Malta Football Association
Malta girls’ strong fightback falls short in Bosnia defeat
Mar 10, 2020
Posted in:
UEFA Women's EURO 2021 Qualifiers
PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

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

UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2021 – 10/03/2020


Xuereb 79
Borg 90


Krajsumovic 10, 26, 54

The Malta women’s national team produced a strong comeback as they scored two late goals but their efforts fell just short as Bosnia & Herzegovina prevailed 3-2 in a UEFA Women’s EURO qualifying match at the Centenary Stadium on Tuesday.


The score does not do justice to Malta’s display as Mark Gatt’s team created several chances to salvage at least a draw in this game. Nonetheless, these missed opportunities proved costly as Bosnia managed to capitalise on the chances they created to claim the spoils.


Malta’s fourth and fifth goals of the campaign were scored by Emma Xuereb, her third goal with the national team, and Brenda Borg with her fifth for her country.


For this game, coach Gatt made one change from the 2-1 victory over Georgia as the returning Shona Zammit replaced Ann-Marie Said in midfield.


Prior to the game, captain Dorianne Theuma was presented with a commemorative shirt by Malta FA President Bjorn Vassallo on the occasion of her 100th appearance for the national team - the first Maltese female player to reach this milestone.


Bosnia created the first chance of the game when Sofija Krajsumovic attempted a header on goal but her effort sailed over the bar. They managed to break the deadlock in the 10th minute when Krajsumovic profited from a mistake at the back to slot past goalkeeper Janice Xuereb.


Malta tried to stage a reaction through set-piece opportunities but were unable to level terms. Bosnia took advantage to double their lead with their second open-play chance of the game, Krajsumovic finding the net again with a header from close range.


It was at this stage that Malta started to give Bosnia a hard time at the back with Haley Bugeja and Maria Farrugia coming close to pulling one back for the hosts. First, the Mġarr United forward darted towards goal but her low drive was blocked by the Bosnia goalkeeper. Moments later, the Sunderland Ladies AFC player beat her opponent but her effort from a tight angle was unsuccessful.


In the 31st minute, captain Theuma had a shot from the edge of the area but could not beat the opposing goalkeeper.


Bosnia came close to a third through Selma Kapetanovic whose curling effort glanced in front of goal.


Malta kept going, recording another shot on target through Bugeja who, after beating her marker, tried to surprise the goalkeeper with a low drive but her effort was futile.


After the break, Bosnia & Herzegovina pushed for another goal with Marija Aleksic directing a header on goal from a set-piece.


On 53 minutes, Rachel Cuschieri had a shot from the edge of the area but her curling effort went wide. Moments later, Bosnia increased their lead thank to Krajsumovic’s third of the game as she lobbed over Xuereb.


Malta refused to give up. They could have narrowed the deficit through Bugeja but was again denied by the Bosnia goalkeeper. Bosnia’s Aleksic was thwarted by Xuereb.


As the second half moved on, coach Gatt made substitutions to freshen things up. One of these substitutes, Emma Xuereb, reduced the deficit to two goals when she capitalised on a Bugeja assist.


Late in the game, Bugeja whipped in another delightful cross into the box only for the goalkeeper to anticipate Martina Borg in the nick of time. Moments later, Brenda Borg let fly a superb curling effort from the edge of the area that was turned away for a corner by the Bosnia goalkeeper.


Borg did manage to find the net for Malta but it was late for Gatt’s side to push for an equaliser as Bosnia held on to win 3-2.

Malta will host Denmark in their next European qualifier on April 14.


Meanwhile, the match was preceded by a minute’s silence in memory of Tyrone Demanuele, the former Gżira United FC official who also served on the Malta FA Executive Committee and Council.


Janice Xuereb, Emma Lipman, Stefania Farrugia, Dorianne Theuma, Rachel Cuschieri (65 Emma Xuereb), Maria Farrugia (76 Martina Borg), Shona Zammit (57 Nicole Sciberras), Jade Flask, Charlene Zammit, Brenda Borg, Haley Bugeja.
Coach: Mark Gatt.

Dijana Haracic, Nikolina Dijakovic (89 Valentina Sakotic), Sejla Selimovic (75 Nikolina Vujadin), Melisa Hasanbegovic, Marija Aleksic, Dajana Spasojevic, Dula Velagic, Milena Nikolic, Selma Kapetanovic, Sofija Krajsumovic, Amela Krso.
Coach: Samira Huren.

Referee: Neslihan Muratdagi (Turkey). 

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