Stuttgart striker Cacau scored twice as Germany defeated Malta 3-0 in a friendly match at the Tivoli Stadion in Aachen on Thursday.
For Malta, this game was another important test ahead of the EURO 2012 qualifiers which get underway in September. On the other hand, for the Germans, this game was part of the team’s final preparation ahead of next month’s 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa.
Buttigieg started with goalkeeper Haber, central defenders Andrei Agius and Kenneth Scicluna together with Alex Muscat and Shaun Bajada on the flanks. Massimo Grima joined Jamie Pace as holding midfielder but the latter left the pitch injured after less than ten minutes. Roderick Briffa replaced him after starting the game on the right with substitute Trevor Cilia taking his role. Andrew Cohen an Ryan Fenech also started in midfield with Michael Mifsud as the only striker.
As expected, the Germans went out in search of an early goal. On the 4th, a low shot by Piotr Trochowski was parried by Haber. Two minutes later, Toni Kroos hit incredibly high following a cross by Andreas Beck. The Maltese replied with a good run by Micheal Mifsud but goalkeeper Manuel Neuer rushed to the edge of the area to anticipate him.
The Germans managed to take the lead on 16 minutes when off a cross by Sami Khedira from the left, with a perfect header Cacau placed the ball at the back of the net.
Ryan Fenech tried his luck with a low shot which was parried by Neuer on 18 minutes but four minutes later the Germans went close once again four minutes later with a first-time effort by Toni Kroos, following a cross by Cacau from the right, which was saved with particular difficulty by Haber.
Malta’s best chance occurred on the 28th with Andrew Cohen serving Roderick Briffa whose close-range shot was neutralised by the German keeper.
On the half hour, a header by Stefan Kiessling was parried by Haber following a cross from the right by Cacau and two minutes later, Cacau crossed from the left and Kiessling’s header was turned intoa corner by the Maltese custodian.
Another good move for the Germans occurred on 32 minutes when Kroos released Trochowski on the right but Podolski and Kiessling failed to connect.
Following a corner from the left on 42 minutes, Cacau tested Haber with a fine header. Beck sent an inviting cross for Kiessling but the latter hit high and just before half-time, Friedrich served the unmarked Kroos whose low shot was parried by Justin Haber.
After the break, the Germans continued where they had left and Friedrich had a powerful shot from theleft which was blocked into a corner by Haber.
Germany doubled the score on 58 minutes when substitute Kevin Grosskreutz released Podolski on the left and off the latter’s cross, Cacau hit past Haber.
Three minutes later, Kenneth Scicluna committed an own goal when he tried to clear the ball into safety following a cross from the left by Podolski.
Germany went close to increasing the lead further first with a header by Cacau and later with a powerful shot by Grosskreutz which ended just wide.
Haber managed to block a direct freekick by Trochowski on 87 mins and in added time, first a cross shot by the same player hit the crossbar and then Kiessling failed to connect off another cross by Trochowski.
GERMANY Martin Neuer, Arne Friedrich (72 Heiko Westermann), Serdar Tasci (47 Mats Hummels), Sami Khedira (72 Stefan Reinartz), Stefan Kiessling, Lukas Podolski, Piotr Trochowski, Toni Kroos (57 Kevin Grosskreutz), Cacau, Andreas Beck (57 Christian Trasch), Dennis Aogo (79 Jerome Boateng).
MALTA Justin Haber, Alex Muscat, Shaun Bajada, Massimo Grima (75 Ivan Woods), Andrei Agius, Ryan Fenech (66 Clayton Failla), Roderick Briffa, Michael Mifsud (83 Daniel Bogdanovic), Andrew Cohen, Kenneth Scicluna, Jamie Pace (9 Trevor Cilia)
Referee Alain Hamer (LUX)
Assistant referees Francois Mangen and Christian Holtgen (LUX)
Fourth official Markus Wingenbach (LUX)