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Malta U17s beat Macedonia 1-0 in second friendly

Posted By Sportinmalta On August 27, 2018 @ 7:57 am In Featured,Football | No Comments

The Malta Under-17 team attained a well-deserved 1-0 win on Saturday evening at the Ta’ Qali training grounds in the second of two friendly matches against Macedonia.

The first one, played on Thursday, ended in a goalless draw, and on Saturday the Maltese fared even better thanks to a glancing second-half header from St Andrews striker Mattia Veselji, who also appeared in the first two matches of his side in the 2018/19 BOV Premier League.

Malta Under-17 coach Noel Turner made three changes from Thursday’s first friendly.

Centre-back Matthew Ellul, who had to leave the pitch injured in the first match, was replaced by Isaac Galea and Gianluca Sciberras started ahead of Emerson Camilleri. Turner was also forced to make a last-minute change as Jordan Kelly pulled up during the warm-up. His place was taken by Nikolai Farrugia Cross.

The hosts began aggressively, pinning the Macedonians in their own half.

However, the first goalscoring opportunity came Macedonia’s way in the eighth minute.

Fast winger Behar Fethai sped past Ismael Borg on the right flank but his dangerous cross in the box was cleared by Sheldon Mizzi.

In the 16th minute, Metodi Maksimov’s shot from just outside the box was well saved by young Leganes goalkeeper Miguel Spiteri.

In the 33rd minute a free-kick by Veselji sailed inches over the crossbar.

The best chance for the Maltese came on the stroke of half-time. Some good work by Veselji on the left flank created an opportunity for Victor Degiorgio but the latter failed to beat Macedonia goalkeeper Aleksa Jordanov from close range.

In the second half, the Maltese youngsters maintained their momentum which gave them a clear positional advantage over the visitors. The Macedonians were restricted to efforts from outside the box with Dimitar Todorovski’s shot in the 55th minute being saved in style by Matthias Debono, who had replaced Spiteri in goal during half-time.

Two minutes later, Malta scored what proved to be the winning goal.

A free-kick from the right was met beautifully by Veselji whose header gave goalkeeper Marko Alchevski, who had replaced Jordanov during half-time, no chance as the ball sailed into the left top corner, much to the delight of the Maltese clan who finally saw their efforts rewarded.

Veselji continued to create havoc in the Macedonian defence, going close with a rising shot on 65 minutes from just outside the box but Alchevski saved.

The last 20 minutes were tense with referee Slawomir Olucha showing no fewer than five yellow cards.

It was a period when Macedonia pressed hard for a goal. A minute into added time, the visitors came very close to an equaliser.

Striker Maksimov created space inside the box before unleashing a strong shot which was saved in style by Debono.

A minute later, substitute Kurt Briffa could have added a second for the Maltese. He went on a forging run on the right after a raking  pass from the left flank but his effort missed the target .

The final whistle confirmed Malta’s morale-boosting victory ahead of their trip to Italy on Wednesday to take part in the famous Trofeo Nereo Rocco Tournament. They will face the U-17 teams of Juventus (31st August), Red Star Belgrade (1st September) and Bologna (2ndSeptember).

The Malta U17s are preparing for the UEFA U17 European Championship Group 3 qualifiers. They will play Austria (24th October), hosts Slovenia (27th October) and Bulgaria (30th October).

MALTA U-17 LINE-UP

Miguel Spiteri (Matthias Debono 41’), Sheldon Mizzi, Isaac Galea, Owen Spiteri (Gianluca Borg 51’), Ismael Borg (Leo Agius 51’), Gianluca Sciberras (Emerson Camilleri 73’), Karl Mohnani, Nikolai Farrugia Cross (Luke Musu 51’), Victor Degiorgio (Glen Mifsud 41’), Mattia Veselji, Jake Bone (Kurt Briffa 79’).


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