Malta Football Association
Largest ever win for Malta in Qualification match
Sep 1, 2021
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(c) Domenic Aquilina
(c) Domenic Aquilina

  • (c) Domenic Aquilina
  • (c) Domenic Aquilina
  • (c) Domenic Aquilina


FIFA World Cup 2022 Qualifying Round Group H

National Stadium, Ta’ Qali



(HT 1-0)

Cain Attard 44’ 54’, Joseph Mbong 46’

Malta recorded their largest ever win in any official qualification group and also the first ever home win in the World Cup qualification, beating ten-man Cyprus 3-0. The first two WCQ wins were recorded in the away matches against Estonia (1993) and Armenia in 2013, while the 2-0 win over Greece in 1975 was until today Malta’s largest ever win in any World Cup or European Championship qualification match. It was a memorable match also for Cain Attard, scoring his first two goals for the national team. 

Malta coach Devis Mangia has several players unavailable, like Matthew Guillaumier, Bjorn Kristensen, Luke Gambin, Jurgen Degabriele and a few others, due to injuries. On the positive side, Belgian based Teddy Teuma passed a late fitness test and was declared fit. Like Malta, the guests started with only one foreign based player, which was centre-forward Pieros Sotirou, who is playing his trade with Ludogorets in Bulgaria. Captain Steve Borg played his 60th official match for Malta.

Before the match, MFA president Bjorn Vassallo presented a memento to Andrei Agius, on the reserves bench tonight, who played his 100th cap for Malta in a Friendly with Kosovo last June. Apart from that, Fr. Hillary Tagliaferro was also honoured for his sterling service over the past decades to Maltese football.

Malta dictated the first half, with Cyprus playing mostly on counter-attacks. The hosts’ first chance arrived in the eight minute, when Cyprus defender Costas Soteriou misjudged a high ball on the edge of the box. However, Luke Montebello’s attempt was blocked by custodian Neofytos Michail. In the 36th minute, Malta had another great goalscoring opportunity, when Montebello released Paul Mbong, who however failed to place the ball in the net with only Mikhail to beat. Four minutes later, Henry Bonello made a fine save on a Soteriou header. In the attack that followed, Cyprus was reduced to ten men as Soteriou received his second yellow card, for simulation inside the Malta box. Malta took immediately advantage of the situation as on 44 minutes, Cain Attard opened the score after a Joseph Mbong overhead kick ended up in Attard’s way, slamming the ball home.

Malta doubled the score straight after kick-off of the second half. In the very first attack, Teuma swirled in perfectly from the left with Joseph Mbong’s header beating the Cypriot custodian. Not much after, Bonello was called back into action, blocking an attempt of Chambos Kyriakou at the far post, after a free-kick from the left. In the 54th minute, Cain Attard scored Malta’s third goal after some good work by Paul Mbong. After this third goal, Malta easily consolidated their advantage, while Cyprus could not do anything to bring the match back to life. A deserved win for Malta, who wrote history once again under coach Devis Mangia.

Malta now prepares for two challenging away matches, the first one in Slovenia this Saturday, followed by Russia next Tuesday. Elsewhere tonight, Slovenia and Slovakia shared the spoils with a 1-1 draw, while Russia and Croatia appeared in a goalless draw.

Malta: Henry Bonello, Ryan Camenzuli, Enrico Pepe, Steve Borg, Kurt Shaw (Zach Muscat 58), Cain Attard, Steve Pisani, Teddy Teuma (Triston Caruana 85), Joseph Mbong (Shaun Dimech 58), Paul Mbong (Jake Grech 70), Luke Montebello (Alex Satariano 70).
Coach: Devis Mangia

Cyprus: Neofytos Michail, Marios Antoniades (Fanos Katelaris 64), Costas Soteriou, Andreas Karo, Nicholas Ioannou, Kostakis Artymatas, Chambos Kyriakou (Loizos Loizou 70), Paris Psaltis (Grigoris Kastanos 58), Fotis Papoulis (Nikolas Panayiotou 58), Dimitris Christofi (Marios Ilia 58), Ioannis Pittas.
Coach: Nikolaos Kostenoglou

Referee: Fabio Maresca (Italy)
Yellow cards: J.Mbong, Shaw, P.Mbong (M), Papoulis (C)
Red card: Soteriou (Cyprus, 2 yellow cards)

Attendance: 2,689

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