Malta continues preparation ahead of UEFA Nations League with Kuwait friendly

After defeating Azerbaijan in a friendly match on Friday, Malta will be in action once again on Tuesday, hosting Kuwait at the National Stadium, kick-off at 19:00,

This will be another important test for the team ahead of the UEFA Nations League commitments where Malta will be facing San Marino and the loser of the play-out between Estonia and Cyprus which will be played earlier on Tuesday.

The team’s performance against Azerbaijan was a positive one. The team created several chances throughout the ninety minutes, scoring the only goal courtesy of Jurgen Degabriele.

Addressing the media on Monday, Malta coach Devis Mangia said “We played a good game and created scoring opportunities. We will try to improve from this point of view … to score more from the opportunities we create. It was really important to play a good game and create scoring chances.”

Jurgen Degabriele added “Against Azerbaijan, we had a very good performance. We continued to build on the positive we witnessed over the past two years. The only negative aspect was the fact that we failed to score more goals. But overall, the performance was a very good one.”

Photos courtesy of domenic aquilina / Malta FA

The Malta coach went on to say “After two years, there is still room for improvement and now, we need to focus more on detail. For example, in this game against Azerbaijan, we had good negative transition but sometimes, we made mistakes in one part of the first half, in the last part of the first half, we made some mistakes from a technical point of view and lost some stupid possession. This is something we need to improve maybe in that moment we have to be able to keep the possession to rest with the ball at our feet. This is something which we can achieve with more confidence. “

“Considering from which games we were coming to the game against Azerbaijan, I am satisfied because to see that the team starting the game with the right mindset, to develop our idea of football was very important,” said Mangia.

Devis Mangia revealed that he would be making three or four changes to the team.

“We will change something in the line-up. Not too much, maybe three, four players. We have some problems with regards to James Brown. We do not know whether he will recover.”

“That was the plan for tomorrow from the beginning or during the game … to give him the possibility to play but he had the same problems that he had in the past. I have to check with the doctor. If he is not 100%, I will not take risks, also for respect of the club. “

The Malta coach said goalkeeper Jake Galea is not available and was replaced by Matthew Grech.

“We decide to give Paul Mbong to the Under-21 side for the game of tomorrow. All the other players are available,” added the Malta coach.

Kuwait are ranked 143rd in the FIFA Ranking, compared to Malta’s 174th place. They are coming from a 1-1 draw with Latvia in another friendly match at the National Stadium on Friday. A match which marked the debut for Czech coach Vítězslav Lavička.

Malta coach Devis Mangia said he watched Kuwait in the friendly against Latvia.

“They have a new coach and therefore it was not useful to watch a lot of other games. Kuwait is a team which is strong from a physical point of view … aggressive, they run a lot. So we have to play a good game from a technical point of view. We need to play a clean game from a technical point of view. This will be really important.”

In the recent qualifiers for the 2022 FIFA World Cup, Kuwait performed quite well in a group which featured Australia, Jordan, Nepal and Chinese Taipei, placing second in the group on 14 points from eight matches.

The players at the disposal of coach Devis Mangia are:

Henry Bonello (Ħamrun Spartans FC); Matthew Calleja Cremona (Hibernians FC); Matthew Grech (Pembroke Athleta FC) 

Ferdinando Apap (Hibernians FC); Jean Borg (Valletta FC); Steve Borg (Ħamrun Spartans FC); James Brown (St. Johnstone FC – SCO), Triston Caruana (Valletta FC); Karl Micallef (Ħamrun Spartans FC); Zach Muscat (Casa Pia – POR); Enrico Pepe (Birkirkara FC) 

Cain Attard (Birkirkara FC); Ryan Camenzuli (Floriana FC); Matthew Guillaumier (A.C. Siena – ITA); Adam Magri Overend (Floriana FC); Joseph Essien Mbong (Ħamrun Spartans FC); Nikolai Muscat (Gżira United FC); Brandon Diego Paiber (Floriana FC); Steven Pisani (Gżira United FC); Nevin Portelli (Gżira United FC); Teddy Teuma (R.U. Saint Gilloise- BE); Dunstan Vella (Hibernians FC)

Jan Busuttil (Floriana FC); Jurgen Degabriele (Hibernians FC); Jake Grech (Hibernians FC); Luke Montebello (Birkirkara FC); Alexander Satariano (U.S. Pergolettese 1932 – ITA)

Malta vs Kuwait will be controlled by Welsh referee Thomas Gary Owen, assisted by Lewiss Edwards and Johnathon Bryant and fourth official Stefan Pace.

Meanwhile at the National Stadium, kick-off at 13:00, Azerbaijan face Latvia in another friendly match.