Malta Football Association
N. Ireland beat Malta U-21s with two second-half goals
Sep 4, 2020
Posted in:
U/21 Qualifiers


Centenary Stadium, Ta’ Qali
Qualifying round - Group 8

(HT 0-0)

R. Larkin 57, D. Parkhouse 67.

The Malta Under 21 team suffered a 2-0 defeat against Northern Ireland in their first home match in Group 8 of the UEFA Under 21 Championship. The Maltese youngsters held their own in a goalless first half but after the break, Northern Ireland showed the better ideas, sealing their win with two goals by the 67th minute.

Coach Silvio Vella had to do without several regulars as goalkeeper Andreas Vella, Jean Borg, Matthew Guillaumier, Shaun Dimech and Paul Mbong were all promoted to the senior national squad. Mosta striker Zachary Brincat was also missing after suffering a slight injury in training. 

Alex Satariano, of Sliema Wanderers, made his debut at U21 level and later  in the match, Carlo Zammit Lonardelli and Andrei Spiteri also made their first appearance for the Malta U21 side. 
The first half was quite balanced, with the visitors enjoying slightly more ball possession but without any exciting goalmouth action. Myles Beerman’s long-distance shot on the half-hour mark was turned away for a corner by goalkeeper Conor Hazard. The same Beerman was sent through four minutes later but Hazard again intercepted the danger. 
The danger for Northern Ireland came mostly from the right wing via the pacy Nathan Kerr. On the stroke of half-time, Northern Ireland were awarded a penalty after a foul by Beerman on Ross Larkin. However, goalkeeper Timothy Aquilina saved the effort from David Parkhouse to send both teams into the dressing room with a 0-0 score. 
Northern Ireland upped their game in the second half. In the sixth minute, after some pressure by the visiting tram, Alistair McCann’s header just missed target. In the 57th minute, Northern Ireland took the lead. Towering centre-back Eion Toal headed the ball against the post after a cross from the left with Larkin being alert to tap the ball behind Aquilina from the rebound. 
Ten minutes later, McCann was sent through but his effort was pushed away by Aquilina. The ball ended in the path of Parkhouse who had no trouble adding Northern Ireland’s second goal from close range. 
Not much happened thereafter despite Malta’s efforts to get back into the match.
Substitute Andrei Spiteri’s shot from just outside the box deep into added time just missed target. 

In the same group today, Romania beat Finland 3-1 while Denmark and Ukraine shared the spoils with a 1-1 draw.
Malta now play on Tuesday against Romania at the Centenary Stadium (behind closed doors).
Malta: T.Aquilina, K.Shaw, Z.Grech, N.Pulis, A.Satariano, G.Camilleri (C.Zammit Lonardelli 70), M.Beerman, J.Zerafa (D.Xuereb 60), A.Attard, A.Friggieri (J.Busuttil 60), N.Portelli (A.Spiteri 82).
Northern Ireland: C.Hazard, D.Amos, R.Larkin (K.Balmer 90), E.Toal, C.Marron, E.Galbraith, A.McCalmont (C.Gallagher 80), A.McCann (K.McClean 80), C.Boyd-Munce (J.Dunwoody 63), N.Kerr, D.Parkhouse (P.O’Neill 90).
Referee: Michal Ocenas (Slovakia).
Official Sponsors
Commercial Partners