The Malta Under-21 side conceded two late goals to lose 2-0 to Belgium at the FC ZD Oud-Heverlee Stadium in Louvain in another match from Group 1 of the UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifiers.
The team led by Silvio Vella managed to keep the group leaders at bay for long stretches but on the 73rd minute, Daniel Zerafa brought Baptiste Guillaume down inside the area; referee Fran Jović ordered a penalty and sent off the Tarxien defender with Youri Tielemans converting from the penalty spot.
Three minutes later, Julien De Sart doubled the score to secure the three points for Belgium who now move four points clear of second-placed Malta.
The next two games for Malta are against Montenegro and the Czech Republic in March 2016, both at home. In the four away matches, Malta collected five points in a win over Latvia and draws with Moldova and Montenegro.
BELGIUM Davy Roef, Thomas Foket, Leander Dendoncker, Michael Heylen, Joris Kayembe, Julien De Sart, Benito Raman, Youri Tielemans (81′ Timoty Castagne), Dennis Praet, Charly Musonda (72′ Tuur Dierckx), Obbi Oulare (64′ Baptiste Guillaume).
MALTA Matthew Calleja Cremona, Emanuel Briffa, Samuel Magri, Daniel Zerafa, Ryan Camenzuli, Luke Montebello (85′ Jurgen Degabriele), Kyle Cesare (87′ Terence Agius), Matthew Guillaumier, Joseph Mbong (82′ Brandon Muscat), Llywelyn Cremona, Cain Attard.
Referee: Fran Jović (CRO)