Malta lost 1-0 to Slovakia in a friendly match at the Štadión pod Dubňom in Žilina on Thursday in an important test for Pietro Ghedin’s side ahead of the first game from Group B of the EURO 2016 qualifiers against Croatia in Zagreb on Tuesday.
It was an only goal two minutes before the end of the first half which handed Slovakia victory.
Ghedin adopted a 3-5-2/5-3-2 formation with Hogg in goal, Caruana, Camilleri and Agius in defence, Borg and Failla on the flanks, Rowen Muscat, Paul Fenech and Ryan Fenech in midfield with Andre Schembri supporting Michael Michael in attack.
Birkirkara’s Ryan Scicluna and Zach Muscat made their debut as they were included as substitutes during the second half
Andrew Hogg came to the rescue for Malta performing a good save into a corner on a Miroslav Stoch freekick on the 17th minute. Malta replied with a Michael Mifsud effort neutralised by the Slovakian goalkeeper on the 26th.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, Slovakia took the lead when off a cross by Weiss from the right, Adam Nemec placed the ball at the back of the net from close range.
Twenty minutes in the second half, the hosts could have added another but Sylvestr’s header was turned into a corner by the Maltese custodian.
SLOVAKIA Matus Kozacik, Peter Pekarik, Norbert Gyomber, Jan Durica, Tomas Hubocan (73′ Michal Breznanik), Viktor Pecovsky, Filip Kiss (85′ Karim Guede), Vladimir Weiss (62′ Stanislav Sestak), Marek Hamsik (73′ Michal Duris), Miroslav Stoch (62′ Robert Mak), Adam Nemec (62′ Jakub Sylvestr).
MALTA Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg (66′ Steve Bezzina), Andrei Agius (46′ Zach Muscat), Ryan Fenech (63′ Bjorn Kristensen), Clayton Failla (84′ Edward Herrera), Paul Fenech (87′ Ryan Scicluna), Michael Mifsud, Andrè Schembri (78′ Andrew Cohen), Rowen Muscat, Ryan Camilleri.
Referee: Miroslav Zelinka (CZE)
Assistant Referees: Ondrej Pelikan, Antonin Kordula (CZE)
Fourth Official: Jan Valasek (SVK)