Malta Football Association
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Spirited Malta U-21s draw 0-0 against Northern Ireland
Sep 6, 2019
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U/21 Qualifiers
The Malta U-21 team at the start of their match against Northern Ireland.
The Malta U-21 team at the start of their match against Northern Ireland.

  • The Malta U-21 team at the start of their match against Northern Ireland.

2021 UEFA U21 Qualifying Group 8

Ballymena Showgrounds – 06/09/2019


N. IRELAND 0
MALTA          0

 

The Malta Under-21 team produced a strong performance to secure a point from their opening 2021 UEFA Under-21 Championship Group 8 qualifier after holding Northern Ireland to a 0-0 draw at the Ballymena Showgrounds.


It was indeed a spirited and lively display from the team led by Silvio Vella. Set out in a 4-1-4-1 formation, the Maltese team withstood the opponents’ relentless pressure in the opening half and kept their composure in the second period to earn a point.

 

Northern Ireland started on the offensive. On 13 minutes, Shea Gordon drove a low cross from the left but his finish was off target.

 

Malta responded well and on the half-hour mark, Kurt Shaw went close as he outjumped the Irish defence but his towering header ended just wide of goal, defended by young Celtic goalkeeper Conor Hazard.

 

At the start of the second half, Northern Ireland pressed forward in search of a goal but it was Malta who came close again. Jan Busuttil hit a powerful shot from the distance but Hazard denied him with a good save.

 

On the hour, Malta were dangerous once again. A good move initiated by Zachary Brincat ended with Shaw hitting over from just outside the box.

 

A minute later, Northern Ireland’s Jake Dunwoody had an attempt on goal but Malta keeper Andreas Vella was in a perfect position to block his shot. Seconds later, Robert Burns saw his close-range header from a corner finish just over.

 

With 19 minutes left, a David Parkhouse header sailed over the bar for Northern Ireland.

 

In the final stages, the Malta players were able to keep possession better and held out for a draw which rewards their brilliant effort.

 

Malta now travel to Ukraine for their second UEFA U-21 Championship Group 8 qualifier on Tuesday. Ukraine lost 2-0 at home to Finland on Friday.

 

NORTHERN IRELAND
Conor Hazard, Eoin Toal, Robert Burns, Kofi Balmer, Jake Dunwoody, Alfie McCalmont (Ethan Galbraith 71), Kyle McClean (Lewis McCann 78), David Parkhouse, Shea Gordon (Cameron Palmer 72), Lewis Thompson, Stephen Boyd Munce (Cristopher Gallagher 88). Coach – Ian Baraclough.

 

MALTA
Andreas Vella, Zachary Grech, Gary Camilleri, Kurt Shaw, Nicholas Pulis, Jean Borg, Aidan Friggieri (Jan Tanti 81), Michele Sansone, Zachary Brincat (Omar Elouni 92), Jan Busuttil (David Xuereb 69), Myles Beerman. Coach – Silvio Vella.

 

Referee: Ferenc Karako (Hungary).

 

Attendance: 723.

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