Heavy defeat for Under-21 side

The Malta Under-21 side lost 0-5 to B Italia – the Italian Serie B Under-21 side – in a friendly match at the Hibernians Stadium on Tuesday. A friendly match which gave coach Ray ‘Zazu’ Farrugia the opportunity to teat his players ahead of the next UEFA Under -21 Championship qualifying campaign.

New faces in the squad included Ayrton Azzopardi of Hibernians after his recent senior national team call-up.

Photos: Copyright © domenic aquilina/MFA

The visitors created the first serious goal-scoring opportunity on the 20th with Giorgio Capece hitting the crossbar.

Malta went close with a Ryan Camenzuli freekick on 21 minutes which was deflected into a corner by Rosania and off the resulting corner, Camenzuli went close once again with a shot from the right which was unfortunately blocked by Camilleri. Bjorn Kristensen then served Terence Vella on the right but the latter’s conclusion was blocked by Brosco into a corner on 26 minutes.

The Italian Serie B side managed to break the deadlock on 27 minutes thanks to a low shot by Simone Zaza which beat goalkeeper Steve Sultana.

On the half-hour, Terence Vella tried his luck with a shot from outside the area which was parried by goalkeeper Iacobucci.

However the Italians doubled the score four minutes from the end of the first half when off a Daniele Baselli freekick, Riccardo Brosco headed the ball home from close range.

Just before half-time, Camenzuli concluded a good move with a shot from outside the area which was saved by the Italian goalkeeper. A header by Zaza was then blocked into a corner by Sultana.

The visitors kept pushing for more, going close with a fierce shot by Capece and another shot from outside the area by Pucciarelli.

Substitute Pietro Iemmello scored the third goal on 59 minutes with a rising shot from outside the area, possibly slightly deflected by a defender, beating goalkeeper Daniel Balzan.

Manuel Pucciarelli hit the crossbar for Italy on 73 minutes with a shot from inside the area. malta replied with a Daren Falzon freekick which was blocked by a defender and off the rebound, the Naxxar striker’s effort ended just wide. A minute later, Rowen Muscat had a fine shot ending just wide.

Manuel Giandonato scored a fourth goal six minutes from time with a direct freekcik from the left which gave goalkeeper Balzan no chance.

But the game was not over yet as another substitute, Riccardo Improta, beat the Malta goalkeeper with a conclusion from the right for the Italians’ fifth goal.

On the 90th, Daniel Balzan stopped Italy from increasing the lead further turning into a corner a freekick by Iemmello.

Photos: Copyright © domenic aquilina/MFA

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MALTA Steve Sultana (46′ Daniel Balzan), Ryan Camenzuli (71′ Johann Bezzina), Zach Muscat, Owen Bugeja (15′ Luca Martinelli), Rowen Muscat, Steve Pisani (62′ Daren Falzon), Terence Vella, Ayrton Azzopardi (46′ Matthew Gauci), Yessous Camilleri, Clyde Borg (46′ Lydon Micallef), Bjorn Kristensen.
Coach: Ray Farrugia
B ITALIA Alessandro Iacobucci (46′ Alessandro Berardi), Luca Ghiringhelli, Andrea De Vito (46′ Filippo Minarini), Giorgio Capece, Riccardo Brosco, Daniele Rosania (46′ Biagio Meccariello), Manuel Pucciarelli, Daniele Baselli (46′ Manuel Giandonato), Simone Zaza (46′ Pietro Iemmello), Alessandro De Vitis (51′ Riccardo Improta), Stefano Pettinari.
Coach: Massimo Piscedda
Referee: Christos Nicolaides (CYP)
Assistant Referees: Sotiris Viktoros, Marios Demetriades (CYP)
Fourth official: Chris Lautier