Malta Under-16s narrowly beaten by Lithuania

Despite ending the game in ten men, Lithuania defeated Malta 1-0 in an Under-16 international friendly at the Centenary Stadium on Tuesday.

This was the second friendly match between the two teams with Malta winning the first game 1-0.

Coach Andrea Vella made two changes when compared to the starting line-up on Sunday, with Adam Vella deputising for Jake Attard while up front, Keyon Ewurum was preferred instead of Denzil Muscat.

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The hosts started well by creating a few goalscoring opportunities by Ewurum and Hijazi Ubada, who initially, like in the match on Sunday, proved to be a headache for the Lithuanian defence. However, after Kasparas Sacevicius brought the best out of Sissons on 12 minutes, the visitors scored what proved to be the winning goal nine minutes later when Ernastas Zdanovic was sent through the middle, outpacing Nathan Joyce and rounding off with a grounder low under Sissons. On the stroke of half-time, Sissons made a brilliant save from another Sacevicius attempt, who blasted the rebound of a free-kick against the Malta goalkeeper.

In the first ten minutes of the second half, two goals from the visitors were disallowed, the first one for a handsball incident and the second one for an off-side infringement. The Lithuanians held the upper-hand in the starting period after the break but received a setback when, just after the hour, centre-back Emilis Kirliauskas received a straight red card for dissent. As expected, with Lithuania restructuring their back line, Malta were more adventurous in the remaining time left but rarely tested the Lithuanian goalkeeper. Perhaps the best opportunity arrived on the stroke of full-time but the attempt by Thomas Melillo sailed high over the bar.

All in all, the two games were another wonderful opportunity to give the young players some needed taste of international football, against the physically strong Lithuanians, another experience to look back on positively.

Malta James Sissons, Adam Vella (Karl Grima 67), Jayden Vella (Nathan Grech 88), Shelom Magri (Liam Micallef 88), Nathan Joyce, Sheldon Borg, Thomas Melillo, Claude Mercieca (Denzil Muscat 67), Luke Bugeja, Keyon Ewurum (Jake Borg 42), Hijazi Ubada (Ethan Muscat 78).

Lithuania Ugnius Semaska, Emilis Kirliauskas, Dovydas Sasnauskas, Airidas Golambeckis, Matias Pastori (Gustas Muraska 46), Matas Ambrazaitis (Matas Klimas 46), Dominykas Taucas, Kasparas Sacevicius (Ignas Lukosevicius 59), Ernestas Zdanovic (Rodion Piazenko 63), Majus Zizys (Nedas Garbaliauskas 46), Brooklyn Leipus (Matas Pusnys 85).

Referee: Raiden Psaila (Malta)