Malta concedes two early goals in 0-2 defeat to Greece

Greece scored twice in the first fifteen minutes to defeat Malta 2-0 in a friendly match at the MGG Arena in Grödig, Austria on Tuesday.

This was the final test for Malta ahead of the UEFA Nations League later this year where Malta will be facing Moldova and Andorra. In four friendly matches played between the March and June international windows, Malta held Slovenia and Belarus in draws at Ta’ Qali, losing to Czechia and now Greece in the training camp in Austria.

Following the 7-1 defeat to Czechia, the team showed remarkable improvement despite conceding two goals in the opening minutes. In fact, the boys in red recovered well and soon started to venture forward, going close to reducing the gap on a number of occasions.

Michele Marcolini made no less than six changes to the team which lost to Czechia on Friday as Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Enrico Pepe, Joseph Mbong, Steve Pisani and Kemar Reid made way for Rashed Al-Tumi, Kurt Shaw, Zach Muscat, Juan Corbalan, Nikolai Muscat and Jurgen Degabriele.

Photos courtesy of domenic aquilina

Greece had a perfect start taking the lead on 7 minutes when Rashed Al Tumi brought Vangelos Pavlidis down inside the area and from the penalty spot, Tasos Bakasetas converted.

Eight minutes later, Greece doubled the score when Teddy Teuma lost the ball to Giorgos Masouras who served the ball to Vangelos Pavlidis and off the latter’s assist, Christos Tzolis beat Rashed Al Tumi with a fine shot.

Malta went close to reducing the gap on 31 minutes when Teddy Teuma released Paul Mbong whose conclusion from outside the area was partially saved by the goalkeeper who however manage to anticipate Teuma from concluding from close range.

In the second half, the Maltese were a much improved side, creating a number of goal scoring opportunities, with the best chance occurring on 75 minutes when Matthew Guillaumier’s header off a cross by Kemar Reid was cleared off the goal line. Five minutes later, a Kyrian Nwoko effort was turned into a corner by the Greek goalkeeper.

MALTA Rashed Al-Tumi, Jean Borg (89′ Luke Tabone), Ryan Camenzuli, Kurt Shaw, Matthew Guillaumier, Teddy Teuma, Paul Mbong (72′ Kyrian Nwoko), Juan Corbalan, Nikolai Muscat (89′ Dunstan Vella), Jurgen Degabriele (46′ Kemar Reid), Zach Muscat.

GREECE Kostas Tzolakis (81′ Christos Mandas), Manolis Saliakas (81’Theocharis Tsingaras), Kostantinos Koulierakis, Dimitris Kourbelis, Giorgos Masouras (61′ Dimitris Limnios), Vangelis Pavlidis (61′ Tasos Douvikas), Christos Tzolis, Bakasetas, Panagiotis Retsos (74′ Andreas Ntoi), Petros Mantalos (61′ Giannis Kotsiras), Giorgios Kyriakopoulos.

Referee: Alan Kijas AUT
Assistant referees: Michael Obritzberger, Maximilian Weiss AUT
Fourth official: Arnes Talic AUT

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