Great Comeback By Malta to Beat USA In Their First Match

 The U16 National Water Polo Team under the guidance of National Coach Anthony Farrugia couldn’t have asked for a better start to these Championships.  In the first ever participation at a FINA World Championships, Malta came back from a 5-3 deficit at the end of the second session to win the match 10-7.

USA                         7

MALTA                   10

(3-1, 2-2, 1-3, 1-4)

After conceding 2 quick goals at the start of the match, Jayden Cutajar scored a penalty to reduce the distance.  USA converted a man-up situation at the start of the 2nd session with an instant reply from Dean Bugeja. Malta missed out on a man-up situation with USA scoring their 5th goal.  Lee Montebello Brownrigg scored Malta’s third goal from a man-up situation at the end of the session.

Even though Malta was trailing by 2 goals at the start of the 3rd session, the players were more settled and confident and showed great maturity and determination.  Jayden Cutajar once again reduced the gap but the USA converted another man-up situation.  Cain Cutajar scored Malta’s next goal from a similar situation, and Jayden Cassar gave Malta the 6-6 draw at the end of the session.

The 4th session proved to be the most exciting part of the game with Malta pulling ahead for the first time through a Jayden Cutajar goal.  USA equalised from another man-up situation only for Jayden Cutajar to score his 4th goal of the match in the next attack.  Following a number of man-up situations from both teams, Jayden Cutajar scored again to increase Malta’s advantage to 7-9 with almost three minutes left in the match.  Malta frustrated their opponents by pulling together and defending two man-up situations.  With 17 seconds left on the clock Elijah Schembri scored Malta’s 10th goal.

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