December 15th 2017 proved to be a tough day for the University Futsal team, as they came out of a decider against Mriehel ESS on the wrong side; thus meaning that they did not win a place in Futsal’s Elite Division, as they had done last season in a pulsating decider against Sliema. By no means however did this mean that their season was over.
Indeed there is still silverware at stake for our Knights this season, in the form of Division One and the Knock-Out Competition.
The new year started in fact with the Quarter Final of the latter competition, against league leaders and the unbeaten Valletta Futsal; a team whom the Knights had already taken to the very edge in the league before. This time though, still hurting from their defeat to Mriehel; the Knights bounced back in style and shocked the Citizens with a 4-2 win, with the goals coming from Nermin Hasanbegovic, Shawn Deguara, Gary Inguanez and goalkeeper Dylan Cacciatolo.
Meanwhile in the league, the Knights have taken 3 wins from 3 so far. They beat a plucky Swieqi U-21s side 4-1, before being taken all the way by Marsascala – a game which saw the Knights emerge with a victory of 3-2. The most recent game last Thursday was then the much awaited Academic Derby, as University faced Junior College, with the former coming out as winners with a 9-0 scoreline.
The team itself has also been strengthened over the course of the January transfer window. 25 year old Jonathan Cardona adds more depth to the squad in the goalkeeping department whilst Daniel Zahra makes his first forays into futsal after a footballing career with teams such as Zejtun Corinthians, St. George’s and most recently Ghaxaq FC in Malta’s lower divisions. Young prospect Dusan Rakic meanwhile also joins the squad from Hamrun Tre Angeli. The 21 year old Serb brings experience from Serbian powerhouses KMF Ekonomac, having made his UEFA Futsal Cup with them back in 2015 when they faced Benfica.
Last but not least, Albert Aquilina has also joined the University squad, having start off the season with the Junior College team. Indeed the pivot proved to be one of the few bright-sparks of what has proved to be a difficult first season in Futsal for the Junior College team. Aquilina made his debut against Marsascala before scoring his first goal with his new squad against his old teammates last Thursday.
With these new additions and their 100% start to the new year, the Knights currently lead the way in Division One holding a two point advantage over Pieta Nordiska with a game in hand. They play Tarxien JMI tomorrow evening and the league will continue to play out until the end of February, after which a set of play-offs will take place which will result in a final to decide the winners of Division One, which will be played on March 15th.
We wish the Knights the very best of luck for their upcoming games!