Women’s European Qualifiers: Second half goals hand Portugal 2-0 win

Portugal scored twice in the second half to beat Malta 2-0 in a match from Group B3 of the Women’s European Qualifiers League B at the Centenary Stadium on Tuesday.

Following the goalless draw against Northern Ireland in Belfast, the players led by coach Manuela Tesse once again gave a very good account of themselves. They held their opponents, currently ranked 21st in the world, at bay during the first half but a penalty early in the second half enabled the visitors to break the deadlock before eventually they doubled the score.

Tesse made two changes from the team which drew with Northern Ireland as Valentina Rapa stepped in for Emma Lipman while Kailey Willis was preferred to Alishia Sultana.

Photo: Andre Farrugia / Malta FA

The locals went close after just three minutes with an assist by Kailey Willis for Maria Farrugia whose low shot from the edge of the area ended just wide.

Portugal replied with a Francisca Nazareth freekick on the 20th which ended just wide and seven minutes from the end of the first half, goalkeeper Janice Xuereb performed a great save on a freekick by Dolores Silva.

However, Portugal managed to take the lead two minutes in the second hafl when they were awarded a penalty after Ann-Marie Said handled the ball inside the area and from the penalty spot, Carole Costa converted.

Goalkeeper Janice Xuereb performed a great save on Catarina Amado on the 55th with the Malta goalkeeper sustaining an injury in the process.

A frew minutes later, Xuereb had to abandon the pitch and was replaced by Patricia Ebejer who was a late addition to the squad after the withdrawal of the injured Raisa Costantino.

Portugal doubled the score on the 77th when off an assist by Jessica Silva from the right, substitute Ana Capeta slotted the ball past Enbejer from close range.

MALTA Janice Xuereb (66’ Patricia Ebejer), Ann-Marie Said, Stephania Farrugia, Kailey Willis (66’ Nicole Sciberras), Rachel Cuschieri, Maria Farrugia, Shona Zammit, Charlene Zammit, Brenda Borg, Hailey Bugeja (90+2’ Jade Flask), Valentina Rapa (61’ Alishia Sultana).

PORTUGAL Inês Pereira, Catarina Amado (72’ Ana Capeta), Lucia Alves, Ana Seiça, Andreia Jacinto (84’ Joana Martins), Ana Borges, Jéssica Silva (90+1’ Carolina Mendes, Dolores Silva (72’ Tatiana Pinto), Carole Costa, Diana Silva, Francisca Nazareth (83’ Andreia Faria).

Referee: Katalin Sipos HUN
Assistant referees: Judit Kulcsár, Noemi Hegedus-Barath HUN
Fourth Official: Petra Kalmár HUN
Attendance: 1,026