Malta Football Association
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First-half goals steer Norway past Malta in Oslo
Sep 5, 2019
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UEFA EURO 2020 - EQ
PHOTO: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
PHOTO: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

EURO 2020 Qualifying Round – Group F

 

05/09/2019 – Ullevaal Stadium

 

NORWAY 2

MALTA     0


Norway took the three points from their EURO 2020 Group F home qualifier against Malta, scoring twice in the first half, the second from a penalty, for a 2-0 victory at the Ullevaal Stadium.

 

The Malta players produced a resolute performance against their more-quoted opponents who enjoyed more possession, especially, in the opening half but Ray Farrugia’s team improved significantly in the second. The attention of the Maltese side now shifts to another difficult away qualifier, against Romania, on Sunday.

 

Farrugia handed a competitive debut to Hibernians midfielder Dunstan Vella, one of five players from the last U-21 team in Malta’s starting formation. Joseph Mbong, Juan Corbalan, Jake Grech and Kyrian Nwoko were also named in the initial XI.

 

Norway dictated the early exchanges with Even Hovland’s header going wide from an inviting corner by Martin Odegaard.

 

Farrugia was forced into an early change as Zach Muscat’s participation was cut short by injury after 20 minutes. He was replaced by Ferdinando Apap.

 

Norway opened the scoring on 34 minutes. From a throw-in down the left, Hovland flicked the ball backward and into the path of Sander Berge who beat Bonello with a close-range header.

 

The hosts continued to press forward, Bonello producing a finger-tip save to push Stefan Johansen’s rising shot onto the crossbar.

 

Towards the end of the first half, Norway were awarded a penalty after Moldovan referee Dumitru Muntean deemed that Nwoko had pushed Hovland inside the box. Joshua King hit home from the penalty spot, the ball soaring over Bonello who dived the right way.

 

The second half saw Malta come more into the game.

 

A good run by Juan Corbalan ended with the latter crossing into the box with the ball falling to Grech whose shot was blocked.

 

Another fine Malta move saw Grech dash into the box from the right but his cross-shot was pushed out by Norway goalkeeper Rune Jarstein.

 

Jean Paul Farrugia, who had replaced Paul Fenech, headed just over the bar after meeting a cross by Mbong on the left.

 

Deep into stoppage time, Odegaard’s strong drive from outside the area missed the target.

 

With this win, Norway moved on eight points, two behind Sweden – 4-0 winners over the Faroe Islands, in second place and seven adrift of leaders Spain who edged Romania 2-1.

 

NORWAY
Rune Jarstein, Haitam Aleesami, Even Hovland, Havard Nordtveit, Joshua King (58 Bjorn Johnsen), Stefan Johansen (76 Mathias Normann), Omar Elabdellaoui, Sander Berge, Ole Selnaes, Martin Odegaard, Erling Braut Haaland (66 Tarik Elyounoussi).

 

MALTA
Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Andrei Agius, Jake Grech (77 Alfred Effiong), Joseph Mbong, Paul Fenech (64 Jean Paul Farrugia), Kyrian Nwoko, Rowen Muscat, Dunstan Vella, Juan Corbalan, Zach Muscat (22 Ferdinando Apap).

 

Referee: Dumitru Muntean (Moldova).

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