The Malta Independent 14 November 2018, Wednesday

U21 Friendly: Fragile Malta suffer another heavy defeat

Chris Cassar Tuesday, 11 September 2018, 20:43 Last update: about 3 months ago
Photos: Domenic Aquilina
Photos: Domenic Aquilina

Malta: J. Galea (M. Grech 46'), J. Borg, K. Zammit, K. Micalef (K. Shaw 56'), D. Vella (N. Muscat 79'), M. Guillaumier (Z. Scerri 46'), J. Grech, K. Nwoko, J. Degabriele (C. Mercieca 56'), M. Beerman (D. Agius 59'), M. Sansone

Georgia: L. Gugeshasvili (O. Goshadze 46'), L. Lochoshvili, G. Margvelashvili, R. Chachua (A. Shulaia 78'), G. Kharaishvili, L. Zarandia, G. Giorbelidze, V. Arveladze (G. Beridze 70'), N. Ninua (L. Matcharashvili 86'), I. Bughridze (G. Kolchreidze 56'), L. Nozadze (G. Kantaria 70').

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Referee: Georgis Kominis (Greece)

Ass.referees: Mitchell Scerri, Christopher Francalanza.

Scorers: I. Bughridze 15', K. Nwoko 27', L. Zarandia 32', V. Arveladze 49', 53', J. Grech 67' pen, L. Zarandia 93' pen

Yellow cards: N. Ninua, Z. Scerri, L. Zarandia, C. Mercieca

Malta's Under-21 side yesterday suffered another defeat at the hands of Georgia in a friendly at the Centenary Stadium. It was'nt an overall bad performance by the Maltese but they were fragile losing easy balls in midfield, which many a times led to Georgia's goals. The players need to concentrate more as they were too erratic at times.

Initially Vella fielded the same formation that faced Belgium on Friday with the exception Michele Sansone who started instead of Kurt Shaw.

Georgia was more swift on the ball and their football was fast and flowing, and they have some promising and gifted starlets too and fully deserved their victory.

Malta started the match on the attack with Kyrian Nwoko put through by Grech, but the Valletta striker was anticipated before he could shoot at goal. On ten minutes Georgia almost went ahead when Arveladze's close range shot was brilliantly and partially blocked by Galea, and Sansone was on hand to clear the ball off the goal line.

But five minutes later Georgia took the lead when Matthew Guillaumier lost possession of the ball in midfield and the Malta defence was caught outnumbered with Kharaishvili passing towards Irakli Bughridze who easily slotted past Galea.

Five minutes later Georgia went close again with Jake Galea coming to Malta's rescue blocking Chachua's run. Half way through the first half Malta had two good opportunities, both for striker Nwoko but both his efforts were well saved by Georgia goalkeeper Gugeshasvili.

On 27 minutes Malta drew level with a well taken goal. Credit goes to Matthew Guillaumier who dribbled past a couple of players before passing towards the unmarked Kyrian Nwoko who slotted home with a low drive.

But Malta's joy was short lived as five minutes later Georgia were back in front when the Georgia players were left ample space to roam at the edge of the area with captain Luka Zarandia planting the ball in the top corner of the net with relative ease.

Silvio Vella romped in goalkeeper Matthew Grech and Zachary Scerri for Galea and Guillaumier, and Georgia missed a good opportunity on 48 minutes through one of their most polished players Arveladze, who however made amends two minutes later with a low drive.

Vato Arveladze was again on the mark on 53 minutes with a personal move after yet another gift from the Malta midfield. A string of substitutions followed as the Maltese were now being outclassed.

On 66 minutes Malta pulled one back when a penalty was awarded for a handling infringement after a good run on the left by Christian Mercieca. From the penalty spot Jake Grech fired in the top corner.

Four minutes from time Nwoko almost pulled another one back but his effort slightly missed the upright. Deep in stoppage Georgia scored a fifth goal when captain Jake Grech floored captain Luka Zarandia and from the penalty spot the same Zarandia made no mistake for a final 2-5 scoreline.

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