Malta Football Association
Two first-half goals dent Malta U21's hopes in Albania
Nov 16, 2018
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International Under-21 friendly – 16.11.2018


MALTA         0


Two first-half goals handed Albania Under-21 a 2-0 win over a new look Malta Under-21 team in a friendly match played on Friday.


Connor Zammit, Nicholas Pulis, Bradley Schembri and Jamie Zerafa all included in the starting XI by coach Silvio Vella made their Under21 debut in an otherwise positive game for the young Maltese players who created chances but were not clinical enough in front of goal.


First starting line-up appearance at this level having previously played bit part at the latter stages of the competition just over for Jan Busuttil and Zachary Brincat, and first Under21 appearance but as substitutes on Friday night in Albania for Joseph Mario Vella, David Xuereb, Andrea Borg and Jan Tanti.


Six minutes into the game Malta went close to opening the scoring when Myles Beerman crossed from the right but Jan Busuttil’s effort went over.


On 14 minutes, Sherif Kallaku's free-kick for Albania was easily saved by Malta goalkeeper Andreas Vella.


Silvio Vella's team were having a go at their opponents in the early stages. On 24 minutes, Malta went close again as Schembri's cross was headed over by Malta forward Zach Brincat. 


On 32 minutes, Arbnor Mucolli squandered a good chance for Albania when failing to control the ball properly in front of goal and keeper Vella made a crucial save.


Two minutes later, Albania forged ahead. After receiving a square ball from Omar Imeri, Rubin Heba finished in style with his left foot from the edge of the box.


Just before the interval, Sliema Wanderers defender Michele Sansone was adjudged to have floored Hebaj in the six-yard box and from the penalty spot,  Omar Imeri beat Vella to make the score 2-0.


The second half was dominated by substitions from both sides, being a friendly both teams were allowed six each. 


The rest no big chances on either sides with all in all comfortable 45minutes for both keepers.


On 54 minutes a corner from the right great coordination by substitute Esat Mala who fired a fierce shot from outside the box, ball hit the woodwork before dropping on the line and with some scuffle Malta defense managed to clear the danger. 


One more chance for Malta on 72 minutes, a great effort from 30 yards out by Jamie Zerafa ball just over the bar. 


Malta Under-21 Starting XI:- 1) Andreas Vella, 16) Michele Sansone, 3) Connor Zammit, 4) Nicholas Pulis, 2) Jean Borg, 6) Matthew Guillaumier, 8) Jamie Zerafa (David Xuereb 83), 18) Bradley Schembri (Joseph Mario Vella 60), 11) Myles Beerman (Andrea Borg 74 (Jan Tanti 77), 10) Jan Busuttil (Aidan Friggieri 74), 9) Zachary Brincat.

Subs not used:- Timmy Aquilina, Kurt Shaw, Zach Cassar, Zachary Grech.


Final score - Albania 2-0 Malta


After Friday’s friendly defeat, the Malta Under-21 team on Sunday moves from Durres to another Albanian city, Shkodër, for the second friendly against Albania U21 to be played on Monday at the Loro Boriçi Stadium, kickoff @1900h.

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