The Malta women’s Under-17 side put up a much-improved display in their second match from Group 3 of the UEFA Women’s Under-17 Championship qualifiers against Iceland but a first-half goal was enough for the Nordic side to clinch a narrow win at the Spartak Mogilev Stadium in Belarus, on Wednesday.
Dorianne Theuma’s team were very organised and were determined in keeping Iceland’s forward line at bay after the latter had cruised past hosts Belarus, defeating them 10-1 in their opening match.
As expected, Iceland started on the forefront, creating numerous chances. The Nordic side threatened through the likes of Porvaldsdottir and Heidarsottir but neither could put their side ahead.
Malta were forced to make an early substitution when Mariah Cardona replaced Emma Ciantar Piccinino after the latter suffered a knock on minute 20.
Iceland continued to mount their pressure on their Maltese and they made it count past the half-hour mark through Amanda Jacobsen Andradottir.
In the closing stages of the first-half, goalkeeper Giulia D’Antuono came to Malta rescue on a number of occasions as the Maltese ended the first 45 minutes trailing by just one goal.
After the change of ends, Malta replied with 50th-minute effort through Haley Bugeja. The Mġarr United forward threatened again 10 minutes later as Theuma’s team remained well-composed in search of an equaliser.
Nonetheless, Iceland’s rear-guard proved difficult to breakdown while at the other end of the field, they had to do with an inspired D’Antuono who denied them any chance in extending their lead.
Malta’s final group game is against hosts Belarus on Saturday, kick-off at 13:00.
ICELAND Cecilia Ran Runarsdottir; Andrea Mary Sigurjonsdottir, Amanda Jacobsen Andradottir, Hildur Lilja Agustsdottir (72′ Porhallsdottir), Bergbora Sol Asmundsdottir (88′ Jakobina Hjorvarsdottir), Andrea Rut Bjarnadottir (72′ Erla Sol Vigfusdottir), Hildigunnur Yr Benediktsdottir, Saedis Run Heidarsdottir, Emma Steinsen Jonsdottir, Bryndis Arna Nielsdottir (60′ Olof Sigridur Kristinsdottir), Anita Yr Porvaldsdottir (60′ Maria Catharina Gros).
MALTA Giulia D’Antuono; Haley Bugeja (88′ Laura Hannah Muscat), Elena Sissons, Veronique Mifsud, Emma Ciantar Piccinino (20′ Mariah Cardona), Kailey Willis, Maya Lucia, Martina Fenech, Alexandra Gatt, Laura Chetcuti Dimech, Rhea Borg (83′ Georgiana Mifsud).
Referee: Merima Celik (BOS)