Two penalties saved by Haber as Malta, Switzerland share spoils in draw

Malta and Switzerland shared the spoils in a goalless draw in a friendly match at Ta’ Qali as the visitors had two penalties saved by goalkeeper Justin Haber.

A penalty awarded after less than two minutes gave the indication that Switzerland could be heading towards a comfortable win. However this was not to happen as the locals shared the exchanges with their opponents during the first half, creating several goal scoring opportunities.

After the break, Ottmar Hitzfeld’s side held the initiative but the Maltese controlled the Swiss forwards, keeping them at bay.

The Swiss could have taken the lead on the 2nd minute when they were awarded a penalty after Jonathan Caruana handled the ball inside the area. However Alexander Frei’s effort from the penalty spot was deflected by Justin Haber to hit the upright with Andrei Agius clearing the ball into safety.

The Maltese replied with a good pass by Michael Mifsud for Andre Schembri whose shot from the edge of the area was parried by Benaglio. On the 17th, a great freekick by Shaun Bajada from the right was turned into a corner by the Swiss custodian.

Malta went close once again with a low freekick by Andrew Cohen which was deflected into a corner by Benaglio on 25 minutes.

Three minutes in the second half, Alexander Frei hit incredibly high following an inviting pass by Reto Ziegler from the left.

Switzerland were awarded a second penalty on 57 minutes. But once again, the Swiss failed to score as Gokhan Inler’s effort was neutralised by Justin Haber.

Substitute Xherdan Shaqiri then went close on 74 minutes with a diagonal shot from the left ending just wide.

Photos: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com

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Photos: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar

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MALTA Justin Haber, Jonathan Caruana, Carlo Mamo (64’ Clayton Failla), Gareth Sciberras, Andrei Agius (80’ Joseph Zerafa), Paul Fenech (56‘Jamie Pace), Roderick Briffa, Michael Mifsud, Andrew Cohen (91’ Kevin Sammut), Shaun Bajada, Andre Schembri (85’ Ivan Woods).
Subs not used: Andrew Hogg, Edward Herrera.
Coach: John Buttigieg

SWITZERLAND Diego Benaglio, Stephan Lichsteiner, Reto Ziegler, Steve Von Bergen, Pirmin Schwegler (41’ Blerin Dzemaili), Gokhan Inler (73’ Gelson Fernandes), Alexander Frei (80’ David Degen), Hakan Yakin (46’ Marco Streller), Stephane Grichting (31’ Francois Affolter), Valentin Stocker (62’ Xherdan Shaqiri), Eren Derdiyok.
Subs not used: Marco Wofli.
Coach: Ottmar Hitzfeld

Referee: Marios Stamatis
Assistant Referees: Doros Touros, Stelios Nikita
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Von Bergen, Grichting, Mifsud, Schembri, Lichsteiner