The Malta Under-19 side played their second friendly match against Montenegro at the Centenary Stadium on Thursday morning. Malta took an early lead but Montenegro fought back to win 3-1.
Montenegro threatened from their very first attack with Vasilije Cavor’s shot turned away for a corner by Malta goalkeeper Miguel Spiteri. Two minutes later, Malta created their first scoring opportunity thanks to Jake Engerer whose shot from close range was saved by the opposing goalkeeper.
On nine minutes, a Joseph Attard header from a Sheldon Mizzi cross from the right just missed target. In the 15th minute, the Maltese youngsters opened the score. Andrea Zammit rounded off a fluent attack on the right, beating Montenegro goalkeeper Ervin Helic with a low shot from a Mizzi cross.
Two minutes later, the guests levelled thanks to a wonderful individual effort from Cavor who beat Spiteri with an angled drive from the edge of the box. Just after the half-hour mark, Montenegro went 2-1 up. Dejan Perovic’s strong run unsettled the Maltese defence before hitting a shot that was blocked by Spiteri. However, the Malta goalkeeper could do nothing to stop Perovic from scoring from the rebound.
In the 39th minute, Montenegro added a third goal thanks to a low drive by Aldin Musovic.
Malta saw more of the ball in the second half, creating a host of scoring opportunities, especially in the last 20 minutes. On 55 minutes, Montenegro had their first chance after the break as a shot by Andrija Koloundzic from 20 meters distance was marginally wide.
Two minutes later, at the other end, Jamie Scerri was in a good position in front of Helic’s goal but chose to pass instead of shoot and eventually the Montenegro defence cleared the ball. In the 63rd minute, Malta were awarded a penalty after Mizzi was brought down in the box but Zammit’s shot came off the crossbar.
Zammit had another opportunity three minutes later but his close-range shot was too weak to trouble the Montenegrin custodian. On 77 minutes, Scerri had another opportunity after some effective work by Engerer and a minute later,
Zammit’s strong drive from just outside the box hit the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten. Zammit was again unlucky on 81 minutes as another effort, after a fine individual move, hit the woodwork once more. The score did not change until the end in what was a good test for the locals with the Malta U-19 coaches trying out 25 players during these two matches.
MALTA Miguel Spiteri (Daniel Grima 85), Sheldon Mizzi, Matthew Ellul (Neil Magri 76), Adam Camilleri (Owen Spiteri 46), Ismael Borg (James Vella 46), Nathan Agius, Nikolai Micallef (Russel Micallef 64), Joseph Attard (Matthew Debattista 46), Jake Engerer, Jamie Scerri, Andrea Zammit.
MONTENEGRO Ervin Helic, Petar Vukovic, Bogdan Obradovic (Blagota Markovic 62), Rastko Marsenic (Vuk Cosic 62), Vasilije Cavor (Nemanja Popovic 46), Aldin Musovic (Nedjeljko Kovinic 76), Dejan Perovic, Luka Boricic (Djordje Stesevic 46), Milos Milovic, Andrija Koloundzic (Aldin Drndar 62), Nemanja Perovic.
Referee: Etienne Mangion