Malta loses 1-3 to Italy Lega Pro in International Challenge Trophy

The Malta Under-23 side lost 1-3 to Italy Lega Pro in the first match from Group A of the International Challenge Trophy at the National Stadium on Wednesday. 
The visitors took a comfortable three-goal lead by the end of the first half. After the break, the Maltese side, under the guidance of coach Carmel Busuttil improved and had a number of shots at goal before reducing the gap.
Fabrizio Poli put Italy ahead after just eight minutes and Luca Scapuzzi doubled the score on 21 minutes.
Seven minutes from the end of the first half, the Italians were awarded a penalty which was converted by Marco Verratti.
On the restart, goalkeeper Fabio Gadignani performed a good save on Quelin Refalo. Then mid-way through the second half, Andrei Agius first and Ian Zammit later went close with powerful shots from outside the area. 
Malta scored a consolation goal through substitute Angus Buhagiar on 74 minutes.
Clayton Failla was also unlucky to hit the crossbar with a powerful shot from the left.
MALTA Matthew Felice, Steve Borg (46′ Justin Grioli), Andrei Agius, Tyrone Farrugia, Steve Bezzina, Edward Herrera (46′ Edmond Agius), Paul Fenech (46′ Dyson Falzon), Ryan Fenech, Clayton Failla (77′ Matthew Bartolo), Ian Zammit, Quelin Refalo (62′ Angus Buhagiar).
ITALY LEGA PRO Fabio Gadignani, Lorenzo Laverone (91′ Nicola Cintoi), Maikol Benassi, Oscar Branzani, Fabrizio Poli, Enrico Pezzi, Davide Bariti (66′ Paolo Campinoti), Francesco Giraldi, Luca Scapuzzi (69′ Stefano Giacomelli), Marco Verratti (59′ Mattia Lerda), Alessio Cristiani (64′ Simone Malacarne).
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant referees: Philip Agius and Ingmar Spiteri
Fourth official: Clayton Pisani
The next game for Malta is against Belgium on March 31 away from home before the final game against Romania at home on April 21.
The International Challenge Trophy is reserved for players under the age of 23 and taking part in the competition are eleven countries which were divided into three groups. England, Republic of Ireland and Estonia will play in Group B while Portugal, Poland, Wales and Northern Ireland were drawn in Group C. Group matches are played either home or away.