Malta ended its commitments in Group F of the European Qualifiers with a 1-2 defeat to Norway at the National Stadium on Monday.
A defeat which leaves Malta at the bottom of the group with just three points, on level points with the Faroe Islands but with an inferior direct encounters.
The Maltese tried to play better football following the humiliating defeat to Spain on Friday and despite conceding an early goal, fought back to equalise. However Norway regained the lead just past the hour to take home the three points.
Malta coach Ray Farrugia made four changes from the team which lost to Spain as Steve Borg, Joseph Zerafa, Paul Fenech and Michael Mifsud replaced Jonathan Caruana, Jurgen Pisani, Brandon Paiber and the injured Juan Carlos Corbalan.
The visitors took the lead on the 7th minute when Mats Moller Daehli received a through pass on the left and crossed for Joshua King to hit home from close range as Henry Bonello could only partially save.
On the 28th minute, Joshua King concluded a good run on the left flank with a diagonal shot which scraped past the post and on the half hour, Kyrian Nwoko advanvced on the left but hit wide from inside the area.
Five minutes from the end of the first half, Malta levelled matters when off an inviting cross by Michael Mifsud from the right, Paul Fenech slotted the ball past goalkeeper Orjan Nyland.
One minute in the second half, Bonello came to the rescue as he blocked a Markus Henriksen effort from outside the area.
Norway, however, regained the lead on the 62nd minute when Henriksen released Sander Berge on the right and the latter found all the space to serve Alexander Sorloth who placed the ball at the back fo the net.
Five minutes later, Norway could have scored the third goal when they were awarded a penalty after Zach Muscat floored Sorloth with a reckless tackle from behind but Joshua King’s effort was turned into a corner by Bonello.
MALTA Henry Bonello, Steve Borg (74’ Ferdinando Apap), Andrei Agius, Joseph Mbong, Paul Fenech, Michael Mifsud, Kyrian Nwoko, Rowen Muscat (70’ Nikolai Muscat), Dunstan Vella (60’ Alfred Effiong), Joseph Zerafa, Zach Muscat.
NORWAY Orjan Nyland, Kristoffer Ajer, Tore Reginiussen, Joshua King (89’ Fredrik Ulvestad), Iver Fossum, Alexander Sorloth, Sander Berge, Jonas Svensson (65’ Tarik Elyounoussi), Birger Meling, Markus Henriksen, Mats Moller Daehli (46’ Omar Elabdellaoui).
Referee: Alişar Aghayev (AZE)
Assistant Referees: Zeynal Zeynalov, Akif Amirali (AZE)
Fourth Official: Rauf Jabarov (AZE)