Narrow defeat for Under-16s to Scotland

The Malta Under-16 team ended their commitments in the UEFA Youth Development Tournament with a narrow 1-0 defeat to Scotland at the Centenary Stadium.

Earlier on Friday, Denmark beat Albania 5-0 to secure top spot in this tournament with maximum points.

Scotland had an edge in the first half. They created the first scoring opportunity in the fifth minute when the unmarked Jaden Ferguson headed the ball into the hands of Malta goalkeeper Miguel Spiteri from close range.

The Maltese side created a good opportunity thanks to a quick interchange involving Andrea Zammit and Kurt Briffa but the latter was dispossessed just in front of goal.

Ferguson was again denied by the brave Spiteri who distinguished himself again on the half-hour mark. The Maltese goalkeeper effected a fine save to push away Kevin Hanrattay’s 11-metre drive after Scotland were awarded a penalty.

Five minutes later, Scotland took the lead. Spiteri initially blocked a shot by Arron Lyall but the loose ball rolled to Liam Smith who drove home from point blank. 

The second half followed the same pattern of the first with the Maltese showing good tactical organisation to keep their opponents at bay.

On 65 minutes, substitute Adam Brooks had a good opportunity for Scotland from the edge of the box but his effort sailed high.

In the final five minutes of the match, Malta were more adventurous. There was a chance for substitute Matteo Gambin but his effort from close range was saved by Tom Ritchie, Scotland’s substitute goalkeeper.

Ritchie also stopped a shot by Antheos Spiteri from outside the box deep into added time while Owen Sammut’s attempt in the dying seconds was high.

Earlier on Friday, Denmark made it three wins out of three after beating Albania 5-0.

Denmark captain William Vick scored a brace (12,13) with the other goals coming from Hojlund Winther(49), Lind Victor Stange (65) and an Andrea Bredahl strike two minutes into added time.

MALTAMiguel Spiteri (Daniel Grima 41), Zean Leonardi, Isaac Cutajar (Russell Micallef Decesare 41), James Vella, Nathan Agius (Azriel Borg 75), Sebastian Cassar Torregiani (Brite Ihuomah 59), Nikolai Micallef (Owen Sammut 59), Glending Farrugia (Jake Grech 47), Nathan Sultana (Matteo Gambin, Kurt Briffa (Zachary Chetcuti 41), Andrea Zammit (Antheos Spiteri 75).

SCOTLAND Jay Hogarth (Tom Ritchie 41), Calvin Ramsay, Adam Hutchinson (Kyle Semple 41), Arron Lyall (Adam Devine 75), McKenzie Lamb, Matthew Craig, Josh Adam (MacKenzie Carse 62), Lewis Coulton, Liam Smith, Jaden Ferguson (Adam Brooks 41), Kevin Hanrattay (Chris Mochrie 62).

Referee: Massimo Axisa.

Denmark 9 points; Scotland 6; Malta 3; Albania 0.