Hamrun Spartans won the first of a series of three Gatorade Elite finals after beating Valletta 13-12 on penalties with the result tied at 6-6 at the end of the regular 40 minutes.
The match was played in front of a sizeable crowd at the Corradino Pavillion as they were kept on tenterhooks with both teams battling for victory till the end.
Dejan Bizjak broke the deadlock early in the match for Valletta but Brasilian Madson Gaetano De Abreu equalized minutes later. This goal encouraged the Spartans who took the upperhand courtesy of a goal by Michel Melo Jose. Meanwhile Raphinha made it 3-1 after receiving a fine ball from Peter Pullicino.
Valletta refused to throw in the towel and Xavier Saliba’s powershot gave little chance to Hamrun’s goalkeeper Brian Baldacchino. However Raphinha completed a personal brace as he made it 4-2 for the Spartans before half-time.
The Citizens opened the second half aggressively and they managed to level the matters when Cuadros Silva and Bizjak surprised the Hamrun rearguard. In came again Raphinha who slotted home his team’s fifth goal as Andy Mangion added another one for the Spartans. Everything was set for Hamrun’s victory but the Lilywhites hit back again as they drew level through Bizjak and Dylan Musu with the game being decided on penalties.
Rodrigo Ticz Patricio, De Abreu, Raphinha, Melo Jose, George Frendo, Andy Mangion and Daniel Mifsud netted for Hamrun Spartans. On the other hand Cristian Cuadros Silva, Dejan Bizjak, Jovica Milijic, Dylan Musu, Mohammed Elamari and Melvin Borg scored for the Citizens. Daniel Brincat missed the last penalty as he saw Hamrun’s keeper repel his shot.
Meanwhile, Sliema Wanderers were crowned First Division Champions as they saw off a mighty Sirens side 7-3. Despite every effort done by Sirens, on the day Sliema proved to be the best side.
Following a Sirens’ defensive mistake, the Wanderers opened the score through Christian Micallef with Eslam Khalifa doubling the score. In the dying minutes of the first half, the St Paul Bay outfit scored again through Andy Portelli.
The second half of the game saw a more organised Wanderers team who offered minimal chances to its opponents. After four minutes Dexter O’Brien scored Sliema’s fourth goal. This was followed by Aleksander Ribic who put the ball at the back of the net in the middle of the second half. Antoine Galea managed to score the third and last goal for Sirens, Sliema sealed their victory when Eslam Khalifa scored a quickfire brace to make it 7-3.
After the match, Futsal Malta Association President Mark Borg together with the Vice President Alfred Camilleri, presented the medals to both teams. Finally came Sliema’s captain Jurgen Mifsud to raise the cup among the Wanderers’ celebrations.