A goal late in the first half gave Sweden a narrow win over Malta in a match from Group 2 of the UEFA Under-21 Championship Qualifying round at the Hibernians Stadium on Tuesday.
For Malta, this was the fourth defeat in seven matches. Sweden, on the other hand, join Slovenia on top of the table despite having a game in hand.
Malta coach Ray ‘Zazu’ Farrugia was unable to field his best formation due to the absence of Owen Bugeja, Mark Scerri, Triston Caruana and Leighton Grech.
Jiloan Hamad missed a good opportunity hitting high from the right on the 5th minute and then on the 18th, John Guidetti hit incredibly high from inside the area.
Malta goalkeeper Steve Sultana performed a good save on a close-range header by Samuel Armenteros off a cross by Rasmus Jonsson from the left.
Two minutes later, Sweden took the lead when off a Ajdarevic corner from the right, Jiloan Hamad placed the ball at the back of the net with a rising shot.
Malta replied with a long-distance shot by Miguel Ciantar who caught the Swedish goalkeeper out of place but his shot ended off target.
The visitors continued to hold the initiative after the break, going close with a Samuel Armenteros effort from outside the area but Sultana performed a good save.
Rowen Muscat then managed to score on 74 minutes but the goal was disallowed for an offside.
The Under-21 side will be in action once again in another match from Group 2 on June 1, facing Slovenia away from home.
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MALTA Steve Sultana, Luca Martinelli, Zach Muscat, Rowen Muscat, Terence Vella, Miguel
Ciantar (67’ Darren Falzon), Yessous Camilleri, Clyde Borg (46’ Dylan Grima), Bjorn Kristensen, Matthew Gauci, Stephen Pisani (76’ Jean Paul Farrugia).
SWEDEN Karl-Johan Johnsson, Johan Larsson, Pontus Jansson, Joseph Baffo, Miiko Albornoz,
Jiloan Hamad, Oscar Hiljemark, Astrit Ajdarevic, Rasmus Jönsson, John Guidetti, Samuel
Armenteros (82’ Sebastian Andersson).
Referee: Dawid Piasecki (POL)
Assistant referees: Maciej Wierzbowski (POL), Marcin Lis (POL)
Fourth official: Marcin Borski (POL)