Futsal: Qormi win Knock-Out quarter-final thriller

In the most awaited quarter-final clash, Qormi claimed a place in the semi-finals of the Futsal Knock-Out competition after beating Hamrun Spartans 8-5 in a hard-fought contest at the Corradino Pavillion.

Hamrun opened a double advantage in the first minute through new recruit Rodrigo Patricio and Jovica Milijic. Despite this double blow, Qormi hit back and took advantage of some defensive frailties to score two quick-fire goals by Blendi Gockaj and Basil Emeka Onuta and level the score.

The Spartans were stunned at Qormi’s fierce counter-attacks and suffered three more goals before the break through Endrit Kaca and a brace from Charlo Magro. Hamrun did make a reaction but found Qormi’s keeper Gaetan Mallia in fine form as he reacted to shots from Rodrigo, Elamari and Milijic.

The contest remained fairly balanced in the second half before Hamrun reduced the arrears from Jovica Milijic. Qormi, however, again hit back and managed to score their sixth goal thanks to Dario Zampa.

Hamrun pulled two goals back when Rodrigo Patricio scored twice to make it 6-5.
At this point, James Ciangura, Hamrun’s mentor, opted for Jovica Milijic as the flying keeper to instil more pressure on the Qormi rearguard. But in doing so, the Spartans exposed themselves defensively as Blendi Gockaj and captain Jesmond Micallef found the net to rubber-stamp their team’s progress to the semifinals.

Luxol managed to qualify for another round in this competition after finding no difficulty to beat Zebbug Rangers 9-4. Despite this defeat, the Rangers should be praised for the way they countered the waves of Luxol attacks, even managing to take the lead at one point. However, a flurry of goals eventually led to their downfall as Zebbug found it hard to contain their opponents.

Celino Alves (2), George Frendo, Jason Mifsud, Michael Grima, Jonathan Micallef, Beppe Antignolo and William Barbosa were the goal-getters for Luxol. Zebbug managed to hit the target through a brace by Jamie Portelli, Dillon Bugeja and Gorg Borg.

Meanwhile holders Balzan and Valletta obtained easy victories against their respective opponents to ease through another round of this competition.

Balzan stormed into the semi-finals after crushing Gzira United 12-1 in a game they completely dominated. Karl Azzopardi notched a hat-trick, Mark Zammit, Marco Conti and Matthew Attard netted a brace, while Glenn Bonello, Boycho Marev and Giancarlo Sammut added more goals for the holders. Gżira managed to reduce the arrears through Alessio Restuccia.

Valletta progressed to another round of this competition after ousting Swieqi United 8-2. The Citizens gave a great performance during this match and scored eight goals from a brace by Melvin Borg while Cedric Sciberras, Denis di Maio, Daniel Mifsud, Fabio Bandeira, Shawn Vella and an own goal completed the score.