Italy v Malta: Dominated but brave. Analysis and comments from the protagonists

Wednesday, September 12, 2012, 11:00

by Sandro Micallef in Modena

Tiny Malta could not do any better as they lost by two goals to mighty Italy in the second group qualifier game for World Cup 2012.

A slow and soft start paved way to Italy’s lead. It was in the sixth minute when a long ball by Marchisio saw Roma’s Mattia Destro receiving the ball perhaps in an offside position and beating Hogg from close range.

Both central defenders Dimech and Agius quickly learnt their lesson as from there onwards they did not even conceed a centimeter to their opponents.

A Diamanti fine free kick was well saved by Hogg into a corner on the 11th minute mark and then it was Osvaldo who headed inches away from the target from Pirlo’s corner. Italy wanted a second goal immediately and kept on pushing hard. A through ball to Osvaldo saw the goal scorer in the  Bulgaria game close to finding the target but his attempt was cleared off the line.

In the 27th minute the Maltese journalists in the media area were asked more details about Michael Mifsud after the latter tried to surprise Buffon with a half pitch lob that ended wide.

The first half ended on a positive note for Ghedin’s side as Malta’s best player in the game Roderick Briffa received a ball from Bogdanovic and after adjusting the ball he fired a good shot that Buffon has to tip into a corner.

The beginning of the second half saw Italy pressing again for another goal and it was super Hogg who said no to Destro after a Pirlo – Nocerino orchestrated action on the right.

On the hour mark Luke Dimech plunged into midfield after winning a ball, advanced till the opposing area and shot wide.

Some minutes later exactly on the 68th minute mark, Cohen came in for Mosta’s Bogdanovic but little changed in the Malta game as our boys continued to bravely keep the Azzurri at bay.

The possession was practically always in our opponents feet, but Prandelli’s forwards were never sharp up front. The only player who created panic in our defence was Insigne who gave a hard time to Steve Borg when the former came in as a sub.

On the 77th minute Andre Schembri had a personal and lonely action on the left as he dribbled past Pelluso but the Cyprus based player was too tired and crosses erroneously.

Exactly on the 90th minute mark Pelluso headed home from a Pirlo corner which originally should have never been awarded to Italy as it was Pazzini who touched the ball last in the previous action.

The 2-0 final score gave the Italian players a relief as they registered the three points but did not confirm any particular potential. Malta’s players walked out bravely with their heads up after an improved collective effort.

After the end of the match all the Malta players saluted the 150 Malta fans who travelled to Modena on a day trip organised by the South End Core.

Alex Muscat post match comments

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Andre Schembri post match comments

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Luke Dimech post match comments

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Gianluigi Buffon post match comments

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Post game analysis by Sandro Micallef

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