Malta girls lose to Romania despite spirited display

Friday, April 5, 2019, 7:06
INTERNATIONAL FRIENDLY

ROMANIA      2

MALTA            0

The Malta women’s team suffered a 2-0 defeat to Romania in the first of two friendlies, played at the FRF Football Centre in Bucharest on Thursday. The Maltese girls produced a spirited display but Romania, who are ranked in the top 50, prevailed with a goal in each half.

Led by coach Mark Gatt, Malta created some scoring chances in the first half but Romania’s second goal sealed their win in the second half.

In this game, coach Gatt handed a debut to Haley Bugeja, who earned a spot in the starting XI, while Veronique Mifsud also collected her first  senior cap late in the game.

Romania pressed forward in the early stages while the Maltese were more cautious, waiting to hit their opponents on the break.

While goalkeeper Janice Xuereb was rarely forced into action, Gatt’s team were dangerous from set-pieces.

As the half wore on, the Romanians’ eagerness to attack left them somewhat vulnerable at the back with the Maltese looking to exploit those situations, also creating a couple of clear-cut opportunities.

Yet, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock through Ioana Balaceanu who concluded a well-engineered move with a thumping volley that had the better of Janice Xuereb on 41 minutes.

On the brink of half-time, Malta almost levelled terms. Bugeja darted towards goal but her low drive rolled inches wide from goal as the hosts survived a late scare to end the first half with a one-goal lead.

In the second 45 minutes, Romania controlled the proceedings, going close to doubling the lead from a corner but Malta’s custodian Xuereb managed to block a close-range header.

On minute 71, Xuereb produced a finger-tip save to stop a long-range shot from Maria Ficzay.

Gatt brought on midfielder Jasmine Vella Turner in an attempt to boost Malta’s attacking flair.

However, Romania managed to double their lead six minutes from time thanks to Maria Ficzay who headed home following a corner action.

The second match between Romania and Malta will be played on Sunday at 10am (Malta time).

This training camp in Romania is part of Malta’s preparations for the 2021 UEFA Women’s Euro qualifiers.

MALTA FORMATION

J. Xuereb, S. Farrugia, J. Flask, A. Sultana, N. Sciberras, S. Zammit, D. Theuma, B. Borg, Y. Carabott, M. Farrugia, H. Bugeja.

Coach: M. Gatt.

ROMANIA

S. Campean; M. Ciolacu, B. Goder, M. Ficzay, B. Sandu, A. Vladulescu, B. Tarasila, R. Mirea, I. Balaceanu, M. Marinescu, C. Carp.

Coach: M. Albon.





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