Malta Football Association
Bright showing earns Malta girls first point
Nov 7, 2019
Posted in:
UEFA Women's EURO 2021 Qualifiers
Maria Farrugia scoring Malta's goal. PHOTO: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Maria Farrugia scoring Malta's goal. PHOTO: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

  • Maria Farrugia scoring Malta's goal. PHOTO: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • PHOTO: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • PHOTO: Domenic Aquilina/MFA





The Malta women’s national team picked up their first point in Group B of the UEFA Women’s Euro 2021 qualifying campaign after a 1-1 draw against Israel at the Centenary Stadium.


Buoyed by the positive display in last month’s home qualifier against Italy (0-2), the Maltese side put on another bright showing, putting pressure on the 63rd-ranked Israel for long stretches.


After taking a deserved first-half lead through Maria Farrugia, the Maltese girls had two clear chances at the start of the second half but were unable to add to their advantage with Israel making a reaction to equalise.


Farrugia, who plays for Sunderland AFC Ladies, was one of the stand-out players for Mark Gatt’s team but it was a collective effort from the Maltese girls who scored their first goal and earned their first point in their fourth qualifier.


Coach Gatt kept faith with the same players who started the Italy qualifier with Dorianne Theuma captaining the team in her 95th appearance.


A good header by Brenda Borg went wide after two minutes as the match started with Israel trying to push forward while Malta initially opted for a cautious approach.


In the 12th minute, Israel had a good chance through Eden Avital but Malta goalkeeper Janice Xuereb was alert to avert the danger.


Four minutes later, Theuma got on the end of a well-struck cross by Rachel Cuschieri but her effort was marginally off target as the Maltese started to grow in confidence.


On the half-hour mark, Israel came close to taking the lead as they profited from a mistake in the middle to launch a counter-attack but Beck was denied by Xuereb.


Five minutes later, Malta were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the area but Cuschieri’s drive sailed inches over the bar. Nonetheless, Malta were not to be denied. In the 37th minute, Cuschieri advanced before switching play to Borg who guided a through-ball towards Farrugia. The Sunderland AFC Ladies player fired a low shot that rolled into the far corner for Malta’s first goal, to the delight of her team-mates and home fans.


After the half-time break, the Maltese started on the offensive but squandered a glorious chance to double their lead when Borg missed the target from close range. The hosts continued to dominate proceedings with Farrugia coming close to scoring a brilliant goal when she dribbled past three opponents but her shot was blocked just in time by the Israel backline.


Israel replied with a long-range free-kick from Marian Awad but she skied the ball over the bar. They managed to level terms when stalwart Beck hit a first-timer from the edge of the area that had the better of Xuereb.


On 79 minutes, Keren Goor was denied Jade Flask who managed to clear the danger just in time.


In the closing stages, Israel pressed for a winning goal but the Maltese girls held firm before winning a couple of corners in stoppage time but the score remained unchanged.


Next up for the Maltese girls is the high-profile clash with Italy next Tuesday at Castel di Sangro.


Janice Xuereb, Emma Lipman, Stefania Farrugia, Dorianne Theuma, Rachel Cuschieri (90 Martina Borg), Maria Farrugia, Shona Zammit, Jade Flask, Charlene Zammit, Brenda Borg (62 Ylenia Carabott), Nicole Sciberras (46 Alishia Sultana).


Hanit Schwarz, Lia Barkal, Opal Sofer (46 Marian Awad), Keren Goor, Shay Sade, Shahar Nakav, Shani David (46 Daniela Sofer) (58 Shira Elinav), Mor Efraim, Eden Avital, Karin Sendel, Sharon Beck.


Referee: Aleksandra Cesen (Slovenia).

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