Coming off a record-breaking run of 6 consecutive wins; the University of Malta Futsal team was on a high. However, straight after the buzzer rang out to signify the end of the game against Safi San Lorenzo last weekend; the Knights knew that they had to focus on their next challenge. That challenge would indeed be a tough one; a game against last year’s League and Knock-out Runners Up, Hamrun Tre Angeli. Coming into this game, Hamrun were in 3rd place in the league and on a run of 5 consecutive wins as well. It was never going to be an easy task for the Knights and that showed from the off.
It took Hamrun only 4 minutes to go 3-0 up; with three near identical goals in extremely quick succession. Manager Kyle Sultana called an early timeout to try rectify matters; and his words seemed to make a difference, as the Knights were much more settled after that.
Indeed they began to push Hamrun further into their own half and it didn’t take long for them to pull one back, through a fortuitous own goal. The Knights continued to play good futsal and kept the pressure up on Hamrun. Sure enough mid way through the first half they pulled another back through a great shot from Gaetano Gesualdi. However, a lapse in concentration late on in the half would allow Hamrun to score another two goals in very quick succession. That meant that it was 5-2 going into the break.
The Knights came out all guns blazing in the second half and it didn’t take long before Andrea Farrugia found the back of net to make it 5-3. However Hamrun made it 6-3 soon after to and restored their 3 goal advantage. From here on however, controversy began to take over. Leo Muscat committed a foul on the touchline and, after some minor dissent, he was shown a straight red card by the referee. The decision was controversial to say the least and it left the Universitarians in trouble. In fact it didn’t take too long for Hamrun to make it 7-3.
With numerical parity restored, the Knights pushed forward again but could not find the net; seeing Hamrun’s goalkeeper pull off some good saves and also hitting the woodwork. It was Hamrun who added to the scoreline, making it 9-3 with another two quick goals.
Then the refereeing team made matters even worse for the Universitarians. Andrew Camilleri was first not given a foul on him, and then tracked back; executing a perfect slide tackle from behind a Hamrun player, winning the ball completely. The referee however seemed to be of a different opinion; deciding that showing a straight red card would be a more appropriate response to the tackle. From our point of view, it was an awful decision; and the technical staff, players and supporters were enraged by it.
Despite being a man down however, the Knights rallied to pull a goal back through Andrea Farrugia, but it would be to no avail as Hamrun soon found their 10th goal of the night; leaving the final score at 10-4.
We always knew that the game would be a challenge for our lads; but they fought valiantly despite suffering from a poor start and a dodgy team of match officials. Heads up and onto the next game, which is on Tuesday 7th March at 9:15pm against Mriehel ESS. Forza Knights!
Matthew Gatt (C), Dylan Cacciattolo, Andrea Farrugia, Aidan Caruana, Jeancarl Cuschieri, Gaetano Gesualdi, Leo Muscat, Rodney Debono, Paul Scerri, Andrew Camilleri, Jonathan Sammut, Neil Cauchi, Alfred Mifsud, Dalziel Bugeja.
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