Malta Football Association
Vibrant Malta strike late for deserved win over Latvia
Oct 13, 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
  • PHOTOS: Domenic Aquilina/MFA


13.10.2020, Daugava Stadions, Riga
Group stage - League D - Group 1

(HT 0-0)

S.Borg 90+

Malta won their first ever Nations League game tonight in Riga, Latvia, beating the hosts thanks to a late Steve Borg header deep into added time. A lively match ended. in a deserved win for Malta who produced a flowing performance and greater more ball possession. Malta have now gone unbeaten in four consecutive matches and above all, the win means that Devis Mangia's side have moved up to second position in Group D1 of the UEFA Nations League, with two matchdays to go. 

Compared with the match in Andorra, Sliema Wanderers Kurt Shaw replaced Zach Muscat in defence, in central midfield Matthew Guillaumier returned from suspension while up front, Luke Montebello was preferred to Jurgen Degabriele. 


In the very first Latvia attack, Davis Ikaunieks was left unmarked but his shot was off target.


On 10 minutes, a Paul Mbong shot from the edge of the box sailed inches over the crossbar. Latvia had two more chances on 23 and 31 minutes by Arturs Zjuzins and Ikaunieks  while in between, a low Teddy Teuma attempt from 20-metre distance just missed the target.


Malta goalkeeper Henry Bonello effected a good save on 33 minutes from a strong shot by the unmarked Roberts Savalnieks. 


Malta opened the second half strongl. Seven minutes after the break, Malta had a great opportunity to open the scoring when Teuma's perfect pass freed Ryan Camenzuli inside the box but his attempt from close range was neutralised by Latvia goalkeeper Pavel Steinbors.


Malta kept showing the better ideas and five minutes later a Luke Gambin attempt from the edge of the box went just over the crossbar. On 72 minutes, at the other end, Bonello repelled low shot by substitute Martins Kigurs as Malta held firm before staging a late flourish.


Deep into added time, with the game seemingly headed for a goalless draw, Malta scored a stunning winner. 


Latvia centre-back Marcis Oss fouled substitute Jurgen Degabriele in the inside-right channel. The free-kick was taken by Steve Pisani who sent a looping cross into the box where Steve Borg rose above everyone to beat Steinbors with a strong header.


What followed were wonderful celebrations as it was Malta’s first competitive away win since the win in Armenia in 2013 (0-1) in the World Cup Qualification.



P.Steinbors, R.Savalbieks, M.Oss, I.Tarasovs, R.Jurkovskis, A.Zjuzins (K.Karklins 54), K.Tobers (E.Emsis 63), A.Ciganiks (A.Jaunzems 83), J.Ikaunieks, D.Ikaunieks (M.Kigurs 63), V.Gutkovskis (R.Uldrikis 63)



H.Bonello, R.Camenzuli, K.Shaw, A.Agius, S.Borg, J.Mbong, M.Guillaumier, T.Teuma (S.Pisani 75), L.Gambin (J.Grech 46), P.Mbong (J.Degabriele 69), L.Montebello


Yellow cards

A.Zjuzins, K.Tobers, K.Karklins, A.Ciganiks (L), S.Borg, A.Agius (M)


Referee: Iwan Arwel Griffith (Wales)

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