Malta disappoints as Gibraltar register historic first win

gibraltar-malta140604-pzcAfter two draws and two defeats in their first four matches since they were approved as full UEFA members in May last year, Gibraltar registered their first ever win, defeating Malta 1-0 at the Estadio Algarve in Faro, Portugal which will be Gibraltar’s home-ground for the coming EURO 2016 qualifiers.

For Malta, this was a disappointing result in the penultimate test for Pietro Ghedin’s side ahead of the first EURO 2016 qualifier against Croatia on September 9. Four days earlier, Malta plays a friendly match against Slovakia away from home.

Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar

Ghedin made five changes from the team which lost 2-0 to Albania in Durres last March as Valletta’s Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Ryan Fenech and Roderick Briffa together with Birkirkara’s Rowen Muscat were all-named in the starting line-up. Steve Borg was making his return for the national team after almost two years due to a long-term injury.

The hosts had the first attempt at goal with Kyle Casciaro concluding a good run on the right with a low shot which was neutralised by Andrew Hogg on the 7th minute. Malta replied with a half-volley by Rowen Muscat, off a cross from the right by Michael Mifsud, which however ending wide.

Gibraltar held the initiative for most of the first half but Andre Schembri went close for Malta with a header towards the end.

On 62 minutes, Roderick Briffa was unlucky not to put Malta ahead as his fine effort hit the crossbar with goalkeeper Jordan Perez completely beaten.

Two minutes later, Gibraltar managed to take the lead through Kyle Casciaro who managed to flick the ball home from close range following a header by Joe Chipolina who received the ball from an erratic clearance by a defender.

Andrei Agius came to the rescue halting a fine run by Kyle Casciaro just outside the area on 82 minutes and from the resulting freekick, Liam Walker almost doubled the score with the ball ending just wide.

On the other side of the pitch, Jean Paul Farrugia headed just wide off a Michael Mifsud corner from the left.

Three minutes from time, Kyle Casciaro brought the best out of Andrew Hogg with a fine volley from the left which was saved in two attempts by the Malta custodian.

Photos: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar

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GIBRALTAR Jordan Perez (83′ Jamie Robba), David Artell, Joseph Chipolina, Roy Chipolina, Ryan Casciaro, Kyle Casciaro (89′ John Paul Duarte), Liam Walker, Jake Gosling, Juan Carlos Garcia (94′ Anthony Hernandez), Anthony Bardon (19′ John Jack Sergeant), George Cabrerra (59′ Adam Priestley).

MALTA Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana (62′ Ryan Camilleri), Steve Borg, Andrei Agius, Ryan Fenech (59′ Terence Vella), Clayton Failla (77′ Shaun Bajada), Paul Fenech, Michael Mifsud, Roderick Briffa, Rowen Muscat, Andre Schembri (74′ Jean Paul Farrugia).

Referee: Joao Carlos Santos Capela (POR)