Malta loses 2-0 in Hampden Park

Scotland scored a goal early in the first half and another early in the second half to beat Malta 2-0 at Hampden Park in a match from Group F of the European Qualifiers leading to the 2018 FIFA World Cup. A win which puts Gordon Strachan’s side in joint-third place with Slovenia on 14 points, one behind second-placed Slovakia.

The Maltese rear-guard was under constant siege in the opening minutes with Scotland taking a well-deserved lead. Eventually the boys in red improved and it was only in the beginning of the second half that the hosts managed to score the second goal to seal the issue and secure the three points.

Malta coach Pietro Ghedin made only one change to the team which lost 0-4 to England as he named the returning Alfred Effiong in the starting line-up with Jean Paul Farrugia starting on the bench. Hogg started in goal with Magri, Agius and Muscat as central defenders, Borg and Zerafa on the flanks, Pisani, Kristensen and Ryan Fenech in midfield with Schembri supporting Effiong in attack.

The first attempt at goal occurred after just five minutes with Stuart Armstrong’s low shot ending just wide. Two minutes later, James McArthur had a shot from the edge of the area blocked by Zach Muscat. A James Forrest effort was deflected into a corner on the 8th minute.

Scotland maintained the pressure and Andy Robertson had a diagonal shot from the left deflected into another corner and from the resulting corner by Leigh Griffiths, Christophe Berra headed home from close range to put the hosts ahead on the 9th minute.

Scotland continued to hold the initiative but the Maltese started to gain confidence and venture out of their half-pitch but goalkeeper Craig Gordon remained untested.

Four minutes in the second half, Scotland doubled the score when off a cross by Robertson from the left, Armstrong was unlucky to hit the foot of the upright with Leigh Griffiths tapping home from close range.

James Forrest, served by Phillips had a shot from outside the area deflected into a corner by Hogg six minutes later. The Malta goalkeeper then neutralised a Griffiths effort from the right.

Malta went close to reducing the gap on the 76th minute when Joseph Zerafa’s angled shot from the left was blocked and off the rebound, Alfred Effiong’s effort was saved in two attempts by the Scottish custodian.

The hosts threatened with an Armstrong effort from outside the area but Hogg performed a good save four minutes from time. Three minutes later, Matthew Phillips concluded a good run on the left with a rising shot which ended just over the bar.

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SCOTLAND Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Andy Robertson, Christophe Berra, Charlie Mulgrew (56′ Grant Hanley), James McArthur (46′ James Morrison), Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown, Leigh Griffiths (70′ Chris Martin), Matthew Philipps, James Forrest.

MALTA Andrew Hogg, Sam Magri, Steve Borg (86′ Alex Muscat), Andrei Agius, Ryan Fenech, Andre Schembri (71′ Luke Gambin), Zach Muscat, Bjorn Kristensen (85′ Paul Fenech), Joseph Zerafa, Alfred Effiong, Steve Pisani.

Referee: Jakob Kehlet (DEN)
Assistant Referees: Henri Larsen, Heine Sorensen (DEN)
Fourth Official: Michael Tykgaard (DEN)
Attendance: 26,371

5 comments
  1. Jekk ha nibqaw b din il mentalita’ rinuncjatarja li mohhna biss biex ma naqlawx il goals (biex xorta naqlawhom) m ahna qatt ha niksbu rizultati.

    L iktar haga li tinkeetani hija li wara t tazza tadvdinja jibda n natiins league fejn ha nilaghbu kobtra timijiet ta moarna u ma jidher li qieghed isir xejn bi preparazzjoni ghal dawn il loghob fejn, fuq il karta ghandna iktar cans ghal xi rizultati ta sodisfazzjoni.

    MFA please take note

    • Seventh straight loss with one goal and no points
      No excuses needed
      Iceland has developed with lesser resources and an even smaller population
      Time to shed the colonial mentality
      Malta needs to limit the foreign players allowed to play on a premier league team to 5
      Only the foreign players who earn more than the local players but still earn pathetic wages are ruining the development of the national team
      The strikers in the Malta national team are either from the Michael Mifsud era or non existent
      Local talent in Malta is now stagnant due to no experience in the face of overwhelming foreign players in the premier league
      Bright hopes like Beerman are not even used although he is playing for Rangers
      Malta does not need a defeatist mentality coach from Italy
      All Ghedin does is put 11behind the ball and hope for limited damage
      If we are going to stack 11behind the ball from the kickoff and defend all game why have strikers
      Schembri should be the new Player Coach and his attitude should be the new way forward
      Send Ghedin packing- he’s obviously on vacation with this
      Ghedin has proven only one thing-he is of no use to Malta
      Malta can lose seven straight games and score only one without a foreign coach
      Sad to watch without being angry

      If Magri had talent he would be playing for England not Ebbsfleet utd
      Not really Maltese -not wearing the shirt with pride..

  2. @cardona, I totally agree with your comment… not to mention the 14 team league! That will surely help the upcoming Maltese players…

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