Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Malta well-prepared for tough Kosovo test – Farrugia
Nov 16, 2018
Posted in:
General
National Team
UEFA EURO 2020 - EQ
Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

  • Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photo: Joe Borg/MFA

Malta coach Ray Farrugia is aware of the difficulty of the task awaiting his team in Saturday’s UEFA Nations League match against Group D3 leaders Kosovo at the National Stadium (18.00) but he is backing his players to rise to the challenge.


Kosovo are in pole position to qualify for the Euro 2020 play-offs as they lead the group with eight points, two ahead of Azerbaijan with two matches remaining. Faroe Islands have four points and Malta two.

 

Last month, Kosovo claimed a 3-1 win over Malta in Pristina but Farrugia expects a better showing from his team on home soil.

 

“We are aware of the quality of Kosovo in what will be a difficult game for us,” Farrugia told the pre-match press conference.

 

“We have been preparing as well as we can for this match.

 

“The away game against Kosovo was a tough test and we lost 3-1 but we made a strong reaction to gain a 1-1 draw against Azerbaijan.

 

“It was not easy for us to bounce back from a 3-1 defeat but the players showed great character and this gives me courage for the home game against Kosovo.”

 

Central defenders Andrei Agius and Steve Borg are suspended for Saturday’s game after both collected their second yellow card in the 1-1 draw against Azerbaijan but they will be available to play in the final UEFA Nations League Group D3 match against Faroe Islands at the National Stadium this coming Tuesday.

 

Farrugia indicated that the returning Zach Muscat and Jonathan Caruana are in line to replace Agius and Borg in the heart of defence while winger Luke Gambin is also set to start.

 

While the national team’s coaching staff are focusing on the Kosovo match, Farrugia said that they are also doing extra work in training to prepare for Tuesday’s match against Faroe Islands.

 

The Malta coach reiterated his satisfaction about the dressing-room atmosphere and the fact that the young players are integrating well with the established ones.

 

“The experienced players are opening the doors for the youngsters to come through and make the step-up to the senior team,” Farrugia said.

 

“This is one of the most positive aspects of our work since taking charge of the national team as the established players are really helping the youngsters who are giving the team a different dimension.”

 

SCHEMBRI UPBEAT

 

Andrè Schembri, who this week announced that he was retiring from the national team at the end of the UEFA Nations League group phase, also struck an upbeat note ahead of his final appearances for Malta.

 

“We have had more time to prepare for these games as we’ve been together since Monday,” Schembri said.

 

“We are fully concentrated and I believe we have the right players to produce a good performance. I’m optimistic that we can get good results from our final two games.”

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