Malta Football Association
Nemec double propels superior Slovakia past Malta
Oct 8, 2017
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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



8.10.2017 – Štadión Antona Malatinského, Trnava, Slovakia

MALTA          0
(HT 1-0)

It was a happy evening for Slovakia as they beat Malta 3-0 to secure second spot in Group F and boost their hopes of reaching the 2018 World Cup play-offs.


On a dramatic evening, Adam Nemec's double sealed the win for Slovakia who beat Scotland to second place in Group F after the latter were held to a 2-2 draw in Slovenia. England qualified as group winners.


This was always going to be a very tough test for Malta against a Slovakian side hellbent on taking maximum points to keep their qualifying hopes alive. The red-shirted players produced a typical committed display, limiting the hosts to one goal in the first half but their hopes of salvaging something from the game all but vanished when Slovakia were gifted a second goal on 63 minutes.

 In Pietro Ghedin’s 72nd and final game in charge of the national team, the Italian was forced to make one change fom the 1-1 draw against Lithuania. 


Midfielder Ryan Fenech replaced the suspended Zach Muscat who received a yellow card in Thursday's qualifier at the National Stadium. 


Andrei Agius reverted to centre-half after being deployed as a defensive midfielder against Lithuania, capping a good performance with a fine goal. 


Captain Andrè Schembri was declared fit to start after suffering a head injury which forced him off at half-time on Thursday.

The first real chance for Slovakia came after 17 minutes. 


A clever short pass put Nemec through but he rifled the ball wide of the right post. Malta had an opportunity in the 29th minute when Alfred Effiong's effort hit the side-netting.


Slovakia opened the scoring on 33 minutes. 


Napoli midfielder Hamsik played a short pass to Nemec inside the box and the latter rolled the ball into the bottom right corner past Andrew Hogg. 


Three minutes before half-time, Milan Skriniar, of Inter, timed his run into the box perfectly and slammed a header goalwards from the centre of the box, but it lacked accuracy.


Ten minutes into the second half, Slovakia had a great chance to double their lead as e rebound fell to Skriniar inside the box but he was denied by Hogg. 


The Malta goalkeeper again did well two minutes later by intercepting a dangerous free-kick from the left by Vladimir Weiss. 


After Malta were denied what looked like a clear penalty when Effiong was pushed off the ball inside the box, Slovakia doubled their lead three minutes past the hour.


Joseph Zerafa was dispossessed on the left flank - there was possibly a foul on the Malta left-back – and Nemec cut in before dispatching his shot past Hogg.

With 20 minutes remaining, Slovakia sealed their win thanks to Ondrej Duda who fired home from close range after latching onto a pass from Albert Rusnak. 


Five minutes later Zerafa shot wide after a promising attack from the visitors. 


Slovakia substitute Jaroslav Mihalik wasted an inviting chance in added time, shooting wide from a great position.



Martin Dubravka, Peter Pekarik, Martin Skrtel, Milan Skriniar, Tomas Hubocan, (Robert Mazan 86), Stanislav Lobotka, Ondrej Duda, Marek Hamsik, Vladimir Weiss, Albert Rusnak, (Jaroslav Mihalik 86), Adam Nemec.



Andrew Hogg, Steve Borg, Andrei Agius, Ryan Camilleri, Joseph Zerafa, Paul Fenech, (Clyde Borg 87), Ryan Fenech, Luke Gambin, (Clayton Failla 75), Steve Pisani, Andre Schembri, Alfred Effiong.

Referee: Paolo Mazzoleni (Italy).


Yellow cards: Hubocan, Duda (Slovakia), Pisani, Paul Fenech, Schembri & Zerafa (Malta)

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