Malta Football Association
Commendable second half in Romania loss for the U21’s
Oct 13, 2020
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UEFA European U21 Championship Qualifying Group 8

Stadion Marin Anastasovici, Giurgiu.

Romania U21 ……. 4

Malta U21 ………… 1

A brave performance with a much improved second forty five minutes for this inexperienced Under21 Team fielding seven full debutants in a 4-1 loss to Romania on Tuesday night in Giurgiu.

90 minutes rounding off a tough international week for the team, starting off with 12 regular and eligible players missing from Denmark home match on Friday, misery compounded with covid-19 situation over the weekend prompting Head Coach Silvio Vella to significantly shuffle his pack announcing a brand new look squad spearheading full debuts to seven players this evening.


Cain Formosa, Chris Gauci, Owen and Matthew Spiteri, Keith Attard, Liam McKay and James Scicluna all making their full debuts at this level this evening.


Romania also had their Covid-19 issues with two players sent home on the eve of the match, whereby Head Coach Adrian Mutu also testing positive, forcing him to overlook his duties in the dug-out together with the rest of technical staff all missing from the match as pre-caution and contact tracing measures.


Malta started positively in a 4-4-2 formation sharing the balance of play at the early stages, with Owen Spiteri joining the experienced Gary Camilleri at the back, Liam McKay and James Scicluna covering on the wings, the returning Omar Elouni in a forward role alongside Aidan Friggieri who led the side as a captain for the first time from the off.


Romania took the lead on 17 minutes Alexandru Matan received the ball on the edge of the box, danced with the ball beating a couple of Malta defenders before blasting his drive in the top corner beating keeper Formosa.


Matan came close again four minutes later one on one with the Malta keeper, his low shot towards the far going just wide.


Malta’s first threat towards the Romania goal came on 26 minutes James Scicluna with a solo effort, his low curling shot going just wide.


Few seconds later in a swift counter attack captain Dennis Man for Romania cruised past the Malta keeper before slotting home in an empty net.


Romania were reduced to 10 man on 34 minutes when Tudor Baluta received two yellow cards in quick succession, but with a man down they still added their lead, forward George Ganea at the end of a quick counter, his low but fierceful shot in the bottom far corner giving no chance to the Malta keeper.


Romania 4-0 on 40 minutes, Vladoiu brought down in the box, from the 12-yard spot Dennis Man converted the penalty for his brace.


In the second half a much improved Malta performance as the boys came out strong and on 51 minutes Darren Borg whipped in an inch perfect cross from the left, ball dropping on Gżira forward Omar Elouni who sublimely headed the ball home to reduce the deficit for Malta.


Until the end the boys controlled well, could have also further reduced the margin, but all in all many positives for this youthful side all striving over the 90 minutes to impress and cement a regular place in this Malta Under21's Team plans for upcoming matches. 


Romania Line-Up –12. Mihai Aioani, 3. Radu Dragusin, 4. Stefan Vladoiu, 5. Tudor Baluta, George, Ganea (Andrei Chindris 46), 10. Dennis Man (capt) (Denis Dragus 61), 13. Alexandru Matan (Claudiu Petrila 60), 14. Marius Marin, 19. Denis Harut, 20. Andrei Ciobanu (Catalin Itu 82), 22. Darius Olaru (Olimpiu Morutan 78).


Malta Line-Up –1. Cain Formosa, 2. Chris Gauci, 3. Darren Borg (Andreas Vella 72), 4. Owen Spiteri, 5. Matthew Spiteri (Matthew Farrugia 46), 7. Aidan Friggieri (capt), 9. Omar Elouni, 16. Keith Attard (Mark Fenech 46), 17. Liam McKay (Jake Ghio 80), 18. Gary Camilleri, 22. James Scicluna (Andrea Zammit 61).

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