Malta takes on Gibraltar in friendly match in Faro

malta-in-gibraltar-03062014pzcMalta continues its preparation ahead of the EURO 2016 qualifiers as it faces Gibraltar in a friendly match at the Estadio Algarve in Faro, Portugal on Wednesday, kick-off at 19:00.

After concluding its FIFA World Cup qualifiers at the bottom of Group B with three points from ten matches, Malta played two friendly matches – defeating the Faroe Islands 3-2 at Ta’ Qali in November, losing 2-0 to Albania in Durres in March. This game against Gibraltar will therefore be the penultimate test for Pietro Ghedin’s side as Malta will be playing another friendly match on September 4 against Slovakia away from home before the first EURO 2016 qualifier against Croatia in Zagreb on September 9.

malta-in-gibraltar03062014pzcGhedin, who is now assisted by Ray Farrugia as assistant coach, is expected to take the opportunity to try the new faces in the squad, namely Under-21 internationals Steve Pisani and Jean Paul Farrugia apart from Bjorn Kristensen who was included as a substitute in the friendly match against Albania in March.

Although the Valletta players are back after missing the game in Durres, not all players are at the disposal of the Malta coach since Gareth Sciberras withdrew from the squad. Edward Herrera, who was included as a substitute, and Steve Bezzina, who had started the game, are not in the squad which travelled to Portugal.

Photos: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar

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The players selected by Ghedin are:
goalkeepers Justin Haber (Birkirkara), Andrew Hogg (Kalloni);
defenders Andrei Agius (Aprilia), Steve Borg (Valletta), Ryan Camilleri (Hibs), Jonathan Caruana (Valletta), Clayton Failla (Hibs), Alex Muscat (Sliema);
midfielders Shaun Bajada (Valletta), Roderick Briffa (Valletta), Paul Fenech (Birkirkara), Ryan Fenech (Valletta), Bjorn Kristensen (Hibs), John Mintoff (Sliema), Rowen Muscat (Birkirkara), Steve Pisani (Floriana), Andre Schembri (FSV Frankfurt);
forwards Michael Mifsud (unattached), Jean Paul Farrugia (Hibs), Terence Vella (Birkirkara).

For Gibraltar, this will be the fifth international friendly match since they were granted full UEFA membership in May 2013.

In their first outing, they held Slovakia in a goalless draw in Faro, Portugal last November. Gibraltar then lost 1-4 to the Faroe Islands and 0-2 to Estonia at the Victoria Stadium in Gibraltar in March but last week, they held Estonia in a 1-1 draw in Tallinn.

Coach Allen Bula named the following players for this friendly match:
goalkeepers Jordan Perez (Lincoln), Jamie Robba (Lynx), Louie Barnfather Marfe (Evesham);
defenders Roy Chipolina (Lincoln), Ryan Casciaro (Lincoln), David Artell (Wrexham), Matthew Reoch (Manchester 62), Joseph Chipolina (Lincoln), Erin Barnett (Lions);
midfielders Liam Walker (Bnei Yehuda Tel Aviv), Anthony Bardon (Manchester 62), Jeremy Lopez (Manchester 62), Jake Gosling (Gloucester), Anthony Hernandez (Cadiz), Tyson Ruiz (Lynx), Scott Ballantine (Manchester 62);
forwards Adam Priestly (Farsley), Kyle Casciaro (Lincoln), John Paul Duarte (Lincoln), George Cabrerra (Lincoln).

The venue to host this game is Estadio Algarve which will be Gibraltar’s home-ground for the coming months and years until the proposed Europa Point Stadium will be built in Gibraltar.

Photos: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar

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