The futsal season produced a dramatic finale last Friday with the Gatorade Elite play-off final between Luxol and Valletta, a clash that drew probably the largest crowd for this season. In the end, Luxol were declared winners of the championship, the second title in their club history, following a 7-5 win over the former champions Valletta.
This clash, contested by the two main challengers this season, lived up to expectations. The two sides produced attacking futsal, twelve goals with Luxol’s winner, scored by veteran striker Glenn Bonello in the dying seconds of the match.
Luxol’s title triumph was deserved as they led the standings throughout the campaign. They showed character in Friday’s match, despite finding themselves three times down. The St. Andrews outfit had Nicola Del Re, Carl Azzopardi, Matthew Attard and Giancarlo Sammut missing due to injuries. Valletta, who had only Denis di Maio suspended, came into this match on a high after winning the second play-off final played a week before.
Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg
The Citizens started strongly as they opened the scoring on four minutes through a close-range shot by Melvin Borg. Four minutes later, Luxol equalized as Romanian international Emil Raducu hammered home. Valletta kept their cool and scored the second one through Rodrigo Ticz Patricio but Luxol never wilted under the pressure and managed to make it 2-2 before half-time through a well-taken goal by Glenn Bonello.
The match maintained its high tempo in the second half and in no time Valletta were again in front as the league’s top scorer Raphinha hit the target from close range. After calling a time-out, Luxol were a different lot as they turned the tables scoring three goals in the process through Celino Alves, Mark Zammit and Dejan Bizjak. Valletta refused to throw in the towel and Rodrigo Ticz Patricio completed a personal brace to re-open the issue. With one minute left, the numerous crowd present at the Pavillion were left on tenterhooks as they watched three dramatic goals. Mark Zammit extended Luxol’s lead to 6-4 but an own goal by Emil Raducu set an exciting finale. The match was decided by Glenn Bonello after beating the onrushing Valletta keeper for a dramatic winner.
MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo presented the cup to Luxol captain Mark Zammit.