Futsal: Title challengers keep marching on

The top teams in the Gatorade Elite Round continued to march relentlessly as they maintained their high positions in the standings.

Leaders Luxol obtained a stunning 7-2 win over Swieqi United while second-placed Valletta had the better of Lija Athletic 7-4 to keep the pressure on the St Andrews side. Even Hamrun overcame Msida’s challenge as they won 9-5.

In the match against Swieqi, Luxol were the better team throughout the game and it was no surprise that they grabbed this important victory. Swieqi gave their best but found disciplined opponents who struck aggressively on counter attacks. Frane Despotovic, Carlo Scicluna, Clint Cope and Zvezdan Vukovic together with three own goals were on target for Luxol. Boicho Marev and Jean Bert Gatt scored for Swieqi.

In an entertaining match, Valletta saw off Lija Athletic 7-4. Valletta deserved the maximum points as they were better than their opponents but credit goes also for Lija for giving a good challenge. Jovica Milijic stole the show as he netted a poker while the Citizens’ Slovenian star, Dejan Bizjak hit a brace. On the other hand, Cristian Cuadros Silva added another one for Valletta, who have another tough match next week as they cross swords with Hamrun. Lija had Nicola Del Re and Chavi Montes Burgos reducing the scoreline.

Hamrun Spartans assured themselves of a play-off spot in the Gatorade Elite Round when they beat the misfiring Msida St Joseph 9-5. Raphinha turned to be the main protagonist as he netted a poker. Daniel Mifsud and Michel Melo Jose hit the target twice as Peter Pullicino completed the score sheet for Hamrun. Msida were on the mark through a double by Armando Gjepali and goals from Paulo Mendes da Silva, Christopher Navarro and Clayton Farrugia.

In the Gatorade First Division, Sirens shot to the top of the standings with a hard-earned 5-1 win over Mdina. Ryan Gilmour Cassar helped himself with a hat-trick as George Chircop netted the other goals for Sirens. Mdina’s solitary goal came through Dalziel Bugeja.

Sliema Wanderers, second in the standings, obtained an 11-5 victory over Mqabba. Josh Parry inspired the Wanderers as he netted a poker while their talisman player, Aleksandar Ribic hit a hat-trick. A brace by Darren Agius, Mark Camilleri, Alan Galea and Adam Wingfield completed the score sheet for Sliema. Mqabba’s goals came from a double by Miguel Alcaraz, Kevin Loughborough, Thomas Consoli and Ryan Mifsud.

Zebbug Rangers’s bid to take over at the top of the table was thwarted by a 4-3 defeat to Marsaskala while Qrendi returned to winning ways after hammering Gozo 8-2.

Gatorade Elite Round – Luxol 42, Valletta 40, Hamrun 37, Lija 31, Swieqi 23, Msida 22
Gatorade First Division – Sirens 23, Sliema 22, Zebbug 21, Mqabba 14, Qrendi, Marsascala 10, Mdina 9, Gozo 1