Malta Football Association
Montenegro blitz defeat Malta
Jun 10, 2021
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MALTA                       1

Zammit 23

MONTENEGRO         2
Bulatovic 13

Kuc 15


Two early goals from Montenegro helped them overcome Malta’s challenge in the first international friendly between the two sides at the Centenary Stadium.

Captain Sladja Bulatovic and Armisa Kuc scored a couple of goals in the space of two minutes early in the opening part of the first half to open a two-goal lead for Montenegro.


Shona Zammit’s goal put Malta back on track which gave the hosts a lifeline to salvage a positive result.


Nonetheless, Malta’s efforts were in vain as Montenegro managed to preserve their narrow lead to take victory home.


For this game, coach Mark Gatt deployed Janice Xuereb between the sticks with Gabriella Zahra, Stephania Farrugia, Charlene Zammit and Nicole Sciberras - making her 20th appearance - forming the backline.


Emma Lipman marshalled the backline as a defensive midfielder whereas Rachel Cuschieri and Shona Zammit completed the midfield department.


Upfront, Gatt started with Haley Bugeja, who was collecting her 10th cap and Maria Farrugia, with forward Kailey Willis making her debut.


Malta registered the first chance of the game when Haley Bugeja dribbled past a couple of opponents before trying her luck from the edge of the area but failed to hit the target.


However, it was Montenegro who forged ahead when Armisa Kuc whipped in a cross from the right flank on which captain Sladjana Bulatovic capitalised past Janice Xuereb.


A couple of minutes later, Montenegro doubled the score through Kuc who unmarked inside the penalty area, slotted past the Malta goalkeeper.


Montenegro’s two goals came as a cold shower for the Maltese side who were struggling to settle down and impose their game.


Malta’s reaction came through Stephania Farrugia whose towering header from a corner-kick sailed over the bar.


The hosts managed to pull one back on the 24th minute when Shona Zammit let fly a shot from the edge area that stunned the Montenegro custodian as the Maltese were looking for a lifeline back into the game.


Montenegro’s centre back Mara Saranovic tried her luck from a freekick that went wide as the away side was looking to restore its two-goal lead in the first half.


In the closing stages of the first half, Malta were looking to find a leveller but they entered the dressing room trailing by one goal.


At the restart, Malta coach Gatt subbed in Emma Xuereb, Jade Flask and Dorianne Theuma.


The hosts were still looking for some inspiration and Farrugia almost found herself in front of the goalkeeper but the attack did not materialise as Montenegro were still one up.


The Sunderland Ladies player had a shot on goal when on the 66th minute darted into the box before striking a shot just to see her effort go wide.


Montenegro captain Bulatovic almost found her team’s third when she tried to lob the ball from the final third but Xuereb was alert to avert the danger.


Theuma tried her trademark freekick which sailed over the bar as Malta were inching up their ante in the final 10 minutes of the game. However, Montenegro’s resilience proved difficult to breakdown as they emerged winners from this game.


Malta will host Montenegro in the final warm up next Sunday, at the Centenary Stadium (kick-off: 18.30).


J. Xuereb, S. Farrugia, C. Zammit, N. Sciberras (57 V. Mifsud), G. Zahra (46 E. Xuereb), E. Lipman, R. Cuschieri, S. Zammit, M. Farrugia, H. Bugeja (46 J. Flask), K. Willis (46 D. Theuma).


I. Cabarkapa, M. Radunovic (86 A. Janjusevic), M. Saranovic, M. Maras (69 A. Popovic), S. Bulatovic, A. Toskovic, N.Stanovic (87 E. Boznjak), J. Karlicic (72 R. Kocanovic), A. Kuc, H. Bozic, D. Dukic.

Referee Alex Johnson (Malta FA).

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