After losing 3-0 to Sweden at the Friends Arena in Solna on Friday, Malta will be hoping to bounce back as Ray Farrugia’s side hosts Romania at the National Stadium on Monday, kick-off at 20:45.
Malta is currently fourth after collecting three points in the first outing – a 2-1 win against the Faroe Islands and a 0-2 defeat to Spain. Romania, on the other hand, lie in third place after a 2-1 defeat to Sweden and a 4-1 win over the Faroe Islands in the first two matches while on Friday, they came from two goals down to hold Norway in a 2-2 draw thanks to two late goals by Claudiu Keșerü. Keșerü scored five out of the seven goals scored by Romania so far.
Addressing the media on Sunday, Farrugia is banking on his players to rise to the occasion.
“This game will be another difficult task coming after the match against Sweden. Nevertheless, we are looking forward to this game. The players are gaining experience and hopefully tomorrow we will rise to the occasion.”
”I’m not happy about the Sweden game as we lost but there were also some positives and we need to keep building on these. We are in a process where, as I said last year, we’re building a team for the future.”
“If you remember well, I had also said that there will be matches where we will suffer but in the long term, the introduction of more young players who are gaining experience is beneficial for the future of Maltese football.”
Juan Carlos Corbalan added “We’re coming from a difficut game against Sweden. I believe that we will be well-prepared for the match against Romania and I’m optimistic that we can take something out of it.”
“With regards to the atmosphere, in the training sessions and every time we join the national squad, I feel very comfortable Both the players and technical staff welcomed me and I’d like to thank them for this as they are helping me to maintain my development and improve my qualities as a player.”
From the game against Sweden, the Malta coach welcomes back Michael Mifsud who recovered from an injury but Jonathan Caruana is ruled out injured. Steve Borg is in doubt.
On Friday, Farrugia opted for a 3-4-3 formation but on Monday, he could revert to 4-5-1.
Henry Bonello should start in goal with Steve Borg (or Ferdinando Apap), Andrei Agius and Zach Muscat at the back. Juan Corbalan and Joseph Mbong would be employed on the flanks with Rowen Muscat and Luke Gambin in the middle while Alfred Effiong would partner Michael Mifsud and Kyrian Nwoko or Luke Montebello.
This will be the first time Malta and Romania will be facing each other in a full international match.
Malta vs Romania will be controlled by referee Dennis Higler, assisted by assistant referees Davie Goossens and Joost van Zuilen and fourth official Bas Nijhuis.