Injury time goal sinks brave Malta

Friday, October 8, 2010, 22:23

by Sandro Micallef.

Malta was unfortunate not to register the first point in the EURO 2012 qualifier Group F after our National team had to bow to an injury time goal scored by substitute Siradze who sent the Maltese players walk towards the dressing room in despair.

The game which was played in Tbilisi was the third game in this group after Malta had lost its first two encounters against Israel and Latvia (3-1 and 2-0) respectively. National coach Buttigieg opted for a 4-4-1-1 formation making some major changes from the last home game against Latvia. Justin Haber was given the green light to guard the Malta goalposts whilst Roderick Briffa was given the right back role in the defense instead of Herrera alongside with Andrei Agius, Jonathan Caruana and Mamo. Cohen was also given a starting shirt in the midfield along with Sciberras, Pace and Bajada. The other major change in Malta’s first eleven was the inclusion of Ferencvaros in form striker Andre’ Schembri who partnered some meters behind Mifsud up front. Schembri filled the vacant role of Bogdanovic who was suspended for this match.

Malta’s defense was tested on various occasions during the match with Agius and Caruana always on the alert to block Georgia’s attacks and clear from inside the box the persistent crosses.

The match was played under constant rainfall which transformed the surface of the field of play very uneasy for our players who are not used to play in such circumstances.

The first half ended goalless with our players coming back for the second half on the pitch with a high morale. Georgia kept on pressing for the goal and went close on a couple of occasions but the most open chance scoring opportunity came to Andre’ Schembri’s  feet when on the 78th minute mark he could have opened the score line just inches away from the penalty spot with Georgia’s keeper Revishvili.

When everyone thought that both teams would earn a point each David Siradze headed home the goal that gave Georgia the first win in this Group (after two draws) with the Malta players all visibly disappointed at this injury time goal which sank Malta’s brave performance.

Georgia: N. Revishvili, K. Kaladze, L. Salukvadze, M. Asatiani, A. Amisulashvili, Z. Khizanshvili, , J. Ananidze (73min  M. Daushvili), G. Merebashvili (46min  D. Siradze), G. Gogua, L. Kobiashvili, V. Dvalishvili (46min A. Iashvili).

Malta: J. Haber, J. Caruana, A. Agius, C. Mamo, G. Sciberras (68min R. Fenech),  R. Briffa,  A. Cohen (90min M. Grima), S. Bajada, J. Pace, M. Mifsud, A. Schembri (79min P. Fenech)

Referee Alan Black (N. Ireland).

The Malta contingent is to arrive to Malta on Saturday at 10pm.

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