Andy Mangion scored a brace as Malta bounced back from their 4-2 defeat in Friday’s opening warm-up to beat Northern Ireland 3-1 in their second friendly match at the Newry Leisure Centre on Saturday evening.
All three of Malta’s goals came in the second half after Northern Ireland had taken a 1-0 half-time lead.
Led by coach Vic Hermans, the Maltese team showed resilience in the second half with Mangion cancelling out Connor Millar’s opener.
Mangion was on target again to put Malta in the driving seat with less than three minutes remaining and Luxol team-mate George Frendo secured the win when scoring Malta’s third two minutes from time.
Photo: Copyright Joe Borg/MFA
On Friday, a balanced encounter saw Malta, led by coach Vic Hermans, lead 2-1 at half-time with goals from Luxol’s Giancarlo Sammut and Birkirkara’s Rennie Tanti but Northern Ireland fought back, scoring three times in the second half to win 4-2.
Having scored the first goal for Northern Ireland in the first half, Craig Taylor found the net again to level at 2-2 before the hosts forged ahead with a goal from Connor Millar with four minutes remaining. Millar netted his second goal of the match, with less than three minutes left, to seal a 4-2 win for the hosts.
Saturday’s match was the fourth meeting between Malta and Northern Ireland in the last three months as the two nations had also met in two friendlies at the National Sport School in October.
After a narrow 2-1 defeat in the opening match, Malta hit back to win the second home friendly 4-1.
The friendlies and training camp in Newry were part of Malta’s build-up for the upcoming 2020 FIFA Futsal World Cup preliminary round tournament, taking place in Sweden between January 29 and February 3, 2019. Sweden, Belgium and Armenia are Malta’s opponents in Group E.
Stefan Vella (Valletta), Clint Mifsud (Luxol).
Mark Zammit (Luxol), Jovica Milijic (Valletta), Matthew Attard (Luxol), Giancarlo Sammut (Luxol), Andy Mangion (Luxol), Shataizan Zarb (Luxol), Lee Grech (University Of Malta), George Frendo (Luxol), Neil Cauchi (University Of Malta), Rennie Tanti (Birkirkara), Andrè Ciancio (Swieqi United).