Malta Football Association
Gallant Malta end EURO 2020 campaign with gutsy display
Nov 18, 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
  • PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

EURO 2020 – Qualifying Round Group F

National Stadium – Ta' Qali 18/11/2019

MALTA       1
(HT 1-1)

Malta produced a strong response after their disappointing defeat to Spain as they ended their EURO 2020 qualifying campaign with a gutsy performance in a narrow 2-1 defeat to Norway at the National Stadium. Norway started strongly, taking an early lead, but Paul Fenech's equaliser five minutes before the break gave the the Maltese team a new lease of life. Led by coach Ray Farrugia, Malta upped the tempo in the second half but Norway restored their one-goal advantage before Henry Bonello saved a penalty, taken by Joshua King, to keep the hosts in the game but their efforts to gain an equaliser fell just short.

Compared with the starting line-up against Spain last Friday, Farrugia made four changes. Valletta duo Joseph Zerafa and Steve Borg, who was returning from suspension, started in defence instead of Jonathan Caruana, who was not fully fit, and Jurgen Pisani, Paul Fenech replaced the injured Juan Corbalan while striker Michael Mifsud, who started up front, was preferred to midfielder Brandon Paiber.

Norway grabbed an early lead. Mats Moller-Daehli advanced into the penalty box from the right and sent a low cross to King who hit past Bonello in two attempts.


On 15 minutes, Bonello blocked a shot by Alexander Sorloth and three minutes later, Steve Borg stopped another attempt by King. The towering Bournemouth striker had another excellent opportunity in the 28th minute, but just missed target after being sent through by Birger Meling on the left.


Malta had an inviting opportunity through Kyrian Nwoko on the half hour mark. The Valletta forward burst his way through the Norwegian defence down the inside-left channel but his low attempt hit the side-netting.


In the 40th minute, Malta drew level. Captain Mifsud kept the Norwegian rearguard busy with one of his darting runs and his inch-perfect pass found Paul Fenech who beat a hapless Orjan Nyland with a fine drive.

During the first 15 minutes of the second half, Malta tried to press the visitors into their own half with Mifsud, Nwoko and Joseph Mbong  combining well. However, just after the hour mark, Norway regained their lead thanks to an easy tap-in by Sorloth after a pass from the right by Sander Berg as Malta were caught on the counter.



Three minutes later, Sorloth could have added a third but was fouled in the box by Zach Muscat with the referee in charge awarding Norway a penalty. However, King’s attempt from the spot was superbly saved by Bonello.


As the minutes ticked away, Malta increased their pressure. In the 82nd minute, an Andrei Agius header hit the side-netting after a free-kick from the right side. A minute later, Malta appealed for a penalty after a Norwegian defender appeared to touch the ball with his hands in the box but the assistant had already flagged for a goal-kick after Zerafa’s cross had crossed the line.


In the last minutes of the match, Farrugia's men tried very hard to force an equaliser but couldn’t manage to find a way past the robust Norway defence.


On 70 minutes, midfielder Nikolai Muscat made his debut for Malta.


In the same group, Group F winners Spain crushed Romania with a 5-0 scoreline while Sweden beat the Faroe Islands 3-0. 

Henry Bonello, Joseph Zerafa, Andrei Agius, Steve Borg (Ferdinando Apap 74), Zach Muscat, Dunstan Vella (Alfred Effiong 60), Joseph Mbong, Paul Fenech, Rowen Muscat (Nikolai Muscat 70), Michael Mifsud, Kyrian Nwoko.

Coach: Raymond Farrugia.


Orjan Nyland, Birger Meling, Kristoffer Ajer, Tore Reginiussen, Jonas Svensson (Tarik Elyounoussi 64), Iver Fossum, Markus Henriksen, Sander Berge, Mats Moller-Daehli (Omar Elabdellaoui 46), Alexander Sorloth, Joshua King (Fredrik Ulvestadt 89)

Coach: Lars Lagerback.

Referee: Aliyar Aghayev (Azerbaijan)


Attendance: 2,708

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