Malta registered a narrow 2-1 win over the Central African Republic in a friendly match at the National Stadium on Wednesday. This game formed part of the national team’s preparation ahead of the two EURO 2012 qualifiers at home against Croatia and Georgia in programme next month.
Although ranked much higher than Malta – 89th compared to Malta’s 173rd place in the FIFA Ranking, the team from the Central African Republic, whose players are mostly based in Europe, never looked superior to the locals throughout the ninety minutes and the only real attempt at goal was the goal with which they notched the temporary equaliser.
Malta could not have a better start when Michael Mifsud was brought down inside the area by goalkeeper Emmanuel Yezzoat and from the penalty spot, the Valletta striker put the locals ahead.
A conclusion by Andrew Cohen from outside the area ended just wide on the 3rd minute and on the 9th, Manasse Enza-Yamissi came to the rescue, clearing the ball into a corner before Andre Schembri could conclude from inside the area.
Malta went close on 23 minutes with a good move by Daniel Bogdanovic but there was no one to connect off his final pass from the right. A minute later, Mifsud tried his luck with a shot from outside the area ending wide.
The Africans levelled matters on 25 minutes when David Manga concluded a good move on the right flank with a perfect pass for Hilaire Momi who slotted the ball past Hogg from close range.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, Malta regained the lead when Ryan Fenech sent Michael Mifsud through and the latter slotted past the Central African goalkeeper.
The two teams shared the exchanges for most of the second half but five minutes from the end, following a cross by Christian Caruana from the left, Emmanuel Yezzoat stopped Michael Mifsud from concluding and off the rebound, Andrew Cohen’s powerful drive was cleared off the goal line by Kogui-Souchan.
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MALTA Andrew Hogg (46’ Justin Haber), Jonathan Caruana, Gareth Sciberras, Andrei Agius, Ryan Fenech, Daniel Bogdanovic (46’ Jamie Pace), Roderick Briffa, Michael Mifsud, Andrew Cohen (90’ Trevor Cilia), Clayton Failla (73’ Carlo Mamo), Andre Schembri (55’ Christian Caruana).
Subs not used: Edward Herrera, Joseph Zerafa.
Coach: John Buttigieg
CENTRAL AFRICAN REP. Emmanuel Yezzoat, Foxi Kéthévoama, Franklin Anzité, Manassé Enza-Yamissi, Romaric Lignanzi, Fernand Onassis Kemo (65’ Marco Gbarsin), David Manga, Odin Boltoli (78’ Fernander Kassaï), Serge Kogui-Souchan, Armel Kazangba (55’ Norton Nze), Hilaire Momi.
Subs not used: Herve Eric Loungounaj, Karl Kaimba.
Coach: Jules Accorsi
Referee: Tolga Ozkalfa (TUR)
Assistant referees: Baki Tuncay Akkin, Emre Eyisoy (TUR)
Fourth official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: Yezzoat, Bolitoli, Cohen, Caruana, Sciberras, Mamo, Lignanzi
Scorers: 2’ Michael Mifsud (pen), 25’ Hilaire Momi, 43’ Michael Mifsud