A deserved victory for Malta U-21s

Monday, March 25, 2019, 7:11
MALTA                    2

TURKMENISTAN   1

The Malta Under-21 team battled to a hard fought 2-1 win over Turkmenistan in the first friendly international in Antalya during this intensive training camp in Turkey .

Malta started well in a 4-1-4-1 formation with Marcus Grima making his first start at this level, Zachary Grech and Paul Mbong making their Malta U21 debut as a second half substitutes.

Led by coach Silvio Vella, the Maltese youngsters creating the best chances in the opening half, and were tactically disciplined throughout the whole match against their spirited opponents who looked to pounce on every single mistake.

In the second half, the Maltese players kept their composure and were only punished temporarily with Turkmenistan levelling from a dubious penalty before Aidan Friggieri’s dazzling goal just before the hour mark.

The Maltese players showed confidence and are already reaping the rewards, despite the fact that this new-look squad has only been together for a short period of time in this long journey and preparation prior to first 2021 UEFA European Qualifier in Northern Ireland in September.

Nine minutes into the game, Sliema Wanderers defender Kurt Shaw fired a powerful shot that ended just over the Turkmenistan goal.

Malta opened the scoring on 27 minutes when Friggieri sent a corner from the left, the ball fell invitingly to Zachary Brincat who scored with a low shot into the bottom corner.

Turkmenistan replied on 34 minutes when Borjakov Ali tried his luck from 35 metres out but Andreas Vella in the Malta goal was aware and saved comfortably.

With 43 minutes on the clock, Malta went close again following a good move on the left from Myles Beerman who sent a low cross with the ball coming off Friggieri who was in a scoring position but the ball went wide.

Four minutes into the second half, Turkmenistan levelled the score. Turkish referee ordered a dubious penalty after a handsball that looked to have occurred just outside the box and from the spot, Myrat Rahman slotted the ball home.

Malta went back in front with the winning goal on 56 minuters. And it was a gem of a goal by St Andrews winger Aidan Friggieri whose curling shot from an acute angle sailed into the top corner.

With 12 minutes remainging, substitute Neil Frendo, who replaced Jan Busuttil six minutes earlier, tried his luck from outside the box but his deflected shot ended just wide for a corner.

Malta held out for the win, a morale-boosting result for this promising group of players who on Tuesday take on Kosovo in second friendly in Antalya, Turkey.

MALTA :- Andreas Vella, Michele Sansone (Zachary Grech 46), Connor Zammit, Kurt Shaw, Nicholas Pulis, Jean Borg, Aidan Friggieri (Jan Tanti 65), Marcus Grima, Zachary Brincat (Paul Mbong 85), Jan Busuttil (Neil Frendo 72), Myles Beerman.

SUBS NOT USED :- Timmy Aquilina, Zack Cassar, Gary Camilleri, Russell Fenech, David Xuereb.

TURKMENISTAN :- Ahallyyev Rustem, Sakayev Erik, Annayev Odemyrat, Rovshenmyradov Resul, Priyev Ruslan, Borjakov Ali, Annayev Azat, Rozyyev Nury, Myradov Begenchmyrat, Myratberdiyev Rahman, Hydyrov Shamammet.

SUBSTITUTES :- Yedek, Orayev Aman, Goshanov Silapberdi, Sekov Igor, Abdullayev Ybrayym, Tairov Timur, Ballyyev Nury, Ahmedow Atamyrat.





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