Malta Football Association
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U21 - Late Sixsmith goal in a narrow defeat in Lithuania
Oct 8, 2021
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UEFA European U21 Championship – 08.10.2021

Group C – SRC Alytus, Lithuania.

Lithuania U21 .... 2

Malta U21 ……...  1

 

Malta U21 Team lost 2-1 in Alytus against Lithuania in a UEFA European U21 Championship Group C match on Friday night.


Three changes were made by coach Gilbert Agius in the Malta starting eleven from the heavy defeat in Russia a month ago.  Adam Magri Overend has been selected by the senior side, meaning an opportunity as left back and full debut in competition for Santa Lucia wing-back Andreas Vella.

 

Returning in the starting formation also Valletta defender Christian Gauci and Floriana forward Mattia Veselji having both missed the Russia match due to slight knocks.

 

The Malta team crowded the middle of the park in an initial 3-4-3 tactical shape transforming in a more reassuring 5-4-1 when under pressure.

 

On the 21st minute came the first attempt for Malta.  A direct freekick by Marcus Grima went sailing over the cross bar. Lithuania replied on the half hour mark taking advantage from a slip-up in the Malta defence, with Klimavicius firing wide from just outside the box.

 

As pressure continued to mount, on 32 minutes an overhead kick by captain Karolis Uzela went inches over the bar following an inch-perfect cross for Lithuania from the right.

 

On 38 minutes, deadlock waa broken from a dead-ball situation leading to a low shot from distance by Titas Milasius, the ball passing through several legs to completely surprise Malta keeper Cain Formosa and give Lithuania the lead before the interval.

 

Four minutes later the Baltic side thought they doubled the score, but their effort was correctly ruled out for offside, with the first 45 minutes ending in a 1-0 lead for Lithuania.

 

Second half and Lithuania doubled the score on 56 minutes when Tomas Kalinauskas converted from the penalty spot.  In the incident that led to this setback for Malta, right wingback Alejandro Garzia suffered an injury forcing coach Gilbert Agius to make his first and an early forced change with Karl Mohnani coming on just before the hour mark.

 

Towards the end of the match a penalty shout for Malta was unnoticed by Romanian referee before substitute Jamie Sixsmith in time added on, blasted an accurate shot from outside the box finding the bottom far post corner comfortably beating the Lithuanian keeper to earn a deserved consolation goal for the boys in Red.  Albeit emerging defeated, the boys definitely much-improved their performance compared with the previous outing.

 

The Malta U21 Team is back in action early next week yet again on away soil as they face Slovakia in Nitra on Tuesday night.

 

Lithuania XI – Kajus Urbietis, Valdas Paulauskas, Vilius Armalas, Artur Dolznikov (Nauris Petkevicius 46), August Klimavicius (Darius Zubauskas 69), Titas Milasius (Benas Anisas 79), Natanas Zebrauskas, Karolis Uzela ©, Matas Ramanauskas (Karolis Zebrauskas 69), Tomas Kalinauskas (Vilius Piliukaitis 80), Dovydas Jansonas.

 

Malta XI – Cain Formosa (San Ġwann FC), Christian Gauci (Valletta FC), Marcus Grima (Balzan FC), Ayrton Attard (Hibernians FC) © (Larens Vella 87), Andreas Vella (Santa Lucia FC), Mattia Veselji (Floriana FC) (Victor Degiorgio 78), Aleandro Garzia (Floriana FC) (Karl Mohnani 57), Carlo Zammit Lonardelli (Sirens FC), Matthew Ellul (Hibernians FC), Bradley Sciberras (Floriana FC) (Jamie Sixsmith 79), Jake Engerer (Sliema Wanderers FC) (Jamie Carbone 78).

 

Subs not used – Amara Sylla (Birkirkara FC), Sheldon Mizzi ((Pieta Hotspurs FC), Samuel Okoh (Pieta Hotspurs FC), Adam Bradshaw (Balzan FC).

 

Referee – Marcel Birsan (Rou)

Ass refs – Valentin Gabriel Avram, Vladimir Urzica (Rou).

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