Croatia too strong for hard working Malta

Wednesday, November 17, 2010, 20:45
Bajada and Caruana make thier way to the dressing room at the end of the match

Bajada and Caruana make thier way to the dressing room at the end of the match

by Sandro Micallef.

Malta conceded its fourth defeat in Group F of the EURO 2012 qualifiers as our National team lost 3-0 to Croatia in the Maksimir Stadiun in Zagreb. The hosts needed this victory at all costs to regain the leadership in the group as they now have ten points from four games, two points more than second placed Greece.

John Buttigieg had to make several changes from his last selection when Malta faced Georgia just over a month ago when we lost 1-0 with an injury time killer goal. His four changes included amongst other the role of Massimo Grima who was given the green light to join Caruana as a central defender to replace the suspended Andrei Agius. Sean Bajada stood in for injured Carlo Mamo as left back whilst John Hutchinson made his comeback with the Malta gear as he was preferred  on Cohen. Buttigieg’s fourth change was Hogg as he defended the Malta goalposts instead of Ferencvaros keeper Haber.

Croatia took the initiative as from the first minute with various short passes and lengthy ball possession. The condition of the pitch which was almost water logged made things difficult for both teams especially for the defenders.  Malta defended very well during the game with our back four Briffa, Grima, Caruana and Bajada showing some great  team work when it came to defend the Croats long ball and one vs one situations. The only instances when our defenders lacked close  marking we conceded the goals scored by Niko Kranjcar’s in the first Half.

Just over a minute in the second half a Michael Mifsud shot ended just over the crossbar and Malta went again close to close the gap some minutes later when from a Bogdanovic low cross Schembri missed what seemed an easy tap in. Ryan Fenech substituted Andre’ Schembri on the 70th minute mark and when it seemed that the game would end with the partial score of 2-0 substitute Kalilic notched the 3-0 for the final score.

Line Ups:

Croatia: V. Runje, V.Corluka, D.Pranjic, I.Rakitic (I.Illicevic 69min), Eduardo (M.Mandzukic 78min), L.Modric, D.Srna, G.Shindelfeld, T.Dujmovic, N.Kranjacar, M.Petric (N.Kalinic 60min).

Malta: A. Hogg, J. Caruana, S.Bajada, G.Sciberras (P.Fenech 88min) J.Hutchinson, M.Grima, R.Briffa, M. Mifsud, D.Bogdanovic (K.Sammut 82min), A.Schembri (R.Fenech 70min), J.Pace.

Referee: Duarte Gomes (Portugal)


  1. jerry says:

    Lahwa emm bzonn li nistennew wara kollox dan ghadu biss il bidu ta kmand ta norman darmanin demajo u it tim tiaja . L- ewwl irridu ntejbu affarijiet ohra li jistaw jirrefletu fin nazzjonal … wara kollox ga qed namlu ta imma adu mhu xejn ax sissa mandiniex alfejn nejdu wisq ax nahseb li bhala loghb tjieb mhux hazin biss issa bl-arrangamenti li jsiru fil kampjonat malti kollox jista jkompli jipprogressa .. Nibdeew billi il players tan nazzjonal jiehdu mahhom il club il livell li jilabu fih ( bhal perezempju lispeed u it tatici biex hekk jistaw jadduwom lil shabom fil club u l livell jitla xi ftit ) imbad inkimplu minn emm


  2. vfc says:

    Time to leave Mr Buttigieg!


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