Malta Football Association
Romania make most of chances in Malta victory
Jun 10, 2019
Posted in:
National Team
PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

  • PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA


National Stadium, Ta’ Qali, Malta

(HT 0-3)

The Maltese national team concluded their 2018-2019 season with a 0-4 defeat to Romania at the National Stadium on Matchday Four of the Euro 2020 qualifying group F.

Although Romania deserved their win as they had a an edge over Malta, the 4-0 scoreline was somewhat harsh for the home team who played good football and also created a host of chances but paid the price for conceding three goals inside the opening 35 minutes.

From the match in Stockholm last Friday, where Malta lost 3-0 to Sweden, flank defender Joseph Zerafa and Balzan midfielder Paul Fenech, a second-half substitute against Sweden, made a return to the starting line-up.


Luke Montebello and Jake Grech, who started against the Swedes, were on the bench but entered the fray in the second half.

It was the first time Malta met Romania at senior level which means that Malta has now played at least once against all UEFA associated nations.


Malta started well, enjoying more ball possession and taking the game to Romania.


On six minutes, a corner from Fenech found Andrei Agius unexpectedly unmarked, but the Malta captain’s effort sailed high over the crossbar.


In the attack what followed, Romania took the lead thanks to Palermo’s George Pușcaș, beating Henry Bonello with a low drive after a cross from the left from Nicușor Bancu. On 17 minutes, the same Pușcaș could have doubled the score when he was sent through on the right but was denied by the woodwork.

Two minutes later, Malta could have done better in a three-against-two situation as Juan Corbalan had open space in front of him through the middle but his shot was too weak to trouble Romania goalkeeper Ciprian Tătărușanu.

In the 29th minute the visitors doubled their lead. It was Pușcaș who set up a one two with Claudiu Keșerü and beat Bonello again with another low drive, his second of the evening. Four minutes later, the unmarked Alexandru Chipciu all but sealed the issue for Romania as he scored the third with an accurate shot from outside the box after Malta struggled to deal with a set-piece.

Alfred Effiong then had two good opportunities to narrow the deficit. His effort on 37 minutes from the left side of the box just missed target and on the stroke of half-time, the Balzan striker surged through but with only the goalkeeper to beat, he was dispossessed by substitute Cristian Sapunaru.


The first opportunity of the second half arrived in the 56th minute when a quick Luke Gambin throw-in released Effiong but his effort just missed target.


A minute later, a free-kick by Keșerü was blocked in style by Bonello. On 69 minutes, a Răzvan Marin scorcher from just outside the box hit the crossbar.


After this, the match's rhythm dropped with few goalscoring opportunities. The hosts tried hard to find openings in the Romanian rearguard but the latter did well to administer their 3-0 advantage.

With 10 minutes to go, a Pușcaș header from a corner sailed inches over the crossbar. A minute later, Chipciu received his second yellow card of the evening and his marching orders.


Substitute Michael Mifsud, making his 139th appearance for Malta, had a shot on goal on 85 minutes but his effort missed target.


Malta were now pushing for a consolidation goal but in a counter-attack, substitute Dennis Man added a fourth goal for the visitors.


Next up for Malta in this qualifying group are two away matches, the first one in Norway on September 5, followed by a trip to Romania three days later.



Henry Bonello, Joseph Zerafa, Steve Borg, Andrei Agius, Zach Muscat, Joseph Mbong, Juan Corbalan (Luke Montebello 84), Rowen Muscat, Paul Fenech (Jake Grech 59), Luke Gambin (Michael Mifsud 67), Alfred Effiong.

Coach: Ray Farrugia.



Ciprian Tătărușanu, Nicușor Bancu, Ionuț Nedelcearu (Cristian Săpunaru 35), Iulian Cristea, Alexandru Chipciu, Alexandru Maxim (Dorin Rotariu 74), Tudor Băluță, Ianis Hagi, Răzvan Marin, George Pușcaș, Claudiu Keșerü (Dennis Man 65). Coach: Cosmin Contra.

Referee: Dennis Higler (The Netherlands)


Red card: Alexandru Chipciu 81 (two yellow cards).

Official Sponsors
Commercial Partners