Mifsud on target as Malta halts year long negative run

Wednesday, August 11, 2010, 23:58

by Sandro Micallef

Malta earned a much merited draw against the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in an International friendly played on Wednesday evening at the National Stadium. This was the first positive result for our National team since the debut of Buttigieg as National coach on 12th August 2009 against Georgia when we had won 2-0. A series of seven consecutive losses followed against Cape Verde 0-2, Sweden 0-1, Angola 2-1, Portugal 4-0, Bulgaria 1-4, Finland 1-2 and Germany 3-0.

It was the first official full international fixture of the 2010.11 season with National coach John Buttigieg and his assistant Carmel Busuttil using this game ahead of the double fixture against Israel away and Latvia home respectively as part of the EURO 2012 qualifiers.

Coach Buttigieg fielded a 4-4-2 formation with Hogg, Caruana and Agius as central defenders, Mamo and Herrera as right and left back, four midfielders Sciberras, Briffa, Pace and Bajada with Bagdanovic and Mifsud up front.

Malta had a very slow start allowing Macedonia to impose the game and attacking through the flanks easily. Jonuz Mirsad’s squad went 1-0 up on the 37th minute mark when Ivan Trickovski headed home from close range from a re-bound.

The second half saw a totally revived Malta side with Michael Mifsud managing to level the score two minutes from the start of the second part of the game when from a Briffa cross captain Mifsud struck the ball into the net with a perfectly executed flying header anticipating defender Mitreski.

Malta could have gone a goal up when Mifsud received a perfect through ball by Ryan Fenech, with Mifsud seeing his low shot hit the bottom part of the upright.

After match comments

Press Conference John Buttigieg after Malta v Macedonia

Press Conference John Buttigieg after Malta v Macedonia

Malta coach Buttigieg was extremely happy with his team’s second half reaction. “It was a difficult game, we started really slow and risked a lot and left much to be desired giving ample space for our opponents” said the Malta National Team coach.

Buttigieg said that the goal scored by Mifsud immediately after the start of the second half gave our team a big boost. When asked about Mamo’s substitution who was playing as left back just after the fist Half the ex-Birkirkara coach said “Do not forget that Mamo has just returned to his full fitness some weeks ago after he broke his arm at the end of last season, he is a valid player for our squad and had quite a good half time”

When asked if the game against Macedonia was the ideal test ahead of the EURO 2012 qualifiers, Buttigieg said that all International games are valid tests, concluded the satisfied coach.

This was the first time in six previous full International encounters that Malta managed a draw against the FYR Macedonia. Malta had lost all of it’s previous five games against this National team.

Watch short clip from Press Conference

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZPoi13e-E48

Line Ups:

Malta: A. Hogg, J. Caruana, C. Mamo (C.Failla 46min), G.Sciberras (R.Fenech 65min), A. Agius, S. Bajada (P. Fenech 80min), R. Briffa (A. Cohen 72min), M. Mifsud, D. Bogdanovic, E. Herrera, J. Pace

Macedonia: T. Pocovski (E.Nuredinoski 78min), G.Popov, V Lazarevski (V.Sikov 63min), I.Mitreski (B. Grancarov 56min), N. Noveski, S. Georgieski, F. Despotovski, I. Trickovski (A. Stojkov 55min), M. Gjurovski (B.Ibraimi 66min), G. Pandev, I. Naumoski (A.Alimi 72min)

Referee: Gabriele Rossi (San Marino) Assistants: Konrad Borg and Mariano Debono. 4th Official Chris Lautier





4 Comments

  1. Floriana says:

    Mr Dede ….jien nahseb l-ewwel xoghol li ghandek taghmel hu li tibni press conference room f ta’qali ghax ahna l-uniku pajjiz fid dinja li naghmlu il press conference fuq is sufan!

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    Sportinmalta Reply:

    well said – sandro

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  2. shaun says:

    Mala ma haqqux siehbi mario muscat prestazzjoni bhall dik kontra b`kara l-ahhar loghba.

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  3. Joe Ciangura says:

    why is it that mario muscat was in the squad ? mela m’hawnx reserve ahjar ? rajt il-loghba fuq melita u hargu difetti kollha tal-macedonja 2nd half. well done buttigieg

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