Johann Bezzina joins squad for Lithuania clash as Kristensen, Mifsud and Farrugia pull out

Hibernians midfielder Johann Bezzina has been called up to the Malta squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F qualifier against Lithuania at the National Stadium on Thursday. Bezzina has replaced fellow Hibs midfielder Bjorn Kristensen who pulled out of the squad on Tuesday evening due to injury.

Kristensen, who started Malta’s last two games against England and Scotland, is one of three players whose hopes of featuring in the last two Group F qualifiers, against Lithuania on Thursday and away to Slovakia on Sunday, have been scuppered by injury after the loss of veteran striker Michael Mifsud and FC Chiasso forward Jean Paul Farrugia.

With Balzan FC midfielder Ryan Fenech also ruled out through suspension, Ghedin has opted to increase his midfield options with the addition of Bezzina. The 23-year-old Hibs player made his debut in the 1-0 win over Ukraine in a warm-up played last June in Graz.

Ghedin has retained uncapped Ħamrun Spartans trio Lydon Micallef, Daniel Zerafa and Siraj Arab but goalkeeper Steve Sultana has not made the cut.

Photos: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar

Goalkeepers: Henry Bonello (Valletta); Andrew Hogg (Hibernians.
Defenders: Andrei Agius (Hibernians); Cain Attard (Birkirkara); Steve Borg (Valletta); Ryan Camilleri (Valletta); Clayton Failla (Hibernians); Sam Magri (Ebbsfleet United, England); Zach Muscat (US Arezzo, Italy); Daniel Zerafa (Ħamrun Spartans); Joseph Zerafa (Valletta FC).
Midfielders: Clyde Borg (Floriana); Paul Fenech (Balzan); Luke Gambin (Luton Town, England); Steve Pisani (Floriana); Johann Bezzina (Hibernians).
Forwards: Siraj Arab (Ħamrun Spartans); Alfred Effiong (Balzan); Lydon Micallef (Ħamrun Spartans); Andrè Schembri (Apollon Limassol, Cyprus).