Leaders Denmark came back from a goal down to beat a heavily depleted Malta Under-21 side 3-1 in another match from Group 8 of the UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifying round at the Centenary Stadium on Friday. A win which enables Denmark to move six points clear.
For Malta, this was the sixth defeat in seven matches to remain at the bottom of the group.
Coach Silvio Vella could not count on no less than twelve players as Jean Borg, Michele Sansone, Zachary Brincat and Andrei Spiteri were ruled out injured, Dejan Debono, Carlo Zammit Lonardelli and Nicholas Puliswere also unavailable while Kurt Shaw, Matthew Guillaumier, Myles Beerman, Shaun Dimech and Paul Mbong were promoted to the senior squad. In fact, there were seven changes from the team which lost to Romania last month.
Following a goalless first half, against the run of play, Malta took the lead on the 52nd minute thanks to Ayrton Attard, served by Aidan Friggieri from the right, who controlled the ball before hitting past the Danish goalkeeper from just outside the area.
After hitting the crossbar through Mikkel Damsgaard, Denmark levelled matters on the 68th minute through Nikolai Laursen whose low shot from outside the area beat goalkeeper Timothy Aquilina.
Denmark forged ahead six minutes thanks to Mikkel Damsgaard who scored with a well-placed shot from the edge of the area.
Three minutes in added time, the Danish scored the third goal when Gustav Isaksen had a shot from the right partially saved by Aquilina and off the rebound, substitute Jesper Lindstrom hit home.
MALTA Timothy Aquilina, Darren Borg, Jamie Zerafa (73’ Bradley Sciberras), Aidan Friggieri (89’ Andrea Zammit), Alex Satariano, Zachary Grech, Marcus Grima (89’ Sebastian Grech), David Xuereb, Gary Camilleri, Matthew Ellul, Ayrton Attard.
DENMARK Oliver Christensen, Rasmus Bjerregaard Carstensen (59’ Jesper Lindstrom), Fredrik Alves Ibsen, Victor Nelsson, Nikolai Laursen, Jacob Bruun Larsen, Mikkel Damsgaard (90’ Morten Hjulmand), Mohamed Daramy (80’ Gustav Isaksen), Lukas Klitten (58’ Nikolas Nartey), Magnus Kofod Andersen, Carlo Holse (59’ Emil Riis Jakobsen).
Referee: Aristotelis Diamatopoulos (GRE)