Malta Football Association
Spirited Malta denied by last-gasp goal
Jan 27, 2017
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Futsal Euro Qualifiers
The Malta futsal players before today's game against Albania.
The Malta futsal players before today's game against Albania.

Malta were seconds away from opening their account in their final Group D game of the 2018 Euro Futsal Championship qualifying round but their hopes were shattered by a last-gasp goal which gave Albania a narrow 3-2 win this evening.

After emphatic victories over hosts Bulgaria (7-1) and England (5-1), Albania were widely fancied to end their commitments with another fine win but the Maltese side produced their best performance in this tournament to make life difficult for the group winners.


Malta, who lost to England and Bulgaria in their opening two games, led 2-1 at half-time after goals from Carl Azzopardi (12) and George Frendo (19).


Narcis Alibegu had given Albania a 10th-minute advantage and Azem Brahimi equalised on 24 minutes but Malta retained their composure.


Peter Pullicino’s side also had a couple of chances to surge ahead in the second half. Albania duly profited as Halim Selmanaj hit the winner with 30 seconds remaining.


“Luck was definitely not on our side,” Mark Borg, the president of Futsal Malta who is heading the Maltese contingent in Varna, told


“Group winners Albania were made to sweat and they only managed to edge our team with a last-gasp winner 30 seconds from time.


“We were so close to our first international point but yet so far.”


Albania topped the group with a maximum nine points.


England are playing Bulgaria in the final group game this evening.

Neil Cuschieri (GK); Giancarlo Sammut; Jovica Milijic; Mark Zammit; Andy Mangion; Matthew Xerxen (GK); Carl Azzopardi; Glenn Bonello; Nicola Del Re; George Frendo; Melvin Borg; Xavier Saliba; Dylan Musu; Matthew Attard.

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