Following the goalless draw with Northern Ireland on Friday, the Malta Under-21 side takes on Ukraine in another match from Group 8 of the UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifying round at the Metallurh Stadion in Zaporizhia on Tuesday.
Ukraine boast a host of promising players, fresh from their recent feat when they were crowned Under-20 world champions earlier this year. No less than ten members of that title-winning side part of the Under-21 squad for Tuesday’s game against Malta.
The Malta U-21s are heading into the Ukraine match with a high morale after their goalless draw away to Northern Ireland in Ballymena. After a long journey to the Ukrainian town of Zaporozhye – venue for this match, the players and coaching staff are fully focused on the game on Tuesday.
A hectic MD-1 for the boys with some activation at the gym conducted by physical trainer Karl Attard and overseen by coaches Silvio Vella and Noel Turner, later in the day the official training session, preparing the boys for these challenging 90 minutes coming up at the Slavutich Arena which has a capacity of 12,000 spectators.
On Friday at the Ballymena Showgrounds, there were a number of outstanding performers for Malta but coach Vella is adamant that the collectiveness of this group of players is the key to these positive results. Friday’s draw was the third positive competition result on the trot for this Malta Under-21 team following the 2-1 win over Hungary and the 1-1 draw against Cyprus at the back end of the last competition. In between, there were also positive friendly results with a 2-1 win over Turkmenistan, and a 0-0 stalemate against Bosnia & Herzegovina on home soil before summer.