A heavily depleted Malta Under-21 side lost 4-1 to Romania in a match from Group 8 of the UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifying round at the Stadionul Marin Anastasovici in Giurgiu on Tuesday.
Preparations for the game in Giurgiu, have been hampered by the COVID-19 situation with coach Silvio Vella having to make eight changes from the previous game with Aidan Friggieri and defenders Gary Camilleri and Darren Borg being the only players available.
Apart from Kurt Shaw, Matthew Guillaumier, Myles Beerman, Shaun Dimech and Paul Mbong who are with the senior squad and the injured Jean Borg, Michele Sansone and Zachary Brincat, goalkeepers Rashed Al-Tumi, Timmy Aquilina and Andreas Vella; Jean Paul Attard, Matthew Ellul, Sebastian Grech, Zachary Grech, Marcus Grima, Alex Satariano, Ayrton Attard, Bradley Sciberras, David Xuereb, Jamie Zerafa, Jan Busuttil, Calvin Camilleri and Nevin Portelli could not make the trip to Romania after that Dejan Debono, Carlo Zammit Lonardelli and Nicholas Pulis also had to miss the Denmark game.
Alexandru Matan put Romania ahead on the 17th minute and Dennis Man doubled the score ten minutes later.
Tudor Baluta was sent off after receiving a second yellow card on the 35th minute but a minute later, George Ganea made it 3-0. Five minutes from the end of the first half, Romania were awarded a penalty after Dennis Man was floored inside the area and the same player converted from the penalty spot.
Malta pulled one back six minutes in the second half thanks to Omar Elouni.
ROMANIA Mihai Aioani, Radu Dragusin, Stefan Vladoiu, Tudor Baluta, George Ganea (46′ Andrei Chindris), Dennis Man (60′ Denis Dragus), Alexandru Matan (60′ Claudiu Petrila), Marius Marin, Denis Harut, Andrei Ciobanu (82′ Catalin Itu), Darius Olaru (77′ Olimpiu Morutan).
MALTA Cain Formosa, Christian Gauci, Darren Borg (72′ Andreas Vella), Owen Spiteri, Matthew Spiteri (46′ Matthew Farrugia), Aidan Friggieri, Omar Elouni, Keith Attard (46′ Mark Fenech), Liam Mckay (80′ Jake Ghio), Gary Camilleri, James Scicluna (61′ Andrea Zammit).
Referee: Visar Kastrati (KOS)