Futsal: Shock defeat for champions Valletta

Valletta’s title defence in the Gatorade Elite Round got off to a terrible start as Hamrun grabbed a stunning 6-5 victory to kick off their second round season in style.

The Lilywhites dominated possession throughout but found themselves 3-1 behind before the break as Hamrun were operating some lethal counter attacks that left their opponents unprepared. Valletta looked an aggressive side after the interval, adopting also the flying keeper in the process and they looked like they might turn tables on their opponents but their casual approach contrasted starkly with Hamrun’s enterprise. James Ciangura’s side were bold and brave, defending in numbers when Valletta had the ball, and breaking forward with pace and panache.

Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg

It was a shock result but Hamrun deserved their moment of glory. Their nippy Brazilian striker Everton Veve tormented the Valletta defence with his speed off the mark and his elusiveness and his goal-scoring spree was of natural consequence. On the other hand, it wasn’t an easy night for his compatriot Raphinha, who although scoring one goal for the Citizens, was well guarded by the Hamrun defence that denied him from causing damage to their rearguard. It was Veve show as he hit the target five times with Cleavon Portelli netting another one for Hamrun. Daniel Aguilera Puerto scored a brace while Jovica Milijic, Raphinha and Dylan Musu were on the mark for Valletta.

Meanwhile Luxol broke little sweat to outclass Swieqi FC 6-1 and keep alive their title hopes. The St Andrews side were off to a flier when two braces by Andy Mangion and Frane Despotovic and goals from Nicola Del Re and Glenn Bonello sealed the points that mattered. Swieqi’s only goal was scored in the first half by Boicho Marev.

Meanwhile in the Gatorade First Division, title challengers Msida and Sliema claimed important victories to maintain their challenge for the championship. Sliema, top of the league on 27 points, beat Qrendi 9-5 while Msida, two points behind in third place, extended their good form with a 12-2 win over Swieqi Under 21.

Mrieħel ESS launched their Gatorade Division One second phase campaign on a winning note as they stormed to a 5-1 win over Safi San Lorenzo.

Tarxien JMI chalked up a handsome 6-2 win over Marsascala Construct Furniture to grab their third victory of the season.

Elite Division: Luxol 42, Valletta 37, Ħamrun Tre Angeli 39, Swieqi 33, University of Malta 25.
First Division: Sliema 27, Mrieħel ESS 26, Msida 25, Qormi Futsal 19, Safi San Lorenzo 18, Qrendi 10, Marsascala, Tarxien JMI 9, Swieqi U21 6, Żurrieq Wolves 3.