Malta faces Bulgaria in friendly match

Three players could make their debut for Malta as the boys in red take on Bulgaria in a friendly match on Wednesday at the Hibernians Ground, kick-off at 19:00.
This will be the first game for the national team after ending its commitments at the bottom of Group 1 in the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying round. Malta now awaits the draws for the EURO 2012 qualifying campaign which will be held in February and this game together with other friendly matches which are scheduled for next year should play an important role in the team’s preparation for these qualifiers.
Since John Buttigieg took over as national coach, Malta played five matches. Following a 2-0 win over Georgia, Malta lost 0-2 to Cape Verde in a friendly match before suffering a narrow 0-1 defeat to Sweden. In October, Malta lost 2-1 to Angola in another friendly match before the final qualifier against Portugal which Malta lost 4-0. 
The Malta coach is now expected to test new players ahead of next year’s competitive matches. The squad for the game against Bulgaria includes three uncapped players, namely flank defenders Steve Bezzina and Edward Herrera of Valletta and Hibernians respectively together with Birkirkara midfielder Paul Fenech. Barnsley striker Daniel Bogdanovic will be making his first appearance for the national team since the appointment of John Buttigieg as coach while Cassino central defender Andrei Agius returns after being left out of the squad for the trip to Portugal.
The eighteen players selected by Buttigieg and Busuttil are:
goalkeepers Andrew Hogg (Valletta), Mario Muscat (Hibernians);
defenders Andrei Agius (SS Cassino Calcio), Shaun Bajada (Birkirkara), Steve Bezzina (Valletta), Edward Herrera (Hibernians), Brian Said (Floriana), Aaron Xuereb (Hibernians);
midfielders Gilbert Agius (Valletta), Roderick Briffa (Valletta), Clayton Failla (Sliema), Ryan Fenech (Sliema), Paul Fenech (Birkirkara), Jamie Pace (Valletta), Kevin Sammut (Valletta);
forwards Daniel Bogdanovic (Barnsley), Michael Mifsud (unattached), Ivan Woods (Sliema).
The Bulgarian includes some of the top Bulgarian players including Manchester United striker Dimitar Berbatov, Aston Villa midfielder Stiliyan Petrov and Parma striker Valeri Bojinov. Manchester City winger Martin Petrov was ruled out as he suffered an injury in training.
The players selected by head coach Stanimir Stoilov are:
goalkeepers Dimitar Ivankov (Bursaspor), Nikolay Mihaylov (Twente)
defenders Plamen Nikolov (Litex Lovech), Stanislav Manolev (PSV), Veselin Minev (Levski Sofia), Ivan Bandalovski (Lokomotiv Sofia), Zhivko Milanov (Levski Sofia), Ivo Ivanov (Beroe Stara Zagora)
midfielders Stanislav Angelov (Energie Cottbus), Blagoy Georgiev (Terek Grozny), Stiliyan Petrov (Aston Villa), Georgi Sarmov (Levski Sofia), Chavdar Yankov (Duisburg)
forwards Dimitar Berbatov (Man Utd), Valeri Bozhinov (Parma), Valeri Domovchiyski (Hertha Berlin), Dimitar Rangelov (Borussia Dortmund), Ivan Stoyanov (CSKA Sofia).
Bulgaria finished third in Group 8 of the 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, behind Italy and Ireland. They won three matches, drew five and lost two. 
This will be the eighth clash between Malta and Bulgaria with the latter winning six of the games. The other two games ended in draws. In December 1982, Malta and Bulgaria shared the spoils in a goalless draw – the first international match played at Ta’ Qali. In 2005, Malta held Bulgaria in a 1-1 draw at Ta’ Qali in the 2006 World Cup qualifiers. 
Malta vs Bulgaria will be controlled by Dutch referee Sab Nijhuis who will be assisted by Maltese officials – assistant referees Konrad Borg and Alan Camilleri and fourth official Clayton Pisani.
Tickets will be available at the door for €8 for males and €4 for women, children and senior citizens.