The Malta Under-19 national team lost 1-2 to Portugal at the National Stadium on Wednesday in a game from match-day 1 of the Under-19 Preparatory Tournament ahead of the UEFA Under-19 Championships which will be held in Malta in July.
Portugal, who were handed a bye to the Elite Round of the competition as the top seed, managed to take the lead on 20th minute when Benjamin Hili floored Herculano Nabian down inside the area and Hugo Félix converted from the penalty spot.
Four minutes later, Portugal doubled the score thanks to Herculano Nabian who controlled in style a cross from the right, beating goalkeeper Karl Sargent with a fine shot from just inside the area.
Photos courtesy of www.stephengatt.com
Malta pulled one back two minutes from time courtesy of Basil Tenywa Tuma, who plays for EFL Championship club Reading, who received an assist by Brooklyn Borg and beat the challenge by defender Diogo Monteiro, anticipating goalkeeper Joao Carvalho with a shot from the edge of the area.
In the dying minutes, Portugal went close to restoring the two-goal lead but Hugo Felix had a low effort deflected by Sargent onto the foot of the urpight and then Carlos Roberto Forbs Borges had a shot from the edge of the area hitting the post.
Coach Toze Mendes started with the following players: Karl Sargent, Jake Vassallo, Lucas Scicluna, Jake Micallef, Braden Flannery, Lucas Caruana, Brooklyn Borg, Benjamin Hili, Alexander Spiteri, Alfie Bridgman, Kian Leonardi.
MALTA Karl Sargent, Jake Vassallo, Lucas Scicluna, Jake Micallef, Braden Flannery (63′ Matthias Ellul), Lucas Caruana (63′ Andrew Borg), Brooklyn Borg, Benjamin Hili (82′ Matteo Gambin), Alexander Spiteri, Alfie Bridgman, Kian Leonardi (63′ Basil Tuma).
PORTUGAL João Carvalho, Gonçalo Esteves, Nuno Félix (61′ Yanis Franklin Da Rocha), Diego Moreira (78′ José Melro), João Neves (70′ Loïs Martins), Herculano Nabian (70′ Miguel Falé), Diogo Monteiro, João Muniz, Martim Marques, Jorge Meireles (62′ Carlos Roberto Forbs Borges), Hugo Félix.
Referee: Gal Leibovitz (ISR)
Assistant referees: Haz Orpaz Hen (ISR), Petar Radić (SRB)
Fourth Official: Nenad Minakovic (SRB)
Meanwhile in another match on Wednesday, Germany defeated Poland 3-0 at the MFA Training Grounds.
Brajan Gruda put the Germans ahead on the 33rd minute. Poland had the opportunity to level matters but they had a penalty saved by German goalkeeper Max Weiss. Muhammed Damar doubled the score thanks to a penalty on the 76th and Nicolo Tresoldi sealed the issue with a goal nine minutes from time.
The tournament will continue on Saturday with Malta vs Germany at the Gozo Stadium at 12:30 and Poland vs Portugal at the National Stadium at 18:00. The final two matches are scheduled for Tuesday 29 as Poland face Malta at the National Stadium at 12:30 and Germany takes on Portugal at 18:00 in another match at the National Stadium.