Malta Football Association
Improving Malta gain first point after 1-1 draw with Latvia
Sep 6, 2020
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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


06/09/2020 - League D Group 1
National Stadium – Ta’ Qali

MALTA      1
LATVIA     1
(HT 1-1)
K.Nwoko 15, M.Guillaumier (o.g.) 25.

Malta gained their first point after a 1-1 draw against Latvia tonight at Ta’ Qali. It was another positive display for Devis Mangia’s men who, in the second half, tried hard to find a winner but the two teams had to settle for a point.

Coach Mangia made two changes from the 3-2 defeat to Faroe Islands. Balzan’s Steve Pisani was replaced by Teddy Teuma, the first start for Malta for the Belgium-based midfielder and in the centre of the Maltese defence, Andrei Agius was replaced by Enrico Pepe, who earned his very first international cap.

Mangia’s counterpart, Dainis Kazakevičs, also changed his team in two positions, with Alvis Jaunzems and Raimonds Krollis coming in for Vladislavs Fjodorovs and Vladislavs Gutkovskis (suspended) respectively.

Malta began well, going close to opening the scoring in the seventh minute. After the Latvia defence failed to clear the ball, Ryan Camenzuli picked up a loose ball in the box and hit the woodwork with a powerful shot.
In the 15th minute, Malta took a deserved lead thanks to some excellent work on the right flank by Joseph Mbong. The fast winger beat his marker and crossed perfectly for Kyrian Nwoko who tapped in from close range. 
A goal down, Latvia made an immediate reaction. In the 24th minute, Henry Bonello blocked a dangerous shot by Andrejs Ciganiks. From the corner that followed, Latvia scored the equaliser. The ball ended up in the path of Kaspars Dubra and his goal attempt was unluckily deflected past Bonello by Matthew Guillaumier.
In the 37th minute, there was a fast counter-attack by Malta as Teuma was sent through on the left side and crossed the ball to Luke Gambin whose low shot was turned away for a corner by Latvia goalkeeper Pavels Steinbors. 
At the start of the second half, the game became somewhat aggressive with three yellow cards in quick succession, two for the hosts and one for Latvia. The game remained balanced with Malta giving as much as they got.
On 70 minutes, Janis Ikaunieks was sent through by Arturs Zjuzins but hit wide with only Bonello to beat. Four minutes later, Nwoko had an opportunity with a shot from the edge of the box. Moments later, Steve Borg’s header from a Teuma free-kick just missed target. This was during a period when Malta upped their game in search of a winner but the score remained unchanged.
Earlier today, Faroe Islands beat Andorra 0-1 with a Klæmint Olsen goal in the 31st minute. This win gives Faroe Islands the lead in the Nations League D Group 1 with maximum points after two matchdays, followed by Latvia on two points. Malta and Andorra gained one point each so far.
H. Bonello, Z. Muscat, S. Borg (A. Agius 85), E. Pepe, R. Camenzuli, J. Mbong, M. Guillaumier (S. Pisani 89), T. Teuma, L. Gambin, K. Nwoko, J. Degabriele (J. Grech 60).
P. Steinbors, R. Savalnieks (R. Rugins 67), A. Cernomordijs, K. Dubra, R. Jurkovskis, E. Emsis, A. Zjuzins (K. Karklins 85), A. Jaunzems, A. Ciganiks, R. Krollis (D. Ikaunieks 62), J. Ikaunieks.
Referee: Stephanie Frappart (France).
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