Two goals in the final stages handed Ukraine a more emphatic win as they registered a 4-1 win over Malta in another match from Group 8 of the UEFA Under-21 Championship qualifying round at the Centenary Stadium on Friday.
Coach Silvio Vella could count on Myles Beerman, Aidan Friggieri and Jan Busuttil who re-joined the squad after receiving a senior national team call-up with Busuttil also making his debut. Several other players were back after missing the last game against Romania.
For Malta, this was the eighth consecutive defeat in the group to remain anchored at the bottom of the table with just one point.
The visitors took the lead after just five minutes thanks to Mykola Kukharevych who slotted the ball past Rashed Al-Tumi from close range following an assist by Vladyslav Dubinchak from the left.
On the 32nd minute, a Nicholas Pulis error, who attempted a back-pass to the goalkeeper while Mykola Kukharevych was in front of Al-Tumi, with the Ukrainian striker placing the ball at the back of the net.
Jan Busuttil was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a fine conclusion from outside the area five minutes from the end of the first half.
Two minutes in the second half, Malta pulled one back thanks to Omar Elouni, served by Ayrton Attard, beat Syrota and Baboglo on the run and hit low past goalkeeper Anatolii Trubin.
On the 79th minute, substitute Bogdan Milovanov received a cross from the left and flicked the ball past the Malta goalkeeper.
Rashed Al-Tumi neutralised a penalty by Ievgeni Isaienko after the latter was brought down inside the area by Pulis one minute from time but three minutes in added time, Al Tumi rushed out of the area to try to halt a run by Ievgenii Shevtsov on the right but the latter rounded the goalkeeper and scored with an angled shot.
MALTA Rashed Al Tumi, Nicholas Pulis, Jamie Zerafa (84’ Marcus Grima), Aidan Friggieri (85’ Andrei Spiteri), Omar Elouni (85’ Andrea Zammit), Jan Busuttil (85’ James Scicluna), Myles Beerman, Zachary Grech, Carlo Zammit Lonardelli (88’ Matthew Ellul), Gary Camilleri, Ayrton Attard.
UKRAINE Anatolii Trubin, Oleksandr Syrota, Vladislav Baboglo, Vladyslav Dubinchak, Roman Vantukh (86’ Illia Shevtsov), Mykola Kukharevych (64’ Ievgenii Isaienko), Serhiy Buletsa (86’ Yehor Yarmoliuk), Oleksandr Nazarenko (64’ Bogdan Milovanov), Volodymyr Brazhko, Heorhii Sudakov (72’ Danylo Kravchur), Volodymyr Yakimets.
Referee: Pavel Rejzek (CZE)