Late comeback not enough for unsettled U/21

Tuesday, September 6, 2011, 16:18

by Sandro Micallef

Malta 1 – Finland 2

U/21 UEFA Championships Group 2

A late come back with ten man was not enough for the Malta U/21 side to avoid their second consecutive loss in less than four days in the UEFA Championships Group 2.

Malta’s youths failed once again to rise for the occasion in front of the home crowd in a dull and disappointing game bar the in the last ten minutes of play. Żażu’s side found great difficulty to impose a tempo to the game and were never settled through the match.

The Scandinavian side led by ex International Mika Laurikainen, were already two goal up by the end of the first half. Things got worse with Mark Scerri’s sending off nine minutes into the second half.

Rowen Muscat had to be replaced during after suffering an ankle injury. Photo Joe Borg

With the Finish side trying to control the match, it was Malta who found a lucky cross shot goal on the 80th minute mark by Vella who gave go ahead for the push from the boys in red in the last minutes.

Unfortunately in was too late in the day to press the opponents and try some conclusions towards the opposing goalkeeper who was only in action with a fine save in the first half.

If the defensive blunder by Yessous Cammileri would not have happened it could have been a total different conclusion of the match.

Malta’s Under 21 next fixture in the UEFA U/21 Championship is a home double header on the 7th and 11th October against Ukraine and Lithuania respectively. Both games might be played at the Gozo Stadium.


First Half:

11min. Goal. Finland opens the score sheet with a half volley shot netted by Dalla Valle after a cross by Riski.

21min. Malta’s captain Rowen Muscat is forced to leave the pitch after suffering an ankle injury in a previous tackle.

30min. Malta first serious reaction. Bjorn Kristensen’s powerful shot from 35 meters tipped to corner by keeper Sahlgren.

44min. Goal. Finland’s Roope Riski nets the ball past Malta keeper Balzan after a Yessous Camilleri blunder.

 Second Half

8min. Yessous Camilleri heads just wide from a Leighton Grech cross

9min.  Red Card Mark Scerri after a late tackle on Schuller

71min. Timi Lahti misses the target from just inside the penalty area.

80min. Goal. Malta’s Terence Vella disguises Finish keeper Sahlgren with a lucky cross shot that see the ball in the net to lift up Żażu’s side morale.

Line Ups

Malta: Daniel Balzan, Zach Muscat, Owen Bugeja (JP. Farrugia 46min), Yessous Camilleri, Matthew Gauci, Rowen Muscat (Triston Caruana 21min), Mark Scerri, Bjorn Kristensen, Leighton Grech, Steve Pisani (M.Ciantar 71min), Terence Vella

Finland: S.P. Sahlgren, M.Sumusalo, T.Mantyala, R.Schuller (D.Tammilehto 61min), R.Riski (J.Lahde 81 min), P.Pennanen, D.Abdulahi, T.Rannankari (T.Heikkla 61min), T.Lahti, L.Dalla Valle, P.Forsell.

Referee: Neil Doyle (Rep of Ireland)

Yellow Cards: L.Grech (M), T.Mantyala, M.Sumusalo, R.Riski (F), M. Gauci, B.Kristensen (M), P.Pennanen (F)

Red Card: Mark Scerri 54min (M)

Scorers: Lauri Dalla Valle 11min, Roope Riski 44min  (F), Terence Vella 80min (M)

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