The Maltese under-19s managed to win their second friendly against San Marino on Friday morning, this time by the odd goal in three, in another very useful match for coach Andrea Tedesco.
Tedesco named a completely different team from the one which won 1-0 on Wednesday. Three players, however, Jed Valletta, Jamie Scerri and Brite Ihuomah, had already made a substitute appearance in the first friendly against San Marino, with Ihuomah scoring the only goal late in the match. Later on in the match, ten substitutions were made, with Sheldon MacKay being the only player to play the whole 90 minutes.
Malta held the initiative throughout the first half but without creating any danger in front of the opponent’s goal, despite having the wind in their favor. The visitors were well organized and compact, which proved to be hard for the Maltese to create opportunities. However, on the stroke of half-time, captain James Vella scored a wonderful opener, beating Michele Magnani with a long range shot from around the middle of the pitch, taking maximum advantage of the goalkeeper’s position.
The second half was definitely more eventful with the visitors having their fair share of ball possession and just before the hour, a goal by San Marino was ruled out for an offside infringement. On the other side, on 71 minutes, a Jake Micallef header from a corner action sailed inches over the crossbar and five minutes later, a Shaisen Attard shot was turned into a corner by San Marino substitute goalkeeper Mattia Cervellini.
In the 79th minute, Andrea Zammit doubled the score for the hosts after the San Marino rearguard failed to clear the ball. On the stroke of full-time, Alberto Guerra pulled one back for the guests after a goalmouth action, just after the goalkeeper made an excellent safe to deny Marco Pasolini. In the scrimmage that followed, the goalkeeper and a San Marino player were sent-off. Sheldon MacKay acted as a goalkeeper for the remaining minutes of the match.
During both matches, Tedesco had the opportunity to have a look at all 26 players in the squad, which was the main purpose of these two games.
MALTA Anson Saliba, Dejan Bogdanovic (Nikolai Micallef 46), Sasha Cachia (Zean Leonardi 46), James Vella (Isaac Cutajar 56), Leon Borg (Matteo Gambin 46), Nathan Agius (Luca Gatt 61), Sheldon MacKay, Jamie Scerri (Shaisen Attard 69), Brite Ihuomah (Jake Micallef 69), Jed Valletta (Isaac Ebejer 56), Nathan Cross (Andrea Zammit 61)
SAN MARINO Michele Magnani (Mattia Cervellini 46), Luca Terenzi (Albert Guerra 53), Marco Pasolini, Lorenzo Pelliccioni (Simone Vittori 53), Diego Zavoli, Matteo Guidi (Michele Ercolani 82), Andrea Dolcini (Massimiliano Morini 82), Filippo Pasolini, Mattia Sarti (Nicola D’Addario 53), Simone Santi, Marco Gasperoni (Alessandro Guanbalvo 82)
Referee: Ishmael Barbara