Malta Football Association
Terrific effort earns Malta victory over Faroe Islands
Mar 23, 2019
Posted in:
National Team
Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

  • Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photos: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

MALTA                  2


Malta began their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign on a top note after beating Faroe Islands 2-1 at the National Stadium on Saturday.

A lively and dramatic match saw Malta produce a terrific performance in the first half, going in for the break 1-0 ahead thanks to Kyrian Nwoko’s header, to the delight of the vociferous home fans, led by the South End Core.


The game took an unexpected twist when Andrei Agius was sent off early in the second half for a handling infringement but goalkeeper Henry Bonello produced an outstanding save to deny Hendriksson from the spot.


Despite being down to 10 men, the Maltese players, under the guidance of coach Ray Farrugia, kept their composure, showing great fighting spirit and tactical organisation which resulted in a second goal. Steve Borg converted a penalty after the sprinting Joseph Mbong was upended in the Faroe Islands’ box.


It was only deep into stoppage time that Faroe Islands pulled one back through Jakup Thomsen with the Maltese holding out for a well-deserved win and a timely morale booster ahead of Tuesday’s difficult match against Spain.


“I have no words to thank the players for their amazing effort today,” Farrugia said afterwards.


“Their performance was excellent. I’m also grateful to our supporters who stayed behind the team throughout the match.”


Malta’s hard-earned but deserved win over Faroe Islands ended a 13-year wait for a competitive win at home.


Nwoko marked his first start for Malta with a well-taken goal and Matthew Guillaumier made his senior debut as Farrugia and his coaching staff kept their promise of promoting more young players to the team.


Malta made their attacking intentions clear from the start, going close with an attempt by midfielder Rowen Muscat but Faroese goalkeper Gunnar Nielsen saved the ball away for a corner.


The hosts’ bright start produced an opener in the 13th minute. Muscat crossed to Paul Fenech who served Nwoko and the towering striker headed into the net.


Malta threatened to double their lead five minutes later but another Nwoko header ended slightly wide.


The red-shirted players stayed on top throughout the first half with Bonello hardly tested in goal.


Faroe Islands made a reaction as the second half got underway but the Maltese were holding firm.


Seventeen minutes into the second half, Malta suffered a blow when Agius was dismissed after being adjudged to have blocked Hallur Hansson’s effort with his arm. Faroe Islands were awarded a penalty but Brandur Hendriksson’s drive brought a fine save from Bonello.


This save boosted Malta’s morale who not only weathered Faroe Islands’ pressure but increased their lead 14 minutes from the end. Mbong broke clear on the counter, surging past three Faroe Islands players before being floored in the box.


Refereee Vilhjalmur Thorarinsson pointed to the spot and Borg drilled the ball into the bottom corner.


Faroe Islands tried to get back into the match in a nervy finale but the resilient Maltese players repelled their opponents’ attacks.


It was only in the last of the seven additional minutes that Faroe Islands reduced the margin when Thomsen slotted home amid a goalmouth scramble.


Henry Bonello, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Andre Agius, Matthew Guillaumier, Joseph Mbong, Paul Fenech, Michael Mifsud (72 Joseph Zerafa), Kyrian Nwoko, Rowen Muscat (84 John Mintoff), Juan Corbalan (63 Zach Muscat).


Subs: Nicky Vella, Justin Haber, Karl Micallef, Dunstan Vella, Luke Montebello, Ryan Camilleri, Bjorn Kristensen, Jake Grech, Nikolai Muscat


Gunnar Nielsen, Viljormur Davidsen, Atli Gregersen, Hallur Hansson, Brandur Hendriksson, Gilli Rolantsson, Solvi Vatnhamar (68 Kaj Bartalsstovu), Rogvi Baldvinsson (79 Arni Frederiksberg), Jakup Thomsen, Odmar Faero, Rene Joensen (72 Klaemint Olsen).


Subs: Teitur Gestsson, Karstin Hansen, Magnus Egilsson, Bartal Wardum, Heini Vatnsdal, Joan Edmundsson


Referee: Vilhjalmur Thorarinsson (Iceland).



Malta coach Ray Farrugia has called up Senglea Athletic winger Leighton Grech to the 23-man squad as Andrei Agius is suspended for Tuesday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Spain at the National Stadium following his red card in today's game against Faroe Islands.

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