The Malta Under-21 side hosts Montenegro at the Hibernians Stadium on Wednesday, kick-off at 18:00, in the first of two home UEFA Under-21 qualifiers in a week.
Led by coach Silvio Vella, the team had a positive start to its campaign after collecting five points from four matches away from home. Following a draw with Moldova in Chisinau, Malta beat Latvia 2-1 in Liepaja. Malta then lost 4-1 to the Czech Republic in Jablonec nad Nisou and following a goalless draw with Montenegro in Podgorica, Malta lost 2-0 to Belgium in Louvain. The Czech Republic lead the way in the group with 11 points from five matches followed by Belgium on nine from four matches.
Like Malta, Montenegro played five matches so far. They defeated Moldova 1-0 at home but then lost 1-0 to the same team in Orhei. Three draws followed – 0-0 with Malta, 3-3 away from home to the Czech Republic and a 3-3 draw at home with Latvia. Montenegro lie in third place, one point ahead of Malta.
A positive result against Montenegro would enable Silvio Vella’s side establish a record as the Malta Under-21 side never managed to go beyond the five-point mark in the UEFA Under-21 qualifiers.
For this game, Malta Under-21 coach Silvio Vella could not count on the suspended Daniel Zerafa. However Manuel Briffa of Floriana, Ryan Camenzuli of Birkirkara, Llywelyn Cremona of Valletta and Luke Montebello of Tarxien are part of the squad after being part of the senior squad in last November’s friendly match against Jordan.
The full squad is made up of:
goalkeepers Jurgen Borg (Hibernians), Matthew Calleja Cremona (Floriana), Yenz Cini (Mosta)
defenders Samir Arab (Balzan), Cain Attard (Birkirkara), Emanuel Briffa (Floriana), Michael Johnson (St. Andrews), Samuel Magri (Dover Athletic), Karl Micallef (Pietà Hotspurs), Brandon Muscat (Tarxien Rainbows), Daniel Zerafa (Tarxien Rainbows)
midfielders Johann Bezzina (Sliema Wanderers), James Brincat (Mosta), Jake Grech (Hamrun Spartans), Ryan Camenzuli (Birkirkara), Kyle Cesare (Pietà Hotspurs), Llywelyn Cremona (Valletta), Matthew Guillaumier (Birkirkara)
forwards Siraj Eddin Arab (Pembroke), Jurgen Degabriele (Hibernians), Joseph Mbong (Hibernians), Luke Montebello (Tarxien Rainbows)