Malta seeks a third consecutive win as the boys led by Pietro Ghedin faces San Marino in a friendy match at the Stadio Olimpico in Serravalle on Tuesday, kick-off at 20:30.
In its last two outings, Malta registered two wins in two friendly matches, defeating Liechtenstein 2-1 at Ta’ Qali in February and then Luxembourg 2-0 at the Stade Josy Barthel in June. The team therefore aims at another positive result which would continue to boost the morale ahead of next month’s 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers against Armenia at Ta’ Qali on Friday 7 and Italy at the Stadio Alberto Braglia in Modena on Tuesday 11.
For this game, Ghedin, in his second game as Malta coach after taking his appointment earlier this year, will be having to make at least two changes due to the absence of Valletta defender Jonathan Caruana and Clayton Failla of Hibernians. The former is recovering from an injury while the latter is provisionally suspended by the association.
The only uncapped players in the squad are Ryan Camilleri of Hibernians and John Mintoff of Sliema Wanderers as Mosta defender Alex Cini, Adam Smeir of Rabat Ajax and Julian Galea of Melita failed to make it to the final squad. The other players to be dropped include Henry Bonello, Reuben Gauci, Edward Herrera, Ian Azzopardi, Dyson Falzon, Edmond Agius and Cleavon Frendo.
The only foreign-based players are goalkeeper Andrew Hogg who joined Enosis Neon Paralimni in Cyprus, Andrei Agius of Latina, Etienne Barbara of Vancouver Whitecaps while Andre Schembri is yet to join a new club after his contract with Panionios expired.
The squad is made up of:
goalkeepers Andrew Hogg (Enosis Neon Paralimini), Justin Haber (Mosta);
defenders Alex Muscat (Sliema), Andrei Agius (Latina), Luke Dimech (Mosta), Roderick Briffa (Valletta), Ryan Camilleri (Hibs), Steve Borg (Valletta);
midfielders Gareth Sciberras (Birkirkara), John Mintoff (Sliema), Paul Fenech (Birkirkara), Ryan Fenech (Valletta), Shaun Bajada (Valletta);
forwards Andre Schembri (unattached), Andrew Cohen (Hibs), Daniel Bogdanovic (Mosta), Etienne Barbara (Vancouver Whitecaps), Michael Mifsud (Valletta).
This will be the first ever clash between Malta and San Marino. The latter are coming from a long series of forty-five consecutive defeats and are currently ranked 206th. Their last win was a 1-0 victory over Liechtenstein in 2004
Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar