SLIEMA HOTSTICKS 0 RABAT 2
Starting Formation: Farrugia Elton Lee, Imbroll Andrei, Bugeja Michael, Cassar Charles, Vassallo Elton, Plaehn Lukas, Grima Shaun, George Ryan, Plaehn Silas, Dalli Ryan, Portelli Steve.
Substitutes who Played: Borg Emile, Cacopardo Dario, Cachia Steven, Scicluna Keith, Schembri Stefano.
Umpires: Reno Cremona and Edward Hughes
Disciplinary Measures: Nil
A strong, positive performance was not enough to overcome a smart Rabat side. Rabat capitalised on their few chances whilst Hotsticks were not at their best in front of goal. The Sliema side had the initiative for most of the time but Rabat were tactically disciplined.
Sliema had to effect some changes to their starting formation. Charles Cassar returned with the team almost a year after he quit the game due to injury. He replaced the injured team captain Keith Scicluna. The rest of the squad was the same one that beat Young Stars in the semi-final. Hotsticks started strong and controlled the first twenty minutes. From their first short corner it was, however, Rabat who threatened to open the score. They did not take long as from the second corner they moved ahead. During the same short corner a Rabat player made a foot infringement which went unnoticed.
In the second half Hotsticks made some tactical changes and built up the pressure on the Rabat defence. Half way through the half it was Grima who went closest to score but the upright denied him a deserved equaliser. Only a minute later Dalli deflected a ball at goal but just missed. It all seemed like it was not to be. Rabat sealed the result three minutes from time from yet another short corner. The hit at goal travelled high, then dropped to touch the edge of the backboard. The umpire rightly disallowed the goal but on consulting the other umpire the goal was allowed. This, together with other instances showed a very poor level of umpiring which conditioned the game considerably. Lack of knowledge of the rules was even very evident.
Notwithstanding, Hotsticks walked off the pitch heads high conscious of their positive performance, not only today but throughout the competition. The team has now three weeks to recover from injuries and prepare itself for the National League.