reno Cre­mona

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Matches be­tween these two clubs are al­ways hard fought and pro­duced a va­ri­ety of re­sults.

This was the sec­ond en­counter in the tour­na­ment and it was an­tic­i­pated that the teams would use dif­fer­ent tac­tics to out­think their op­po­nents.

On 9 min­utes Hot­sticks were awarded their first penalty cor­ner and Steve Portelli hit home to send his team 1-0 up. Both teams re­verted to man-to-man mark­ing in mid­field us­ing bas­ket­ball tac­tics of ‘press­ing’ to keep the op­po­nent’s de­fences on their toes.

The ac­tion was con­gested in mid field with very few in­cur­sions into the third part of the op­po­nent’s half, the half time whis­tle blow­ing with Hot­sticks main­tain­ing their 1-0 lead.

Young Stars started on the gal­lop in the open­ing min­utes of the sec­ond half but did not cap­i­talise on two penalty cor­ner awards.

On 42 min­utes Mark Camil­leri, the na­tional team cap­tain and his team’s penalty king, drove home to equalise as a re­sult of a penalty cor­ner ac­tion.

Both teams missed fur­ther penalty cor­ner op­por­tu­ni­ties with Young Stars not tak­ing ad­van­tage of some invit­ing crosses from the flanks. On 55 min­utes Portelli hit his sec­ond to send Hot­sticks into 2 -1 lead. Young Stars stormed back and Camil­leri grabbed his sec­ond on 59 min­utes to level the score on 2-2.

It was now or never for both teams and de­fences opened up.

Within two min­utes Hot­sticks were awarded a penalty stroke which Shaun Grima con­verted to send his team 3-1 up.

Grima grabbed his sec­ond on 65 min­utes to se­cure a 4-2 lead which his team ad­min­is­tered un­til the fi­nal whis­tle, crown­ing Light­shop Hot­sticks win­ners of the Hockey Association Malta Chal­lenge Cup.

3rd and 4th place

Rabat Depiro Qormi Poiatti

Um­pires: Agius

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Manuel Im­broll,David

In the early stages of the match, man mark­ing was the or­der of the day with the usual pat­tern of Rabat’s well drilled de­fence be­ing coun­tered by Qormi’s pos­ses­sion tac­tics.

In fact both sides missed op­por­tu­ni­ties to go ahead mid way into the half.

On 24 min­utes Rabat spurned a penalty cor­ner op­por­tu­nity while, on 30 min­utes, Qormi did not take ad­van­tage of a penalty cor­ner awarded to them, how­ever they went into a 1-0 lead when Juan Sar­cia hit home in the fi­nal minute of the half from an­other penalty cor­ner ac­tion.

The sec­ond half turned out to be a dif­fer­ent af­fair al­to­gether, Qormi ap­ply­ing pres­sure us­ing their right flank as a feeder to hit tan­ta­lis­ing crosses across the face of the goal­post on at least four oc­ca­sions. Rabat coun­tered well with swift di­rect counter at­tacks and on 47 min­utes they were de­nied by Qormi’s goal­keeper who ef­fected a sprawl­ing save to keep his goal in­tact.

Mid­way through the half gaps started open­ing as both teams placed more em­pha­sis on at­tack leav­ing their de­fences more vul­ner­a­ble. Af­ter Rabat had missed two scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties, on 54 min­utes John Wil­liams net­ted as a re­sult of a pass from Keith Ba­jada to send Qormi into a 2-0 lead.

Qormi con­tin­ued to at­tack down the flanks and on 68 min­utes Kyle Mi­callef shot home to send his team 3-0 up.

Rabat grabbed their con­so­la­tion goal when Kevin Mi­callef scored – the whis­tle blow­ing im­me­di­ately af­ter - leav­ing Qormi oc­cu­py­ing the third place in the com­pe­ti­tion.

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