Malta Football Association
Malta undone by late goals in Torshavn
Sep 3, 2020
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PHOTOS: Mark Zammit Cordina
PHOTOS: Mark Zammit Cordina

  • PHOTOS: Mark Zammit Cordina
  • PHOTOS: Mark Zammit Cordina
  • PHOTOS: Mark Zammit Cordina
  • PHOTOS: Mark Zammit Cordina


03/09/2020 - League D Group 1
Tórsvøllur – Torshavn

MALTA                      2
(HT 1-1)

K. Olsen 25, J. Degabriele 37, A. Agius 73, A.O lsen 87, B. Hendriksson 90.
Two goals in the last four minutes dampened a positive Malta performance as Faroe Islands prevailed 3-2 in the opening UEFA Nations League Group D1 opener, played behind closed doors. It was a harsh defeat for the Maltese team who had shown character to come from a goal down on a cold evening in Torshavn but the hosts had the final say with a late flourish.

Devis Mangia took charge of his first match as Malta coach after a number of friendly matches were called off earlier this year due to to the Covid-19 crisis. The hosts also had a new coach on the bench as Swede Håkan Ericson took over from long-serving coach Lars Olsen.
Faroe Islands enjoyed the better start but Malta grew in confidence as the first half progressed.
In the 14th minute, Brandur Hendriksson had the chance to put the hosts in front but goalkeeper Henry Bonello was alert to avert the danger. Nine minutes later, striker Jóannes Bjartalíð was sent through but his low shot just missed target. But two minutes later, the hosts grabbed the lead thanks to a header by Klæmint Olsen following a cross from the right.
Close to the half hour mark, captain Andrei Agius was pushed inside the box during a corner action but the referee waved away Malta's penalty appeals. On 35 minutes, a 25-metre shot by Luke Gambin was saved without much difficulty by Faroe Islands goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen.
Two minutes later, Malta equalised. Jurgen Degabriele curled a low shot into the far corner from the edge of the box after a flowing Malta attack on the left involving Kyrian Nwoko and Gambin. Three minutes before the break, a long-distance shot of Matthew Guillaumier nearly had the better of Nielsen who turned the ball away for a corner.
In the 10th minute of the second half, Malta survived a scare as Joseph Mbong's attempt to clear the ball came off the crossbar. At the other end, barely a minute later, Gambin’s shot on target from just outside the box was saved by Nielsen.
In the 68th minute, Klæmint Olsen’s attempt was blocked by Bonello.
In the 73rd minute, Malta took the lead. A free-kick by Gambin sailed towards the far post and in the path of the unmarked Andrei Agius who beat Nielsen with an angled shot.
Seven minutes later, the hosts should have equalised but Dan í Soylun’s attempt from close in was turned away for a corner by a brilliant Bonello. Three minutes from time, however, Faroe Islands managed to level thanks to an opportunistic goal by substitute Andreas Olsen who beat Bonello with a low shot from the edge of the box.
Malta's evening got even worse as in the 90th minute, a top corner free-kick by Hendriksson earned the hosts a narrow 3-2 win.
Earlier in the day, Latvia and Andorra figured in a goalless draw in Riga with Janis Ikaunieks missing a 56th minute penalty for the hosts. Malta host Latvia at the National Stadium on Sunday.
G. Nielsen, J. Danielsen, H. Vatnsdal, R. Nattestad, V. Davidsen, B. Hendriksson, S. Vatnhamar, H. Hansson, M. Olsen (D. Soylun 65), K. Olsen (A. Olsen 71), J. Bjartalíð (P.J ohanessen 79).
H. Bonello, Z. Muscat, S. Borg, A. Agius, R. Camenzuli, S. Pisani (R. Muscat 85), J. Mbong, M. Guillaumier (T. Teuma 79), L. Gambin, K. Nwoko, J. Degabriele (P. Mbong 71).
Referee: Adam Farkas (Hungary)
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