Malta Football Association
Northern Ireland too strong for Maltese in Klagenfurt
May 30, 2021
Posted in:
(c) Stephen Gatt
(c) Stephen Gatt

  • (c) Stephen Gatt
  • (c) Stephen Gatt
  • (c) Stephen Gatt
  • (c) Stephen Gatt


International ‘A’ Friendly
Worthersee Stadion, Klagenfurt, Austria

(HT 1-0)

The Maltese national team played their first of three international friendlies in Austria, opening their commitments against Northern Ireland. National team coach Devis Mangia used the friendly to experiment on a few positions. Ferdinando Apap and Shaun Dimech were re-called in the starting line-up instead of Steve Borg and Matthew Guillaumier, who both had to miss this trip due to injury. 

As expected, lack of match rhythm hampered the Maltese side as most of the players have not been playing any competitive football since half March, when the Premier league was suspended. This was illustrated in the very beginning of the match, when the Maltese defence were punished after an error in defence, with Jordan Jones beating Henry Bonello with an angled drive after only two minutes play.
On 21 minutes, Northern Ireland were awarded a penalty after a foul by Kurt Shaw on Gavin Whyte. However, Bonello saved Josh Magannis’ shot from 11-meters in style, to keep Malta into the match. Three minutes later, Malta had a glorious opportunity when Joseph Mbong found Alex Satariano but his close-range goal attempt hit the site netting. On 35 minutes, Shaun Dimech had an attempt on goal from just outside the box but his attempt was turned into a corner. 
Seven minutes after the restart, Northern Ireland doubled their lead. Whyte beat Bonello from close-range after a precise pass by captain Stuart Dallas. Barely a minute later, Ali McCann made it 3-0 for the Northern Irish, beating Bonello with a low shot after being sent through by Paddy McNair.
This goal surely took the pace out of the match, with neither side being able to create any huge goalscoring opportunities.  Worth mentioning is the entrance of Dexter Xuereb after an hour play, making his debut for the national team. A little later, also on the positive side, Jean Borg entered the fray after a long lay-off. Captain Andrei Agius made his 99th appearance for Malta. 
Malta is now playing Kosovo next Friday at the same venue, followed by another friendly three days later against Kazakhstan in Wolfsberg.
Northern Ireland
Bailey Peacock-Farell, Ciaron Brown, Stuart Dallas (Conor Bradley 85), Craig Cathcart, Paddy McNair, Jordon Thompson (Alfie McCalmont 85), Nial McGinn (George Saville 61), Gavin Whyte (Shane Ferguson 73), Ali McCan, Jordan Jones (Liam Boyce 73), Josh Magennis (Dion Charles 61).
Coach: Ian Baraclough
Henry Bonello, Kurt Shaw, Andrei Agius, Ferdinando Apap (Jean Borg 70), Ryan Camenzuli, Joseph Mbong (Dexter Xuereb 70), Bjorn Kristensen (Rowen Muscat 82), Teddy Teuma (Dunstan Vella 61), Shaun Dimech, Luke Montebello (Jurgen Degabriele 61), Alex Satariano (Jean Paul Farrugia 82).
Coach: Devis Mangia
Referee: Sebastian Gishamer (Austria)
Yellow cards: Thompson (NI), Teuma (M)
Official Sponsors
Commercial Partners