Malta takes on Georgia in a friendly match at the Mikheil Meskhi Stadium in Tbilisi on Wednesday, kick-off at 18:00 CET. This clash should serve as a warm-up for Saturday’s EURO qualifier against Azerbaijan in Baku.
With Clayton Failla and Michael Mifsud ruled out injured, Ghedin opted for a number of new faces namely Ryan Camenzuli, Jurgen Pisani and Conor Borg. Steve Borg is back after missing the last three qualifiers against Norway, Italy and Bulgaria through suspension. Goalkeeper Henry Bonello also returns in squad after a one-year absence.
After the 1-1 draw in the EURO qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia, the Malta coach will take the opportunity to try new players or give different roles to others in preparation for the Azerbaijan clash. Although the result in a friendly match is not important, a positive result would continue to boost the morale ahead of the game in Baku.
The full squad at the disposal of coach Pietro Ghedin are:
goalkeepers Justin Haber (Birkirkara), Henry Bonello (Hibernians), Andrew Hogg (Kalloni);
defenders Andrei Agius (Hibernians), Steve Bezzina (Balzan), Steve Borg (Valletta), Jonathan Caruana (Valletta), Ryan Camenzuli (Birkirkara), Ryan Camilleri (Valletta), Jurgen Pisani (Pietà), Zach Muscat (Birkirkara);
midfielders Conor Borg (Floriana), Roderick Briffa (Valletta), Paul Fenech (Birkirkara), Ryan Fenech (Valletta), Bjorn Kristensen (Hibs), Rowen Muscat (Birkirkara), Steve Pisani (Floriana), Mark Scerri (Sliema);
forwards Andrew Cohen (Hibs), Alfred Effiong (Qormi), Jean Paul Farrugia (Hibs), Andre Schembri (Omonia Nicosia).
However Georgia will be all out to impress in their first outing under the guidance of new coach Kakha Tskhadadze who replaced Temuri Ketsbaia earlier this year. Among the players in the Georgian squad is former Valletta goalkeeper Nukri Revishvili.
The squad is made up of:
goalkeepers Giorgi Loria (OFI – Greece), Nukri Revishvili (Tosno – Russia), Mikheil Alavidze (Dinamo Batumi);
defenders Ucha Lobzhanidze (Omonia – Cyprus), Guram Kashia (Vitesse – Netherlands), Aleksandre Amisulashvili (Inter – Azerbaijan), Solomon Kvirkvelia (Rubin – Russia), Lasha Dvali (Kasimpasa – Turkey), Giorgi Navalovski (Tosno – Russia), Levan Kakubava (Samtredia);
midfielders Jaba Kankava (Dnipro – Ukraine), Tornike Okriashvili (Genk – Belgium), Valeri Kazaishvili (Vitesse – Netherlands), Levan Kenia (Slavia – Czech), Nika Dzalamidze (Jagiellonia – Poland), Jano Ananidze (Spartak – Russia), Sandro Kobakhidze (Volyn – Ukraine), Murtaz Daushvili (Karpaty – Ukraine), Giorgi Chanturia (Cluj – Romania), Kakha Makharadze (Pakhtakor – Uzbekistan);
forwards Levan Mchedlidze (Empoli – Italy), Bachana Tskhadadze (Inter – Azerbaijan), Mate Vatsadze (Aarhus – Denmark).
This will be the eighth clash between Malta and Georgia – the last one being the EURO qualifier at Ta’ Qali in September 2011 which ended in a 1-1 draw. Georgia won four, two ended in draws with the other clash ended in a 2-0 win for Malta in August 2009. In the two matches played on Georgian soil, a friendly match in July 1994 ended in a 1-1 draw while the EURO 2012 qualifier in October 2010 ended in a narrow 1-0 win for Georgia.