Malta Football Association
Bright showing not enough as Malta lose to Slovakia
Mar 26, 2017
Posted in:
National Team
Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

  • Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

MALTA       1


A vibrant performance from Malta again proved futile as Slovakia won the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F qualifier 3-1 at the National Stadium this evening.

Despite the positives that could be gleaned from Malta’s tenacious performance, the boys in red could not avoid the fifth defeat in as many outings on a night when Gareth Sciberras, sporting the captain’s armband, called time on his international career and young striker Luke Montebello earned his first cap as a late substitute.


A goal 98 seconds into the game, scored by Vladimir Weiss who produced a perfectly-flighted shot after exchanging the ball with Adam Nemec, arrived when Pietro Ghedin’s lads barely had time to find their footing. 


However, the Maltese team regained their composure and went on to produce some neat and flowing football, to the delight of the home fans, especially the vocal South End Core supporters in the Millennium Stand.


The outcome was a deserved equaliser when, on 14 minutes, Andrè Schembri’s assist to Jean Paul Farrugia caught the visitors’ rearguard flat and the Malta striker picked his spot from a central position.


Playing a flexible 5-3-1-1 formation with Schembri just behind Farrugia, Malta refused to buckle and the Boavista forward just missed the near post after being served by Luke Gambin. 


Unfortunately, the good work was undone four minutes before the change of ends when a tentative 25-metre low shot from Jan Gregus had the better of Andrew Hogg, the Malta goalkeeper. The Slovaks were relieved to go ahead at that point in time.  


In the second half, Malta kept battling but clearly faced an uphill struggle to seize the initiative back from the Slovaks.


Late on, Turkish referee Ali Pabiyik spotted Farrugia prodding the ball with his arm before slotting in from an angle. The Sliema Wanderers forward was sent off for his pains, after which the Slovaks rounded off their win to go on the nine-point mark.


Nemec received a through-ball from Marek Hamsik, who had come on as a second-half substitute, and burst through before hitting home six minutes from time.    


In stoppage time, Slovakia also finished with 10 men after Nemec was sent off for a second yellow card.


Andrew Hogg, Sam Magri, Gareth Sciberras, Paul Fenech, Andrè Schembri (90 Luke Montebello), Luke Gambin (73 Bjorn Kristensen), Jean Paul Farrugia, Ryan Camilleri (80 Clifford Gatt Baldacchino), Joseph Zerafa, Zach Muscat, Cain Attard.


Matus Kozacik, Peter Pekarik, Martin Skrtel, Jan Gregus, Vladimir Weiss (87 Albert Rusnak), Adam Nemec, Patrik Hrosovsky, Milan Skriniar, Tomas Hubocan, Juraj Kucka (73 Michal Duris), Robert Mak (50 Marek Hamsik).


Referee: Ali Palabiyik (Turkey FA).


Yellow cards: Skrtel; Nemec; Farrugia; Camilleri; Kucka; Nemec.


Red cards: Farrugia (M) 79; Nemec (S) 90.


Attendance: 4,980.


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