Ryan Fenech in, Zach Muscat out for Slovakia clash

Midfielder Ryan Fenech has replaced defender Zach Muscat in the only change in the Malta squad for Sunday’s closing 2018 World Cup Group F qualifier against Slovakia in Trnava.

Muscat, who plays for Italian Lega Pro club Arezzo, is out of the equation as he is suspended after receiving a yellow card in the 1-1 home draw against Lithuania – his second of the competition. On the other hand, Fenech returns to the fray after suspension kept him out of Thursday’s qualifier at the National Stadium.

Malta coach Pietro Ghedin has otherwise retained the same squad with captain Andrè Schembri expected to recover after an aerial duel left him with a head wound which forced him off at half-time. Forwards Michael Mifsud and Jean Paul Farrugia, and midfielder Bjorn Kristensen are not part of the contingent that flew out to Vienna en route to the Slovakian town of Trnava as they are sidelined with injuries.

The Malta squad arrived in Trnava late in the morning.

Malta are bracing themselves for a very difficult match against Slovakia who need a win to have any chance of finishing second behind England in Group F. On Thursday, Slovakia’s hopes suffered a blow as they lost 1-0 away to fellow challenger Scotland who have moved up to second place on 17 points, two more than the Slovaks.

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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); Daniel Zerafa (Ħamrun Spartans); Joseph Zerafa (Valletta FC).
Midfielders: Clyde Borg (Floriana); Paul Fenech (Balzan); Ryan 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).