Despite enjoying the lion’s share of ball possession, Malta could only collect a point in a goalless draw with Andorra in a match from Group D1 of the UEFA Nations League at the Estadi Nacional in Andorra la Vella on Saturday.
After the narrow defeat to the Faroe Islands and the draw with Latvia, Malta was chasing its first win but Andorra adopted an ultra-defensive approach which frustrated Devis Mangia’s side.
Malta, like Andorra, has two points from three matches and will now face Latvia in another match away from home on Tuesday.
Photos: Copyright © domenic aquilina/MFA
With Matthew Guillaumier ruled out through suspension and Kyrian Nwoko, Mangia opted to include Steve Pisani in midfield and Paul Mbong in attack while Andrei Agius was preferred to Enrico Pepe.
Malta went in search of an early goal and on the 7th minute, off a cross by Ryan Camenzuli, Luke Gambin headed high. Three minutes later, following a corner by Pujol, Ricard Fernandez’s header was headed into a corner by Joseph Mbong.
Gomes performed a good save on Joseph Mbong on 23 minutes and ten minutes later, Jurgen Degabriele missed a good chance off a cross from the left by Camenzuli. Pujol hit high from a freekick on the 42nd minute and just before half-time, following a corner from the left by Pujol, Alex Martinez tried his luck with a fine volley which ended just over the bar.
Five minutes in the second half, Cristian Martinez took advantage of an erratic pass by a defender but concluded just wide from outside the area. Two minutes later, Ryan Camenzuli, served on the left, concluded wide from an ideal position.
Malta went close on 69 minutes when off a Luke Gambin freekick from the right, Andrei Agius headed just wide.
ANDORRA Josep Gomes, Cristian Martinez (85′ Marc Garcia), Marc Vales, Emili Garcia, Marc Pujol, Marcio Vieira, Aaron Sanchez (85′ Luigi San Nicolas), Ricard Fernandez (70′ Jordi Aláez), Alex Martinez (90+4′ Victor Bernat), Joan Cervos, Jordi Rubio.
MALTA Henry Bonello, Ryan Camenzuli, Steve Borg, Andrei Agius, Joseph Mbong, Steve Pisani (79′ Bjorn Kristensen), Teddy Teuma, Jurgen Degabriele (61′ Luke Montebello), Paul Mbong (79′ Jake Grech), Luke Gambin, Zach Muscat.
Referee: Alain Durieux (LUX)
Assistant Referees: Gilles François Becker, Joaquim Da Silva (LUX)
Fourth Official: Ricardo Morais (LUX)