The Malta Under-21 national team suffered a heavy 6-0 defeat to Russia in their second match from Group C of the UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying round at the Arena Khimki on Tuesday.
A valuable learning experience for this rookie side led by coach Gilbert Agius in their very early days representing Malta at this level.
Following the brilliant 4-1 opening win over Northern Ireland, Agius was forced to make two changes as the injured Christian Gauci and Mattias Veselji were replaced by Melita’s Karl Mohnani and Jamie Carbone of Santa Lucia FC.
Russia broke the deadlock as early as the 6th minute as defender Daniil Khlusevich fired home from an acute angle into the bottom far corner.
Seven minutes later, the same Daniil Khlusevich doubled the score after drilling the ball home from close range beating keeper Formosa after the Maltese rear guard failed to clear the ball into safety.
Russia made it 3-0 on the 17th minute with a delicate chip by forward Gamid Agalarov over the shoulder of goalkeeper Formosa into the net.
Eight minutes later, a solo effort by Edgar Sevikyan was turned into a corner by Cain Formosa on the near post. Ten minutes later, Formosa neutralised Ruslan Litvinov’s point-blank shot from inside the 18 yard box and before the interval, he avoiding one more clear goal opportunity for Russia denying Agalarov from two meters far.
In the second half, Russia remained the better side but the Maltese players started more composed and were passing the ball better, trying to prevent the relentless moves by the Russian players.
On 52 minutes, Agalarov for Russia again tried his luck with a powerful low drive from the edge of the box, Formosa saved again.
Gamid Agalarov’s resilience reaped rewards on 74 minutes with a curling shot from distance, adding a fourth for Russia.
Kirill Bozhenov netted the fifth on 81 minutes with a thunderbolt from just outside the box giving no chance for Malta keeper in his attempts to save the ball.
Russia scored their sixth goal four minutes from time as substitute Kirill Kravtsov beat his direct marker before firing a sailing shot in the bottom corner.
RUSSIA Maksim Borisko, Daniil Khlusevich (Nikita Iosifov 65), Danila Prokhin, Ruslan Litvinov, Edgar Sevikyan (Vladislav Karapuzov 57), Konstantin Maradishvili (Mikhail Ignatov 76), Gamid Agalarov (Kirill Klimov 76), Danil Stepanov, Nail Umyarov, Danil Prutsev (Kirill Kravtsov 57), Kirill Bozhenov.
MALTA Cain Formosa, Adam Magri Overend, Marcus Grima, Ayrton Attard (Jean Paul Attard 92), Aleandro Garzia (Andreas Vella 92), Karl Mohnani, Carlo Zammit Lonardelli, Matthew Ellul, Bradley Sciberras (Jeremy Micallef 78), Jake Engerer, Jamie Carbone (Jamie Sixsmith 65).
Referee: Artyom Kuchin (KAZ)
Assistant Referees: Denis Labashov, Sergey Kalachyov (KAZ)