Malta Football Association
Bitter ending of positive WC qualifying campaign
Nov 14, 2021
Posted in:
(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 0-3)

Three days after the loss against Croatia, the Malta national team were forced to swallow another bitter pill at Ta’ Qali. With the score already 0-3 at half-time, Malta was shown two red cards in the first five minutes after the break, an impossible task to get a satisfying result against opposition like Slovakia. 

Compared to the Croatia game last Thursday, coach Devis Mangia changed his team on five positions. Jean Borg and Zach Muscat replaced Enrico Pepe and Andrei Agius in defence, on midfield, Guillaumier replaced Kristensen while up front, Paul Mbong and Alex Satariano were preferred instead of Luke Montebello and Jurgen Degabriele. Muscat was deployed on the right-hand side of the back four, with Kurt Shaw switching to the centre. 


Lots of action in the first sixteen minutes. An Alex Satariano penalty claim on five minutes was waved away by the Croatian referee and on the other side, Slovakia scored twice in succession. Albert Rusnak beat Bonello on six minutes with a grounder from the edge of the box, followed by a header from close range by Ondrej Duda two minutes later to put the visitors in the driving seat. Slovakia added a third on 16 minutes, again thanks to a Rusnak goal, punishing some hesitance in the Maltese defence. On the half hour, Bonello made a great save on Lukas Haraslin’s grounder and nine minutes later, a long-distance attempt by Teddy Teuma just missed target.


Things got worse for Malta in the second half. Barely one minute after the re-start, Ryan Camenzuli collected his second yellow card for a reckless tackle, and on 50 minutes, also Teuma received his marching orders with two quick cautions in succession. Two questionable sending offs which obviously made things even harder for the home side. Bonello came to the rescue on 56 minutes with two excellent saves, denying Duda and Haraslin from close-range. Five minutes later, Bonello avoided another Slovakian goal, saving an effort from David Hancko from a corner action. There was however nothing Bonello could do to block Duda’s second goal of the day on 69 minutes and two minutes after, substitute Vernon De Marco added a fifth, barely a minute after entering the fray as a substitute, with a scorcher from 20-meters distance. On 80 minutes, Bonello blocked a Robert Mak effort but in the attack that followed, Duda scored his third of the afternoon with a tap in from close-range. A bitter ending of an over-all positive World Cup qualifying campaign.


Also today, Croatia managed to win the group by beating Russia 1-0 in Split, while Slovakia had the better of Cyprus, 2-1, in their last outing in this qualifying group. 



Malta: Henry Bonello, Kurt Shaw, Jean Borg (Karl Micallef 78), Zach Muscat, Ryan Camenzuli, Cain Attard, Matthew Guillaumier (Shaun Dimech 85), Joseph Mbong (Triston Caruana 85), Teddy Teuma, Paul Mbong (Luke Montebello 55), Alex Satariano (Bjorn Kristensen 55).

Coach: Devis Mangia


Slovakia: Martin Dubravka, David Hancko (Vernon De Marco 70), Milan Skriniar, Lubomir Satka, Martin Koscelnik (Robert Bozenik 77), Stanislav Lobotka (Jakub Hromada 70), Ondrej Duda, Albert Rusnak, Lukas Haraslin (Robert Mak 61), Tomas Suslov, David Strelec (Ladislav Almasi 61).

Coach: Stefan Tarkovic


Referee: Fran Jovic (Croatia)


Red cards: Camenzuli, Theuma (both two yellows)

Yellow card: J.Mbong. 

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