Malta Football Association
Lithuania draw has given us confidence – Ghedin
Oct 7, 2017
Posted in:
National Team
Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA
Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA

Malta coach Pietro Ghedin is wary of Slovakia’s strength and must-win scenario but the team’s vibrant showing in the 1-1 draw against Lithuania has enhanced his optimism.

While Malta will be looking to end their involvement in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers on a positive note, the stakes are certainly higher for Slovakia as they have to win and hope that Scotland don’t beat Slovenia to reach the World Cup play-offs.


“This is going to be a very difficult match as Slovakia need to win to qualify for the World Cup,” Ghedin told the pre-match press conference at the Stadion Antona Malatinskeho on Saturday evening.


“Slovakia have been consistent in this group and they are still in with a chance of finishing second.


“As for us, I must say that our performance against Lithuania has given the players a lot of confidence and I hope we show this in the match against Slovakia.”


Ghedin, who will end his six-year tenure as Malta coach after Sunday’s qualifier, said all the players he has brought to Trnava are fit to play, including captain Andrè Schembri.


The Apollon Limassol playmaker trained normally on Saturday but with a bandage strapped around his head after an aerial clash with a Lithuania player left him with a cut on the back of his head and forced him off at half-time in Thursday’s 1-1 draw against Lithuania at the National Stadium.


England have already secured qualification to the 2018 World Cup in Russia but the race for second place and a play-off spot will be decided on Sunday. Scotland are in the driving seat after their 1-0 win over Slovakia propelled them to second place, two points ahead of the latter and three clear of Slovenia.


Malta defender Ryan Camilleri echoed Ghedin’s sentiments.


“We know that this is going to be a very tough match for us as Slovakia must win to have a chance of qualifying for the World Cup,” the Valletta centre-half said.


“We are coming from a good performance against Lithuania and we hope to do the same in this match.


“Slovakia will be going all out but we will do our best to contain them and try to get a result here.”


Ghedin has lost Arezzo defender Zach Muscat to suspension but Balzan midfielder Ryan Fenech is available after serving a one-match ban.

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