The Malta U-16 girls team scored twice in the second half to claim their first win in the UEFA Youth Girls Development Tournament after beating Gibraltar 2-0 in their second group match on Sunday.
After a goalless stalemate in the opening half, Malta managed to break the deadlock thanks to Martina Fenech’s header before Yulya Carella wrapped up the win with a late goal.
For this game, coach Dionne Tonna made plenty of changes to the starting formation from the 4-0 loss to Scotland. Gibraltar, on their part, were on the back of a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Azerbaijan on Matchday One.
Malta enjoyed the lion’s share of possession in this game but failed to make their pressure count in the opening 45 minutes. They created their first chance through Ylenia Grech whose shot was blocked by Gibraltar goalkeeper Sophie Ward. Georgiana Mifsud failed to find the net from the rebound.
Federica Zahra then directed an effort on goal but Ward once again was alert to avert the danger. Tonna’s team kept pushing for a goal with Mifsud missing a clear-cut opportunity to put the Maltese ahead when she dribbled her opponent inside the box but fired her shot straight into the goalkeeper’s hands.
Gibraltar threatened in their first notable attack after the break when Akisha Ferrell darted towards goal but failed to beat Malta goalkeeper Raisa Costantino.
Nonetheless, Malta managed to open the scoring through Martina Fenech who headed home from close range just past the hour. Moments later, Izabella Camilleri’s long-range free-kick was marginally wide.
As the second half wore on, the Maltese pressed for a second goal. Their efforts paid off in the closing minutes as Yulya Carella found the net from a tight angle.
Malta conclude their UEFA Youth Development Tournament commitments against Azerbaijan on Wednesday at 13.30 (Centenary Stadium).
In Sunday’s opening match, Scotland defeated Azerbaijan 7-0.
GIBRALTAR Sophie Ward, Natasha Escalona, Aerin Victory, Gabriella Martinez, Kayleigh Tellez, Akisha Ferrell, Tiffany Viagas, Anna Howard, Arwen Neale, Victoria Hemmings, Gianelle Hanglin.
Subs used: Sarah Popham, Mollie Karp, Jaylene Gaivizo, Gabriella Olivero, Ellen Dixon.
MALTA Raisa Costantino, Sabrin Bilhi, Alexandra Gatt, Eunice Micallef, Izabella Camilleri, Georgiana Mifsud, Gaia Antonelli, Ylenia Grech, Michaela Cachia, Federica Zahra, Iulia Mifsud.
Subs used: Martina Fenech, Rhea Borg, Ileana Farrugia, Hannah Khatib, Yulya Carella.
Referee: Luca Formosa