Belgrad 2016 – FOOTAGE – Malta edge Turkey in a historic win to finish 15th
Rodney Vassallo from Belgrad
In a historic win debutants Malta finished in 15th place at the 2016 European Championships edging Turkey 14-13 on penalties.
After a tournament of hard work, new experience and defeats, the reward came in the final match. A close game with Turkey, who equalised 4 minutes before the end of regulation, and a tense final phase, was concluded with winning the penalty series 4-3.
Fittingly Malta top scorer Steven Camilleri scored the decisive penalty shot giving his team their first win of the tournament they played for the first time. But just at the right moment.
Turkey meanwhile, missing their top scorer Srdjan Aksentijevic in the penalty series after he was excluded with over a minute left in regulation, take 16th and last place.
The Turks actually had the lead in the shootout after both first attempts were missed, and Oytun Okman hit his one (10-11) but later on saw his team-mate Halil Beskardesler missing against Nicholas Grixti.
Two shots later, Steven Camilleri stepped up draining the decisive and last attempt of the series for the 14-13 final score.
Karl Izzo after-match comment:
“So happy with this historic win. Great performance by all the boys from 1 to 13. We could have sealed victory in normal time for some unlucky misses. We exceeded our expectations against a strong Turkey side which boats 3 SERBIAN players in their team. The boys kept their cool till the end even in the penalty shoot-out. Excellent performances from STEVIE CAMILLERI, current TOP SCORER of the Championships. AURELIEN COUSIN and JORDAN CAMILLERI in defence centre JOHN BROWNRIGG AND JEROME GABARRETTA who alternated excellently in centre with MATTHEW ZAMMIT fouled out mi 4th Session.
One big word of praise for our young goalkeeper NICKY GRIXTI who gave reassurances to all the team throughout all the game. DINO ZAMMIT who played a good part and scored one of the penalties in the shootout. Youngsters BEN PLUMPTON and NICHOLAS BUGELLI – I am very happy with their contribution when in the water.
ONE LAST BUT NOT LEAST TOP MENTION OF THE DAY GOES TO NIKI LANZON WHO TODAY PLAYED HIS LAST OFFICIAL MATCH FOR THE NATIONAL TEAM. I WANT TO THANK HIM PUBLICLY FOR BEING A GREAT CAPTAIN AND AN EXCELLENT TEAM PLAYER.
The Maltese public present in Belgrade enjoyed out thrilling victory.”
Malta – Alan Borg Cole, Niki Lanzon, Jerome Gabarretta (1), Nicky Bugelli, Mark Meli (1), Matthew Zammit (1), Stevie Camilleri (4), Jordan Camilleri, John Brownrigg (1), Aurel Cousin (2), Ben Plumpton, Dino Zammit, Nicky Grixti.
Turkija – Atilla Sezer, Mahir Agkurt, Srdan Aksentijevic (3), Oytun Okman (1), Arslan Sutalo (2), Osman Gulenc (2), Cemil Ozbakis (1), Nadir Sonmez, Ali Can Yilmaz (1), Mihajlo Korolija, Halil Beskardesler, Alican Cagatay, Deniz Gksen.