Malta Football Association
Malta find going tough against Slovenia
Oct 8, 2021
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(c) Domenic Aquilina
(c) Domenic Aquilina

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


European Qualifying Group H


National Stadium, Ta’ Qali



(HT 0-1)

Ilicic 27, 60, Sporar 50, Sesko 67.

It was not our night. Malta’s much anticipated meeting with Slovenia ended in heartache as the visitors ran away with a 0-4 victory at Ta’ Qali. After a bright start, Malta had no reply to the efficient Slovenian attacks and their clinical finishing, while Malta did not take the few chances that came their way. Atalanta star Josip Ilicic was in excellent shape, scoring two of the goals for Slovenia.

Compared with the starting line-up of the last match played in Russia last month, Kurt Shaw, Enrico Pepe and Shaun Dimech were roped in instead of Ryan Camenzuli, Steve Borg and Andrei Agius. Midway through the second half, Floriana’s Adam Magri Overend made his national team debut, while Jurgen Degabriele returned to the national team after injury late on in the match.


Within the first ten minutes there where three goalscoring opportunities, two on the side of Malta and one for the guests. First, it was Luke Montebello who tested Jan Oblak with a grounder from close range, immediately followed on the other side by a shot from Sandi Lovric from the edge of the box, which was easily paraded by Henry Bonello. The best opportunity of the three was for Cain Attard at the far post, after being served by Joseph Mbong, who could not give the right direction on the ball to open the score, much to the relief of Oblak, who was caught on the wrong foot. 


On 20 minutes, a Lovric goal was annulled or off-site, but seven minutes later, Slovenia managed to open the score, thanks to a grounder of Josip Ilicic, after some excellent work by Jure Balkovec on the right wing. Four minutes before half-time, Montebello’s header from close range missed power and target after an inch perfect pass from Teddy Teuma, Malta’s second big opportunity to score in the first half. 


Five minutes after the break, Slovenia doubled the score thanks to a wonderful Andraz Sporar goal, which had initially been given as off-site, but the goal was given after the VAR check. On the hour, Ilicic added more misery to the hosts by scoring Slovenia’s third goal, after the Maltese rear-guard were caught on the wrong foot. On 65 minutes, Kurt Shaw’s free header just missed target after a corner-kick by Steve Pisani. Three minutes later, substitute Benjamin Sesko scored Slovenia’s fourth from a dubious off-side position. On 82 minutes, Adam Gnezda Cerin missed a sitter with only Bonello to beat. Deep into stoppage time, substitute Domen Crnigoj hit the crossbar with a clever lob over Bonello. 


Next Monday, Malta is playing Cyprus in Larnaca, while in November, the Maltese will close this World Cup Qualification campaign with two home games against Croatia and Slovakia.


Henry Bonello, Kurt Shaw, Enrico Pepe, Zach Muscat, Cain Attard, Joseph Mbong (Adam Magri Overend 68), Steve Pisani (Triston Caruana 68), Teddy Teuma, Shaun Dimech (Luke Gambin 57), Paul Mbong (Alex Satariano 57), Luke Montebello (Jurgen Degabriele 80)

Coach: Devis Mangia


Jan Oblak, Zan Karnicik, Jaka Bijol, Miha Mevlija, Jure Balkovec, Adam Gnezda Cerin, Jasmin Kurtic (Timi Elsnik 82), Josip Ilicic (Luka Zahovic 71), Sandi Lovric (Jon Stankovic 71), Benjamin Verbic (Domen Crnigoj 61), Andraz Sporar (Benjamin Sesko 61).

Coach: Matjaz Kek


Referee: Tasos Sidoropoulos (Greece)


Yellow cards: J.Mbong, Satariano

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