Malta Football Association
Superior Kosovo capitalise on Malta's mistakes in big win
Nov 17, 2018
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National Stadium, Ta’ Qali,
UEFA Nations League
Group Stage - League D - Group 3

MALTA        0
(HT 0-1)

Malta paid the price for two fatal mistakes as they lost  0-5 to Kosovo in their penultimate UEFA Nations League Group D3 match on a rainy evening at Ta’ Qali. Things did not go as planned for the hosts, who met a determined Kosovo team who were clearly the better team and fully deserve top spot in the group.


It was Roderick Briffa's 100th match for Malta who was fittingly given the captain’s armband on the occasion.


With barely two minutes on the clock, Vedat Muriqi almost gave the visitors an early lead with a flying header after a cross from the right which just went inches wide. Three minutes later, a shot from Herolind Shala from just outside the box hit the side-netting.  

In the 15th minute, Kosovo took the lead.
A miscued pass in defence by Joseph Mbong was picked up by Milot Rashica who served the unmarked Muriqi who coolly placed the ball past Malta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg.
Seven minutes later, the industrious Arber Zeneli penetrated through the heart of the Maltese defence but drifted to the side and his low shot did not trouble Hogg. 
On 35 minutes, a shot by Valon Berisha from just outside the box sailed over the crossbar. The same Berisha could have put his side 0-2 up on 40 minutes but Hogg saved his low shot in style.
The Maltese gradually came more into the match against a strong Kosovo side who showed great skill and cohesion throughout the match.
The second half was five minutes old when Briffa had a shot at goal which was deflected away a corner.
It marked the start of a period when the hosts saw more of the ball.
Coach Ray Farrugia brought strikers Alfred Effiong and Michael Mifsud for Juan Corbolan and Rowen Muscat in a double substitution to boost Malta's chances of scoring an equaliser but our hopes suffered a blow when Kosovo doubled their lead on 70 minutes.
Benjamin Kolloli profited from a misunderstanding in the Maltese defence and beat Hogg with a beautiful lob. 
Seven minutes after Kosovo added a third goal when Muriqi was released on the right, crossed the ball towards substitute Donis Avdijaj who placed the ball behind Hogg.
A minute later Kosovo added their fourth goal, again through Avdijaj in similar fashion, now served by Rashica from the right.
Luke Gambin’s shot from just outside the box in the 82nd minute was well saved by Samir Ujkani.
With three minutes left, Rashica made it 0-5 for the visitors with a shot from just outside the box.
Azerbaijan beat the Faroe Islands 2-0 in the other Group D3 game which means that Kosovo need a point next Tuesday in Prishtina to win the group and promotion to League C of the UEFA Nations League. 
A. Hogg, J. Zerafa, J. Caruana, R. Camilleri, Z. Muscat, J. Mbong, R. Muscat, (M. Mifsud 64’), R. Briffa, (P. Fenech 74’), J. Corbalan, (A. Effiong 64’), L. Gambin, A. Schembri. Coach: Raymond Farrugia
S. Ujkani, F. Aliti, A. Rrahmani, M.Vojvoda, H.Shala, H.Kryeziu, M.Rashica, V.Berisha, (B.Halimi 61’), A.Zeneli, (D.Avdijaj 71), B.Kololli, V. Muriqi, (S. Demhasaj 84’). Coach: Bernard Challandes
Referee: Bartosz Frankowski (Poland)
Attendance: 2,900
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