Malta Football Association
Bold Malta effort not enough as Scotland win 2-0
Sep 5, 2017
Posted in:
National Team
Photos: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA
Photos: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA

  • Photos: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA
  • Photos: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA
  • Photos: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA

Berra 9

Griffiths 49

MALTA            0


Malta left Hampden Park on Monday night with their heads held high but sadly nothing to show for their efforts after slipping a 2-0 defeat to Scotland who strengthened their chances of finishing second in Group F.

Coming from a deflating 4-0 home defeat to England on Friday, the Malta players were aware that they were in for another gruelling test against a Scotland team seeking victory to maintain their hopes of qualifying for next year’s World Cup.


And so it proved as the hosts lay into Malta from the outset.


After six minutes Stuart Armstrong dispossessed midfielder Ryan Fenech but his low effort sailed just wide.


It was not long before Scotland’s early pressure yielded an opener. The game was just over nine minutes old when Leigh Griffiths’ cross from a right-wing corner eluded a host of red shirts and Christophe Berra’s downward header at the far post had the better of Andrew Hogg, the Malta goalkeeper.


Three minutes later, Armstrong stormed into the penalty box down the left but his drive flashed against the side-netting.


The overworked Maltese players settled as the first half wore on, limited Scotland to half-chances.


Gordon Strachan’s men had to wait until a minute from the break to create another notable chance when Berra’s long-range strike was saved in two attempts by Hogg.


Malta went in for the half-time break but any hopes of salvaging something from this clash all but vanished four minutes into the second half.


Kieran Tierney overlapped on the right before dragging in a low cross that was deflected by substitute James Morrison onto the upright. The loose ball rolled to Griffiths who tapped home.


Hogg denied Scotland a third on 55 minutes when he parried away James Forrest’s low drive.


With 15 minutes remaining, Malta threatened to reopen the game. Joseph Zerafa dribbled his way into the box from the left, sidestepped his marker and his low drive was pawed away by Craig Gordon.


Alfred Effiong was first to the rebound but his effort was also stopped by the Scottish custodian.


After the match, Malta coach Pietro Ghedin conceded that Scotland had deserved to win but praised his team’s effort.


“This was a very difficult match against a good Scotland team,” Ghedin said.


“Scotland played well, they deserved to win but I couldn’t ask more from our players.


“They showed great commitment in what was a very tough game.”


Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Andy Robertson, Christophe Berra, Charlie Mulgrew (56 Grant Hanley), James McArthur (46 James Morrison), Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown, Leigh Griffiths (70 Chris Martin), Matthew Philipps, James Forrest.


Andrew Hogg, Sam Magri, Steve Borg (86 Alex Muscat), Andrei Agius, Ryan Fenech, Andrè Schembri (71 Luke Gambin), Zach Muscat, Bjorn Kristensen (85 Paul Fenech), Joseph Zerafa, Alfred Effiong, Steve Pisani.


Referee: Jakob Kehlet (Denmark).


Attendance: 26,371.

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