Bezzina called up to Malta squad as injured trio pull outPublished: 04-10-2017 09:55
National TeamWC 2022 QUALIFIERS
Hibernians midfielder Johann Bezzina has been called up to the Malta squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Group F qualifier against Lithuania at the National Stadium on Thursday (kick-off 20.45). Bezzina has replaced fellow Hibs midfielder Bjorn Kristensen who pulled out of the squad on Tuesday evening due to injury. Kristensen, who started Malta’s last two games against England and Scotland, is one of three players whose hopes of featuring in the last two Group F qualifiers, against Lithuania on Thursday and away to Slovakia on Sunday, have been scuppered by injury. Malta coach Pietro Ghedin has also lost veteran striker Michael Mifsud and FC Chiasso forward Jean Paul Farrugia who has a foot problem. With Balzan FC midfielder Ryan Fenech suspended for the Lithuania clash and Kristensen injured, Ghedin has opted to increase his midfield options with the addition of Bezzina. The 23-year-old Hibs player made his bow for Malta in the 1-0 win over Ukraine in a warm-up played last June in Graz. Ghedin has retained uncapped Ħamrun Spartans trio Lydon Micallef, Daniel Zerafa and Siraj Arab but goalkeeper Steve Sultana has not made the cut. Malta will be seeking to end their drought in Group F in their clash with Lithuania who are second from bottom on five points. MALTA SQUAD Goalkeepers: Henry Bonello (Valletta); Andrew Hogg (Hibernians. Defenders: Andrei Agius (Hibernians); Cain Attard (Birkirkara); Steve Borg (Valletta); Ryan Camilleri (Valletta); Clayton Failla (Hibernians); Sam Magri (Ebbsfleet United, England); Zach Muscat (US Arezzo, Italy); Daniel Zerafa (Ħamrun Spartans); Joseph Zerafa (Valletta FC). Midfielders: Clyde Borg (Floriana); Paul Fenech (Balzan); Luke Gambin (Luton Town, England); Steve Pisani (Floriana); Johann Bezzina (Hibernians). Forwards: Siraj Arab (Ħamrun Spartans); Alfred Effiong (Balzan); Lydon Micallef (Ħamrun Spartans); Andrè Schembri (Apollon Limassol, Cyprus).