The Malta Under-21 side suffered their fifth defeat in Group 8 of the UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifiers after losing 0-2 to Northern Ireland at the Centenary Stadium on Friday.
Coach Silvio Vella could not count on goalkeeper Andreas Vella, Jean Borg, Matthew Guillaumier, Shaun Dimech and Paul Mbong who were all promoted to the senior squad apart from the injured Michele Sansone. Two new faces in the squad were making their debut as Alex Satariano was named in the starting line-up and Carlo Zammit Lonardelli who was included as a substitute.
One had to wait until the half hour to witness a shot at goal with Myles Beerman testing Conor Hazard with a powerful drive which was turned into a corner by the Irish goalkeeper.
Just before the end of the first half, Ross Larkin was brought down inside the area by Beerman, referee Michal Ocenas awarded a penalty but David Parkhouse’s effort was neutralised by Timothy Aquilina.
The visitors managed to take the lead on the 58th minute when off a ross Daniel Amos from he left, David Parkhouse’s header hit the upright and Ross Larkin hit home from close range.
Nine minutes later, Northern Ireland scored the second goal when a Mccann effort was partially saved by Aquilina but off the rebound, David Parkhouse.
In added time, substitute Andrei Spiteri went close to scoring a consolation with a shot from outside the area which scraped past the post.
MALTA Timothy Aquilina, Nicholas Pulis, Kurt Shaw, Jamie Zerafa (60′ David Xuereb), Aidan Friggieri (61′ Jan Busuttil), Myles Beerman, Zachary Grech, Alex Satariano, Nevin Portelli (82′ Andrei Spiteri), Gary Camilleri (71′ Carlo Zammit Lonardelli), Ayrton Attard.
N. IRELAND Conor Hazard, Caolan Marron, Daniel Amos, Ross Larkin (90′ Kofi Balmer), Eoin Toal, Ethan Galbraith, Nathan Kerr, Alfie Mccalmont (80′ Christopher Gallagher), David Parkhouse (90′ Paul O’ Neill), Caolan Boyd-Munce (63′ Jake Dunwoody), Alistair Mccann (80′ Kyle McClean).
Referee: Michal Ocenas (SVK)