Under-21 lose narrowly to Scotland away from home

Scotland ran out winners in a 2025 UEFA Under-21 Championship Group B qualifier on Tuesday, defeating Malta 2-1 at Fir Park in Motherwell.

Coach Ivan Woods named an unchanged starting eleven from the narrow defeat in a commendable performance on Friday by the boys against Belgium.

Malta had it fair share of ball possession and opportunities during the first half. On the 7th minute, Gianluca Sciberras served Mattia Veselji whose powerful shot was parried by Slicker. Five minutes later, Malta goalkeeper Hugo Sacco performed a good save on Mulligan.

However, on the 32n minute, Matthew Anderson judged by Romanian referee to have been fouled in the box by Ellul. Referee Marcel Brian ordered a penalty and Alex Lowry made no mistake from 12 yards as he lashed the ball into the bottom left corner.

Seven minutes in the second half, Veselji was brought down inside the area by Anderson and Andrea Zammit converted from the penalty spot.

Seconds later, Malta almost forged ahead though substitute Nikolai Micallef whose powerful drive hit the crossbar with the goalkeeper beaten.

However eight minutes from time, Scotland notched the winner when Mulligan conclude a solo run on the right with a cross for Kieron Bowie, who unmarked on the far post, placed the ball at the back of the net from a close angle.

Malta hit the crossbar once again a few minutes later with a header by Veselji.

SCOTLAND Cieran Slicker, Matthew Anderson, Liam Morrison, Leon King, Connor Barron, Alex Lowry (Ibane Bowat 85), Josh Mulligan, Lewis Neilson (Rory Wilson 60), Kieron Bowie, Jeremiah Mullen, Ben McPherson (Michael Mellon 60).

MALTA Hugo Sacco, Owen Spiteri, Jake Vassallo, Matthew Ellul, Karl Mohnani (Nikolai Micallef 46), Mattia Veselji, Andrea Zammit, Aleandro Garzia, Gianluca Sciberras (Jake Engerer 90), Andy Borg, Kurt Bondin.

Referee: Marcel Birsan (Romania).