The Malta Under-19 side led by coach David Nascimento lost 1-3 to Israel in the first match from Group 6 of the UEFA Under-19 Championship Qualifying Round mini-tournament at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Tuesday.
Malta had a fine start, taking the lead on the 15th minute thanks to a penalty by Jake Grech. However two minutes later, Malta goalkeeper Jamie Azzopardi was sent off by Irish referee Neil Doyle and the Israeli took full advantage to turn the score in their favour with a brace by Anas Mahamid eight minutes from the end of the first half and three minutes in the second half.
Israel also had a player sent off a few minutes after going ahead but they still managed to increase the lead on the 94th minute thanks to Ibrahim Sfuri.
Malta will be facing Denmark in the second game on Thursday at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, kick-off at 14:45. Denmark shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw with Iceland in another match on Tuesday.
MALTA Jamie Azzopardi, Daniel Buckle, Jean Borg, Nicholas Pulis (53′ Kyrian Nwoko), Connor Zammit (79′ Jacob Walker), Matthew Guillaumier, Aidan Friggieri, Jake Grech, Zachary Brincat (19′ Timothy Aquilina), Juan Corbolan, Joseph Mbong.
ISRAEL Haviv Ohayon, Shay Pinhas Ben David, Erez Isakov (46′ Idan Nachmias), Roy Yedidia Dayan, Anas Mahamid (79′ Ibrahim Sfuri), Idan Adneneny, Eylon Yerushalmi (53′ Itzik Shoolmaister), Dor Galili, Ofek Marom, Noam Gamoun, Eden Hershkovich.
Referee: Neil Doyle (IRL)