Denmark scored twice within the first eight minutes to beat Malta 2-0 in a match from Group E of the FIFA Women’s World Cup qualifiers at the Centenary Stadium on Friday.
For Malta, this was the fifth defeat in seven matches but Mark Gatt’s side stays one point ahead of Azerbaijan. Malta was due to play Russia on Tuesday but since the game has been cancelled, a friendly against the Italy Under-23 national team has been scheduled.
Gatt was unable to field his best formation due to the absence of Birkirkara trio Stephania Farrugia, Alishia Sultana and goalkeeper Janice Xuereb and Sassuolo forward Haley Bugeja. Late in the game, Leah Alice Ayres – a late addition to the squad – was handed her debut.
The visitors took the lead on the 5th minute when Katrine Veje delivered the ball inside the area and following a short clearance, Janni Thomsen hit home past goalkeeper Jodie Attard.
Three minutes later, Denmark doubled the score when off a cross by Sofie Svava from the left, the ball was deflected, falling into the path of Olivia Moller Holdt who beat the Malta goalkeeper with a shot from the edge of the area.
However, despite conceding these two early goals, the locals kept their composure and defended well to deny the Danes from extending the lead although these were unlucky to hit the woodwork twice – first through Stine Larsen who hit the foot of the upright after rounding the goalkeeper on 31 minutes and then nine minutes in the second half through Kathrine Moller Kuhl who hit the upright with a shot from outside the area.
MALTA Jodie Attard, Ann-Marie Said, Emma Lipman, Jessica Lee Dimech, Dorianne Theuma (86′ Leah Alice Ayres), Rachel Cuschieri, Maria Farrugia (18′ Emma Xuereb)(74′ Ylenia Carabott), Shona Zammit, Charlene Zammit, Brenda Borg, Nicole Sciberras.
DENMARK Kathrine Larsen, Stine Pedersen, Simone Boye Sorensen (61′ Luna Norgaard Gevitz), Olivia Moller Holdt (61′ Rikke Madsen), Emma Snerle (74′ Sanne Troelsgaard), Katrine Veje, Stine Larsen (61′ Caroline Moller), Sofie Pedersen, Kathrine Moller Kuhl, Janni Thomsen, Sofie Svava (62′ Sara Gedsted Thrige Andersen).
Referee: Kristina Georgieva BUL
Assistant referees: Yordanka Korcheva, Dzhuliana Butrakova BUL
Fourth official: Teodora Stoeva BUL