Defensive mistake hands Kosovo 2-1 win

Malta lost 1-2 to Kosovo in a friendly match at the Wörthersee Stadion in Klagenfurt, Austria.

Throughout the first half, the Maltese were mostly on the receiving end, going a goal down but Malta equalised just before half-time. A goal which filled Devis Mangia’s side with confidence. However a defensive mistake late in the game handed Kosovo victory.

Photos: Copyright www.stephengatt.com/Malta FA

Mangia opted for just two changes from the team which lost 0-3 to Northern Ireland as Ferdinando Apap and Bjorn Kristensen made way for Rowen Muscat and Juan Corbalan.

With Bonello confirmed in goal, Ryan Camenzuli joined Kurt Shaw and Andrei Agius at the back. For Agius, this was the 100th appearance for the national team and before the game, he was presented with a commemorative shirt by MFA President Bjorn Vassallo.

Juan Corbalan was employed on the left flank with Mbong taking his usual role on the right. Rowen Muscat joined Teuma in midfield with Shaun Dimech and Luke Montebello supporting Alex Satariano up front. 

Kosovo managed to take the lead on the 19th minute. Aliti stole the ball off Mbong in midfield, Zeneli advanced and released Kastrati on the right and off the latter’s cross, Rashica hit low past Bonello.

Seven minutes later, Zeneli sent Kastrati through on the left but the latter’s diagonal shot ended wide.

Six minutes from the end of the first half, an incursion by Idrizi on the left ended with a close-range effort which was blocked by Bonello into a corner.  A minute later, Vojvoda served Rashica from the right but his conclusion was turned into another corner by the Malta goalkeeper. 

One minute in added time, Malta notched the equalise when a freekick by Teddy Teuma was blocked by the Albanian rear-guard and Shaun Dimech took the loose ball, hitting home from close range.

Early in the second half, Kastrati could have restored the lead for Kosovo when he took advantage of some misunderstanding between Agius and Camenzuli but Bonello saved his attempt. Malta replied with a Rowen Muscat effort from outside the area, served by Cain Attard, ending just over the bar on the 56th minute. Three minutes later, off a cross by Joseph Mbong from the right, Juan Corbalan hit just wide.

However six minutes from time, Kosovo regained the lead thanks to another goal by Milot Rashica. A rushed pass by Shaw for Agius saw Halimi block the Malta captain’s short clearance and serve the Werder Bremen striker who placed the ball at the back of the net.

Malta could have equalised on the 90th when Cain Attard served Luke Montebello on the right but the latter’s attempt was blocked by Visar Bekaj.

Photos: Copyright www.stephengatt.com/Malta FA

MALTA Henry Bonello, Kurt Shaw, Ryan Camenzuli (88’ Bjorn Kristensen), Andrei Agius (88’ Triston Caruana), Joseph Mbong, Luke Montebello, Rowen Muscat (64’ Nikolai Muscat), Juan Corbalan (65’ Jean Borg), Teddy Teuma, Alex Satariano (46’ Cain Attard), Shaun Dimech (64’ Jurgen Degabriele).

KOSOVO Visar Bekaj, Fidan Aliti (88’ Destan Bajselmani), Herolind Shala (61’ Besar Halimi), Hekuran Kryeziu (72’ Idriz Voca), Milot Rashica (88’ Mirlind Daku), Arber Zeneli, Amir Rrahmani, Mergim Vojvoda, Blendi Idrizi, Betim Fazliji, Lirim Kastrati (61’ Zymer Bytyqi).

Referee: Christopher Jaeger (AUT)
Assistant Referees: Andreas Staudinger, Sara Telek (AUT)
Fourth Official: Alan Kijas (AUT)

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