Nine-man Malta lost 1-5 to Scotland in the opening game from Group F of the European Qualifiers at the National Stadium on Sunday.
It was definitely a highly disappointing result for Malta considering that by the end of the first half, the boys in red were playing a good game and the score was still 1-1. However after Scotland regained the lead early in the second half, the controversial dismissal of Jonathan Caruana and a penalty on the hour allowed the Scottish side to go 3-1 ahead. This was the real turning point as from then onwards, the latter never looked back and added another two goals before Luke Gambin was sent off.
Malta coach Pietro Ghedin made one change to the team which held Estonia in a 1-1 draw on Wednesday as Ryan Scicluna replaced Clayton Failla. Andre Hogg started in goal with Steve Borg, Jonathan Caruana and Andrei Agius as the three central defenders, Ryan Scicluna and Joseph Zerafa on the flanks, Paul Fenech, Gareth Sciberras and Luke Gambin in midfield with Andre Schembri supporting Alfred Effiong in attack.
The visitors managed to take the lead on the 10th minute when Robert Snodgrass managed to surprise Hogg with a perfect lob from the right on the edge of the area.
However Malta restored equilibrium four minutes later when off an inviting cross by Gareth Sciberras, Alfred Effiong headed home in style past goalkeeper David Marshall.
On the 24th, Scotland missed a good opportunity when off a cross from the right by Callum Paterson, Robert Snodgrass’ close range header was neutralised by Hogg. Grant Hanley then headed the ball wide off a freekick by Matt Ritchie from the left on the 36th. Five minutes later, a diagonal shot from the left by Andrew Robertson scraped past the post.
Three minutes in the second half, Malta went close with a close-range effort by Andre Schembri, served from the left by Luke Gambin but goalkeeper David Marshall blocked his attempt.
Scotland regained the lead on the 53rd minute when off a cross from the left, Chris Martin slotted the ball past Hogg from close.
On the hour, Yevhen Aranovskiy ordered a penalty following what seemed a clean tackle by Jonathan Caruana on Chris Martin, sending off the Valletta defender. A controversial decision by the Ukranian referee which left the Maltese in ten men and allowed Scotland to move 3-1 ahead as Robert Snodgrass converted from the penalty spot.
The visitors extended the lead on the 78th when James Forrest served Matt Ritchie on the right and off the latter’s cross, Steven Fletcher headed the ball home.
Five minutes from time, Scotland added another when Fletcher advanced into the area and rounded the goalkeeper but his conclusion hit the crossbar but off the rebound, Robert Snodgrass hit the ball past the helpless Hogg.
But it was not over yet as on the 90th minute, Malta had a second player sent off as Luke Gambin was given marching orders by the referee for a late tackle in midfield.
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MALTA Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana, Joseph Zerafa, Gareth Sciberras, Andrei Agius, Paul Fenech, Luke Gambin, Andre Schembri (66′ Roderick Briffa), Steve Borg, Ryan Scicluna (78′ Ryan Camilleri), Alfred Effiong (89′ Michael Mifsud).
Coach: Pietro Ghedin
SCOTLAND David Marshall, Callum Paterson, Andrew Robertson, Martin Russell, Grant Hanley, Barry Bannan, Darren Fletcher, Oliver Burke (66′ James Forrest), Chris Martin (69′ Steven Fletcher), Robert Snodgrass, Matt Ritchie (86′ Ikechi Anya).
Coach: Gordon Strachan
Referee: Yevhen Aranovskiy (UKR)
Assistant Referees: Oleksandr Voytyuk, Serhiy Bekker (UKR)
Fourth Official: Anatolii Zhabchenko (UKR)
Yellow Cards: Fenech, Effiong
Red Cards: 59′ Caruana, 90′ Gambin
Well Done to Malta for being 1-1 at half time against the 2018 World Champions. 🙂
Jien ghalija rizultat giddieb…mhux ghax forsi ma konniex ha nitilfu xorta, imma meta referee jivvintalek penalty u jkeccilek player u tispicca 2 goals minn taht, il loghba ghaija spiccat hemm. Hasra ghax nemmen li konna qed natu wirja denja, specjalment id drabi li attakkajna konna perikoluzi. Fuq wara kellna xi amneziji u hlisniha hafif xi darbtejn fl ewwel taqsima. Imbaghad gara li gara.
Huwa dizappunt ghax nemmen li konna preparati mhux hazin ghal din ili loghba (forsi mhux fizikament, hemmhekk ghandna problema li ma nafx jekk qatt tistax tissolva) u apparti hekk il pubbliku wiehed bis shih ghas sejha ta’ l MFA. Kien hemm atmosfera tal-genn qabel il-partita. hasra li ma tantx ikollna minnhom dawn.
Zach muscat, rowen muscat, Clayton failla, rodrick briffa, Henry bonello, u sa certu punt Michael mifsud u zgur mhux fl 89 minute. Jista xhadd mil mfa ikollu id dicenza u jispjega ghaliex dawn lismijiet jithalew barra mil lewwel hdax ta team nazzjonali? Zgur u mhux forsi min jilghab minflokom muwiex ta listess kalibru. Sugeriment li pietro ghedin nahseb qijad jiskadi.
I cannot understand why such players like those you named were not on he pitch or if so were not playing full games…….very bad preparation
rizultat li jwegghek tarah. ghedin wasal biex jinbidel.
Nahseb qed inharsu wisq lejn ir rizultat iktar minn lejn KIF gie r rizultat. Hawn xi hadd li fi tmiem l-ewwel taqsima kien qieghed imaqdar l-ghazliet tal-kowc? Minix qieghed nghid li naqbel mad-decizjonijiet tieghu kollha, imma ejja nkunu realisti ukoll hux.
Qabel ma jkollna 20 player jilaghbu barra bhal Luke Gambin, ha nibqaw inbatu, specjalment fizikament u anke fil-‘hazen’ u l-‘kattiverja sportiva’ tal-loghba.
L-anqas jekk naghmlu lil Antonio Conte u lil Carlo Ancelotti flimkien xorta nibqaw nitilfu. Irridu niftakru li ahna gzejjer zaghar popolazzjoni daqs nofs Palermo.
Pero din hi kwistjoni ukoll ta mentalita. Irridu inkunu ipreparati psikologikament ghalmenu ma nohorgux b’mentalita ta telliefa fil ground.
Scotland won fair and square, but a lot of referee errors and red cards had occurred, Malta held Scotland firm until the 2nd half . Malta need more preparation for England match.
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