Three goals within the half-hour paved the way for Finland as they defeated Malta 5-0 in a friendly match at the Gloria Sports Arena in Belek, Turkey where they are holding a training camp and where they had earlier played a friendly against FYR Macedonia which ended in a goalless draw.
For Malta, this was the third consecutive defeat in a series of friendly matches leading to the UEFA Nations League commitments later this year. In three matches, Malta conceded nine goals and scored none.
Coach Tom Sainfiet made minimal changes from the team which lost narrowly to Luxembourg on Thursday as he replaced Paul Fenech and the injured Zach Muscat with Joseph Zerafa and Jean Paul Farrugia.
However the team disappointed during the first half as Finland went out in search of early goals and once again conceded goals in the dying minutes.
Malta is expected to play three friendly matches in May/June as the national squad will be conducting a training camp in Austria.
The hosts took the lead on the 13th when off a corner by Moshtagh Yaghoubi from the left, Kalle Taimi header the ball into the direction of Teemu Pukki whose header, aided by the upright, beat Andrew Hogg.
On the 23rd minute, Finland doubled the score when Hogg partially saved a powerful drive by Pukki and off the rebound, Yaghoubi’s cross from the left was deflected by the Malta custodian and Kalle Taimi hit hard past the helpless goalkeeper.
Finland scored the third goal on the 27th thanks to Teemu Pukki who received a perfect pass from the right by Robin Lod on the edge of the area and beat Hogg with a shot in the bottom left corner.
The first attempt at goal for Malta occurred on the 59th minute when a Luke Gambin conclusion from just outside the area scraped past the post.
However the Finnish continued to hold the initiative and six minutes from time scored the fourth goal thanks to Fredrik Jensen who scored from close range following a cross by Joona Toivio from the left.
Two minutes from time, Pyry Soiri added another as he tapped the ball home from close range following a cross by Jura Pirinen from the left.
FINLAND Jesse Joronen (46’ Anssi Jaakola), Kalle Taimi (82’ Joona Toivio), Paulus Arajuuri, Sauli Vasainen, Jere Uronen (62’ Juha Pirinen), Robin Lod (62′ Pyry Sori), Glen Kamara, Thomas Lam, Moshtagh Yaghoubi (46’ Robert Taylor), Teemu Pukki (77’ Akseli Pelvas), Fredrik Jensen.
MALTA Andrew Hogg, Cain Attard, Jean Borg, Steve Borg (72’ Michael Johnson), Andrei Agius, Steve Pisani (46’ Triston Caruana), Rowen Muscat (46’ Roderick Briffa), Luke Gambin, Joseph Zerafa (46’ Myles Beerman), Andre Schembri (62’ Alfred Effiong), Jean Paul Farrugia (46’ Michael Mifsud).
Referee: Husseyin Gocek (TUR)