Late penalty upsets Malta

A penalty one minute from time handed Georgia a narrow win over Malta in a friendly match at the Silberstadt Arena in Schwaz, Austria on Friday. A friendly match which brought to an end a training camp for the team led by Ray Farrugia ahead of the UEFA Nations League Group D3 commitments against the Faroe Islands, Azerbaijan and Kosovo.

All in all, the team showed some improvement in these two matches compared to the previous three friendly matches against Estonia, Luxembourg and Finland, also considering the fact that a number of players failed to make the trip to Austria including foreign-based Sam Magri, Zach Muscat, Andre Schembri and Jean Paul Farrugia as they were all ruled out injured.

Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar

On Friday, Georgia played better football during the first half and during the second half, Malta shared the exchanges with their opponents but failed to take advantage of the dismissal of a Georgia player early in the second half, conceding a goal in the dying minutes.

Malta coach Ray Farrugia made four changes from the team which drew with Armenia on Tuesday as Henry Bonello replaced Andrew Hogg in goal, Ryan Camilleri started in defence instead of Ferdinando Apap while Joseph Mbong and Myles Beerman replaced Steve Pisani and Kyrian Nwoko.

Georgia went close on the 5th minute thanks to Otar Kiteishvili whose header ended just wide. Five minutes later, Levan Gegetchkori received an assist from the right and tested Bonello with a powerful shot from the ended of the area.

On the 17th minute, Saba Lobjanidze was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a header following a freekick from the left by Valeriane Gvilia with the ball bouncing on the goal line before being cleared into safety. Two minutes later, Gvilia served Lobjanidze once again but the latter missed a good opportunity with just Bonello to beat, hitting high.

Eight minutes in the second half, Valeriane Gvilia was sent off for Georgia following a late tackle in midfield.

Following a Myles Beerman freekick from the right, Ryan Camilleri had a close-range effort turned into a corner by the Georgian goalkeeper and then an Andrei Agius freekick ended high. A Kyrian Nwoko effort was neutralised by the Georgia goalkeeper.

However one minute from time, Georgia were awarded a penalty after Steve Borg pulled Kiteishvili inside the area and from the penalty spot, Guram Kashia converted.

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MALTA Henry Bonello; Joseph Zerafa; Steve Borg; Andrei Agius; Paul Fenech (65’ Jake Grech); Michael Mifsud (71’ Kyrian Nwoko); Roderick Briffa (84’ Dunstan Vella); Joseph Mbong; Myles Beerman (58’ Luke Gambin), Ryan Camilleri; Alfred Effiong (81’ Jurgen Degabriele).
Coach: Ray Farrugia

GEORGIA Roini Kvaskhvadze; Levan Gegetchkori (68’ David Khocholava); Guram Kashia; Solomon Kverkvelia; Giorgi Aburjania (78’ Georgii Navalovski); Otar Kiteishvili (90+1’ Lasha Shergelashvili); Saba Lobjanidze (68’ Giorgi Beridze); Vakhtang Tchanturishvili (71’ Giorgii Kharaishvili); Budu Zivzivadze (71’ Nika Kacharava); Lasha Dvali; Valeriane Gvilia.
Coach: Vladimir Weiss