Malta faces Luxembourg in friendly match this evening

Malta faces Luxembourg in a friendly match at the Josy Barthel Stadium in Luxembourg on Saturday, kick-off at 17:00 in the game which marks the debut, or rather the return, of Italian coach Pietro Ghedin as Malta national coach.

In view of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Ghedin opted for some new faces in the squad including Cleavon Frendo who returns to the national team after a long absence after being dropped from the squad in January 2010.

Sliema Wanderers goalkeeper Henry Bonello, Hibernians defenders Ryan Camilleri and Edward Herrera, Birkirkara midfielder Shaun Bajada, Sliema’s John Mintoff and Melita’s Julian Galea failed to make it the final squad. He also left out Luke Dimech who plays for AEK Larnaca, Etienne Barbara of Vancouver Whitecaps and Maltese Australian duo John Hutchinson and Manny Muscat.

The players at his disposal are:
goalkeepers Andrew Hogg (Valletta), Justin Haber (unattached);
defenders Andrei Agius (Latina – ITA), Steve Borg (Valletta), Jonathan Caruana (Valletta), Alex Muscat (Sliema), Joseph Zerafa (Birkirkara);
midfielders Edmond Agius (Valletta), Roderick Briffa (Valletta), Clayton Failla (Hibs), Dyson Falzon (Valletta), Paul Fenech (Birkirkara), Gareth Sciberras (Birkirkara);
forwards Daniel Bogdanovic (unattached), Andrew Cohen (Hibs), Cleavon Frendo (Valletta), Michael Mifsud (Valletta), Andre Schembri (Panionios – GRE).

Malta lost the two final EURO 2012 qualifiers against Latvia away from home and Israel at home 2-0 in October last year. In a friendly match in February, under the guidance of caretaker coach Robert Gatt, Malta defeated Liechtenstein 2-1.

Under the guidance of Pietro Ghedin, between 1993 and 1995, the two teams met twice in two European Championship qualifiers with Luxembourg winning 1-0 both at Ta’ Qali and at home. Two friendly matches in 1970 and 2003 ended in 1-1 draws.

After suffering a heavy 5-0 defeat to Bosnia Herzegovina in their final EURO 2012 qualifier, Luxembourg played two friendly matches at home, losing 0-1 to Switzerland and beating FYR Macedonia 2-1.

Luxembourg were due to play against Italy but the game was called off due to the earthquake in Reggio Emilia, will be doing their best to obtain a positive result in front of their supporters.

Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar

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