Qatar Under-23 side prove too strong for Malta on Gilbert Agius’ debut as Under-21 coach

The Malta Under-21 side, led for the first time by coach Gilbert Agius, suffered a 0-5 defeat to the Qatar Olympic Team Under-23 at the Stadion Lučko in Zagreb, Croatia on Sunday.

Qatar, who are currently on a training camp in Croatia as they prepare for the qualifying round of the AFC U-23 Asian Cup, managed to score twice during the first half, adding another three goals in the final stages.

Malta coach Gilbert Agius handed no less than fifteen players their debut as he named Amara Sylla, Adam Magri Overend, Jamie Carbone, Ryan Tonna, Alejandro Garzia, Karl Mohnani and Glenn Attard in the starting line-up while Andreas Vella, Jamie Sixsmith, Jeremy Micallef, Victor DeGiorgio, Gianluca Sciberras, Cain Formosa, Christian Gauci and Kenley Scerri were included as substitutes. Ayrton Attard captained the side in this friendly match.

Qatar made their intentions clear from the start with high pressure on the Maltese but Malta’s first attempt was registered by captain Ayrton Attard but his effort from a free-kick went wide.

In the 14th minute, Qatar’s Lofti Madjer was shown the yellow card following a reckless challenge on Maltese goalkeeper Amara Sylla.

In the 18th minute, a great goal scoring opportunity for Qatar was bravely halted by Glenn Attard. A few seconds later, a shot by Qatar’s captain Ali Karami was turned into a corner following a block by Zak Grech.

The Asian team deservedly forged ahead in the 22nd minute through an Andri Syahputra header from close range following the Maltese rear guard’s failure to clear the ball from a corner. Qatar than almost doubled their lead on two seperate occaisons as they hit the post twice in quick succession.

On the 31st minute, coach Gilbert Agius was forced to make his first substitution, with substitute player Andreas Vella replacing injured Zak Grech.

Qatar continued to put the Malta defence under pressure. On the 38th minute Rabeh Boussafi found the net to make it 2-0 for the Asians.

After the break, following a series of corners for Qatar, a rare counter attack by the Maltese produced a dangerous cross by Aleandro Garzia which was cleared for a corner-kick.

In the 71st minute, following a very good run by Garzia, Jacine Lafrid was shown a yellow card and the Maltese were awarded a free kick from a very good position, taken by Marcus Grima hitting the wall before being cleared off.

Qatar added a third with eight minutes to go, when Jassim Al-Mehairi hit the ball on the volley and found the back of the net.

In the 84th minute, the Asians were awarded a penalty, goalkeeper Cain Formosa, who replaced Amara Sylla in the second-half, went the right way but Nasser Al-Yazidi managed to put the ball at the back of the net.

Five minutes later, 89th minute and a second penalty was awarded and scored this time by Abdulaziz Alhasia, to round off this final result, a comprehensive 5-0 win for Qatar U23 over the Malta U21 Team.

Malta U21 

Amara Sylla, Adam Magri Overend, Zak Grech, Jamie Carbone, Marcus Grima, Ayrton Attard (C), Ryan Tonna, Aleandro Garzia, Karl Mohnani, Glenn Attard, Bradley Sciberras

Subs used: 56′ Jeremy Micallef, 56′ Jamie Sixsmith, 56′ Victor DeGiorgio, 63′ Cain Formosa, 63′ Gianluca Sciberras, 79′ Kenley Scerri, 79′ Christian Gauci.

Qatar U23 Olympic Team

Youssef Farahat, Bahaa Ellethy, Eisa Palangi, Ali Karami (C), Jassem Abdulsallam, Moustafa Mashal, Andri Syahputra, Rabeh Boussafi, Ahmed Alganehi, Lofti Madjer.

Referee: Ante Čuljak (Croatia)

The team will be in action once again in a friendly match on June 4 against Bosnia-Herzegovina.