Caretaker recipe tastes delicious

Wednesday, February 29, 2012, 22:10

by Sandro Micallef

Gatt proves his recipe included good ingredients

After a disappointing 45mins, the international friendly against modest Liechtenstein turned out to be a glorious one for Malta, Michael Mifsud and Robert Gatt. The latter was leading the team as caretaker coach for this game.

A brace by Valletta’s talisman Michael Mifsud turned defeat into a victory after our national side was one goal down when the second half was only three minutes old.

This victory will surely boost the current Maltese players of this squad in view of the next internationals under the most probable guidance of Italian mentor Pietro Ghedin. Words of praise should be directed towards Robert Gatt, the current Malta FA Technical director, who ended up on the winning side in his first game as caretaker coach.

“Our objective is to win obviously” he stated yesterday to the local TV stations in the pre-match press conference an objective that was reached and how.

This win will also make an array of players happy, not only because some were making their return and some were handed their debut, but also because of the fact that all players in the squad will be soon handed an attractive bonus cheque after this win.

Gatt started with a 4-2-3-1 line up. The caretaker coach utilised Andrei Agius in an unusual position for him (right midfield) due to the fact that the Valletta defenders Steve Borg and Jonathan Caruana were guarding the defence as central defenders. The back four was completed with Failla left back and Briffa right back. At the rear Malta had debutant Henry Bonello who hardly touched the ball in the first 45mins. Bjorn Kristensen was the other player who was handed a starting line up shirt in his debut. The third player making his debut with Malta was City’s Edmund Agius who touched the turf at the start of the second half.

The first half turned to be a boring treat for the few hundreds that entered the gates for free today at the National Stadium. To add insult to injury just after three minutes Liechtenstein made their way into our defence for the first time and Justin Haber (replacing Bonello) was beaten by Martin Buchel.

Malta’s reaction was superb as the midfield was more proactive. Michael Mifsud scored his 31st goal with the Malta shirt with a typical euro goal. After an exchange from Luke Dimech at the back Mifsud fired a bumper shot from around 25 meters and saw his shot end in the top corner of the net for the equalizer.

Malta could have gone a goal up after Cohen hit the goalpost. Minutes later it was Michael Mifsud who again scored after a defensive blunder which Mifsud easily converted to the joy of all those present. Mifsud could have made it a hat trick in the dying moments of the game after he just missed the goal by inches from a half pitch attempt after a counter attack as the Lie keeper had gone up for the last corner of the game.

Malta: H.Bonello (J.Haber 46min), J.Caruana, S.Borg (L.Dimech 46min), A.Agius (G.Sciberras 86min), D.Bogdanovic, R.Briffa (A.Muscat 73min), M.Mifsud, A.Cohen, C.Failla, B.Kristensen (E.Agius 46min), A.Schembri (S.Bajada 75min).

Referee: Mark Whitby

Scorers: Martin Buchel 48min (L) Michael Mifsud 54min and 64min (M)

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