A penalty just before the end of the first half enabled Slovenia to return to winning ways, defeating Malta 1-0 in another match from Group H of the European Qualifiers leading to the 2022 FIFA World Cup at the Stadion Stožice in Ljubljana on Saturday.
Speaking after the game on Saturday, Malta coach Devis Mangia said “We knew that in the first half, they will push a bit. We were very organised in the pitch, more defensive. In the second half, we played very good. The penalty made the whole difference.”
“I am satisfied about the performance. We knew that it was good to change some players .. to put some fresh players and then manage the substitutions during the game. I think we played a very good game. I am really satisfied … my compliments to the players.”
On Tuesday, Malta will be facing Russia at the Otkritie Bank Arena in Moscow.
“Now we have to recover. We have some problems to recover some players but we have enough good players to decide the right line-up for the next game.”
With regards to the absence of Enrico Pepe, who limped off injured, the Malta coach said “We have to check. We have other players who could play. It was also in my plan .. my idea was not to give players the three games, except for one or two maybe.”
Russia are leading the way together with Croatia with ten points from five matches.
They defeated Malta 3-1 and Slovenia 2-1 in their first two outings and following a 1-2 defeat to Slovakia away from home, they were held in a goalless draw by Croatia on Wednesday, defeating Cyprus 2-0 in Nicosia on Saturday.
Photos: Copyright domenic aquilina/Malta FA