Malta Football Association
The players gave everything, says Farrugia
Oct 15, 2018
Posted in:
National Team
Malta midfielder Rowen Muscat celebrating his goal. Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Malta midfielder Rowen Muscat celebrating his goal. Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

Malta coach Ray Farrugia hailed his team’s never-say-die performance in the 1-1 draw against Azerbaijan at the Olympic Stadium in Baku on Sunday.

Rowen Muscat’s 37th minute goal earned Malta their second point in Group D3 of the UEFA Nations League with Farrugia’s players showing great resilience to hold out for a draw as Azerbaijan pressed hard for a winner after Araz Abdullayev had levelled matters for the hosts early in the second half.


“For us, it was a very good performance,” Farrugia said afterwards.


“Credit also to Azerbaijan who have a very good team but for us playing away, scoring, getting a point… it was a very good performance by our players. They gave everything.


“We were coming from a difficult match in Kosovo, it was a very tough match but I want to thank my players because it was an exceptional effort.”


Farrugia, who was appointed Malta coach in May, reiterated his belief that the national team is moving in the right direction.


“We are in the process of introducing more young players from the Under-21 team and we have to be patient,” he said.


“I believe we’re already showing that we’re moving forward but it will take time.”


Sunday’s point rewarded the team’s collective effort with the experienced players leading the way and the younger elements like Joseph Mbong and Juan Corbalan responding with an enterprising performance.


“I said from the beginning, we will have experienced players teaching the young players, this is the only way forward for us,” Farrugia added.


“The young players (Mbong and Corbalan) deserve praise but I also praise all the other players. We had a very good game today and were not afraid to go forward.


“This is the players’ job… they know that they must take their chance and show that they deserve to be in the team. Others will follow.”


Apart from Mbong and Corbalan, who started the game, Malta Under-21 captain Jake Grech came on for Alfred Effiong with eight minutes remaining.


Malta will conclude their commitments in Group D3 of the UEFA Nations League next month with two home games at the National Stadium against Kosovo on November 17 and Faroe Islands three days later.


After four games, Kosovo top Group D3 with eight points followed by Azerbaijan on six. Faroe Islands have four and Malta two.

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