Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Malta out to make a point in final home qualifier
Sep 14, 2017
Posted in:
General
National Team
UEFA NATIONS LEAGUE 2020
Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA
Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA

  • Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA
  • Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photo: Joe Borg/MFA

Malta will be going all out to collect their first points in the 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifying campaign when they face Lithuania at the National Stadium on October 5, 2017.


Eight difficult matches have failed to yield a point for Malta but hopes are high that the national team will get off the mark when they host Lithuania in the final European Group F qualifier on home soil.

 

After the Lithuania date, Malta wrap up their 2018 World Cup qualifying commitments with another difficult match against Slovakia in Trnava on October 8.

 

Malta’s meagre tally in Group F is not a fair reflection of the team’s bold efforts in what has been a very tough competition as the team, under the guidance of Italian coach Pietro Ghedin, produced resolute performances in most of their outings but left the pitch with no tangible rewards for their endeavours.

 

The home qualifier against England on September 1, which drew a sell-out crowd to the National Stadium, is a case in point.

 

Oozing determination from the initial whistle, the Maltese team were still in the game as, with five minutes remaining, they only trailed England, the Group F leaders, 1-0 but three goals in the closing stages put a damper on an otherwise commendable showing.

 

Malta then travelled to Glasgow to face a rejuvenated Scotland whose positive run of late has revived their chances of claiming second spot in the group – they are currently level with Slovenia in third place on 14 points, one behind Slovakia and six adrift of England (20 points),

 

A goal in the early stages of each half consigned Malta to a 2-0 defeat at Hampden Park on September 4.

With only two qualifiers left, the Maltese players know that their best chance of picking up their first point is the match against Lithuania at the National Stadium. The sale of tickets for the Malta-Lithuania qualifier begins this Friday (http://www.mfa.com.mt/en/news/news/3016/malta-vs-lithuania--ticket-sales-information.htm).

 

It will not be a stroll in the park as Lithuania have proved a hard nut to crack for all the teams in Group F. They have five points from eight games after beating Malta with two late goals in Vilnius last year and drawing at home to Slovenia (2-2) and away to Scotland (1-1).

 

The Maltese players must be at the top of their game to overcome Lithuania but there is a general belief that, with the backing of the home fans, a positive result is within our team’s reach.

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