Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Malta U-21 coach Vella reflects on Turkey challenge
Mar 26, 2018
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General
U/21 Qualifiers

The Malta Under-21 team resume their UEFA Championship qualifying campaign with a tough match against Turkey at the Oba Stadium in Alanya on Tuesday afternoon (kick-off 16.00).


Under the guidance of coach Silvio Vella, the Maltese youngsters will be seeking to gain their first point in Group Six after five consecutive defeats, knowing that a good result here would represent a significant boost ahead of the final four qualifiers, all on home soil.

 

Vella is satisfied with the work carried out by his group of players in the last nine days.

 

“I’m always optimistic but we have to be realistic,” Vella told www.mfa.com.mt.

 

“I know what this group of players are capable of, they have always responded well but we have to avoid certain mistakes.”

 

The Malta U-21 team were close to picking up their first point on more than occasion in this competition but their hopes were dashed by late goals.

 

“We’ve been unlucky not to take at least a point in a couple of games,” Vella commented.

 

“We have to take it game by game, we know it’s going to be difficult playing away to Turkey, but I’m upbeat after following my players closely. I’m confident they are ready for the task ahead.”

 

Vella is unlikely to make a lot of changes from the team that started the 3-1 defeat to Switzerland Under-20 in a warm-up at the Centenary Stadium on Friday.

 

“These players are still in the development process,” Vella added.

 

“We watch and analyse every single game, both ours and those of our opponents, to try as much as we can to avoid silly mistakes and improve tactically.”

 

On the eve of the match, the Malta U-21 squad trained at the 14,000-capacity stadium, the home of Turkish Super League side Alanyaspor.

 

The players looked in good spirits and focused in training.

 

An unfortunate own goal proved the difference between Malta and Turkey at the Centenary Stadium last November as the latter won 1-0.

 

“We have to be careful throughout the whole match,” Vella said.

 

“The Switzerland game was a case in point as, at 0-0, we created two or three good chances but we didn’t score. Switzerland made a swift transition and managed to find the net.

 

“We have to avoid these errors. I'm confident that my players will give more than 100 per cent in the game.”


MALTA UNDER-21 SQUAD

 

Goalkeepers – Matthew Grech (Floriana FC); Andreas Vella (Mosta FC).

 

Defenders – Kurt Shaw (Sliema Wanderers); Karl Micallef (Ħamrun Spartans FC); Dunstan Vella (Hibernians FC); Kurt Zammit (Birkirkara FC); Neil Tabone (Żejtun Corinthians FC); Michele Sansone (Sliema Wanderers FC).

 

Midfielders – Conor Borg (AS Roma); Nikolai Muscat (Gżira United FC); Jake Grech (Birkirkara FC); Dylan Agius (Pietà Hotspurs FC); Zachary Scerri (Gżira United FC); Juan Corbalan (Gżira United FC).

 

Forwards – Jurgen Degabriele (Hibernians FC); Joseph Mbong (Hibernians FC); Kyrian Nwoko (Valletta FC); Andrea Borg (Peterborough United FC).

 

TURKEY UNDER-21 SQUAD


Goalkeepers – Muhammed Şengezer (Bursaspor); Berke Özer (Altınordu A.Ş.); Altay Bayındır (MKE Ankaragücü)

 

Defenders – Savaş Polat (Konya Anadolu Selçukspor); Yusuf Acer (Altınordu A.Ş); Merih Demiral (Sporting Lisbon II); Gökhan Kardeş (Juventus Bükreş); Fatih Aksoy (Beşiktaş A.Ş.); Alperen Babacan (Denizlispor).

 

Midfielders – Dorukhan Toköz (Eskişehirspor); Ahmed Ildız (Kasımpaşa A.Ş.); Harun Alpsoy (Antalyaspor A.Ş.); Atakan Rıdvan Çankaya (Altay); Orkan Çınar (Atiker Konyaspor); Melih Okutan (Boluspor); Yusuf Sarı (Olimpik Marsilya); Barış Alıcı (Altınordu A.Ş.); Berk Yıldız (Evkur Yeni Malatyaspor).

 

Forwards – Oğulcan Çağlayan (Çaykur Rizespor A.Ş.); Deniz Hümmet (Trelleborgs FF).
 

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