Coming into what was probably the biggest game of the club’s brief history; the build-up was phenomenal. After the rallying cries of the committee, coach and players; over 200 students made the trip down to Corradino Pavillion to cheer their fellow students on to victory. The situation coming into the game was that the Knights needed either a win or a draw to secure their place in the Top 5 of the Gatorade Futsal League and hence a place in the Elite Division; the most prestigious Futsal competition on the island. Sliema meanwhile were only a point behind the Knights; meaning that only a win would suffice for them.
Whilst Leo Muscat and Andrew Camilleri were still suspended and injured respectively; the Knights welcomed back Shawn Deguara and Ryan Micallef; both making their returns from injury, the latter having been out for 6 months. Micallef was handed the captain’s armband and led the team out to rapturous applause and noise by the supporters and the accompanying band.
The game itself was a balanced one, with the Knights having the slightly better start out of the two. Both sides had chances but neither side could breakthrough the respective rearguards. It was on the stroke of 12 minutes however that the students struck. Sliema were caught out on the counter and Shawn Deguara put the Knights ahead with a deft finish, sending the crowd wild. Sliema responded with some pressure and it was down to goalkeeper Matthew Gatt and some last ditch defending (including a sensational block off the line) that the score by the break was that of 1-0 in favour of the Knights.
Sliema emerged all guns blazing looking for the win in the second half. However the students remained firm under pressure, with Gatt producing several fantastic stops and the players all playing their hearts out with last ditch tackles and continuous running. Just when Sliema seemed to be about to score; they found a Universitarian in the way.
That being said, Sliema did eventually find an equaliser with just over 1 minute left when Uros Markovic finally put the ball into the back of the net for the Blues. They could not find another goal however and the students held firm until the final whistle; a whistle which was greeted with celebrations all around.
Matthew Gatt, Dylan Cacciattolo, Paul Scerri, Dalziel Bugeja, Shawn Deguara, Djordje Maksimovic, Jean Carl Cuschieri, Ryan Micallef (C), Gaetano Gesualdi, Rodney Debono, Andrea Farrugia, Aidan Caruana, Martin Caruana, Neil Cauchi.
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