The Malta Independent 5 December 2020, Saturday

Two headers give experimental Malta side victory over Gibraltar

Chris Cassar Thursday, 8 October 2020, 07:52 Last update: about 3 months ago

Malta 2

Gibraltar 0

Two headers, one at the start of the game and the other just before the final whistle, yesterday gave Malta victory over Gibraltar in a friendly at Ta’ Qali. National coach Devis Mangia fielded an experimental side with several new faces in preparation of Malta’s forthcoming matches in the UEFA Nations League.

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Malta will now travel to Andorra to play the third game on Saturday and then go Riga for another away match against Latvia. Malta yesterday deserved their victory, in a match that never really reached high standards.

Much of the game was played at a very slow pace, with the locals taking an early lead, and controlling the rest of the first half with ease. However the Maltese were not creative in attack, and apart from the goal scored, practically had no efforts at goal.

In the second half, Devis Mangia gambled a bit with our defensive set-up, introducing Valletta midfielder Triston Caruana in a central defensive role instead of Andrei Agius.

The gamble eventually paid off with Caruana ironically sealing the issue with the second goal on 90 minutes. However, in the early stages of the second half, Gibraltar had their best patch with our defence caught off guard several times, with goalkeeper Galea making a great save on 52 minutes to save the Malta side.

Malta had a good start taking the lead on eight minutes when from a Camenzuli freekick, Valletta striker Nwoko headed home. This goal galvanised the Maltese who were in full control having possession of the ball for long stretches but was not effective in front of goal. Malta was dealt a severe blow past the half-hour when striker Nwoko limped off with a hamstring injury, making him doubtful for the Nations League matches.

On 53 minutes Gibraltar had their best chance when Walker found space in the heart of the Malta defence but Galea saved the day blocking with his foot. Twelve minutes later off a freekick De Barr shot wide from an ideal position. That was practically all Gibraltar could offer, and the Maltese regained control of the match to seal the issue on 90 minutes when Jake Grech floated a good cross from the left and Caruana headed beautifully home.

 

Malta: Jake Galea, Ryan Camenzuli (60′ Paul Mbong), Andrei Agius (46′ Steve Borg), Matthew Guillaumier, Jake Grech, Kyrian Nwoko (40′ Luke Montebello), Rowen Muscat, Joseph Muscatt (87′ Cain Attard)), Samir Arab (46′ Triston Caruana), Shaun Dimech (60′ Myles Beerman), Kurt Shaw.

Gibraltar: Kyle Goldwin, Ethan Jolley (49′ Mohamed Barr), John Sergeant, Scott Wiseman, Reece Styche (50′ Tjay De Barr), Jayce Oliver, Kian Ronan (46′ Liam Walker), Erin Barnett (46′ Louie Annesley), Aymen Mouelhi, Alain Pons (63′ Lee Casciaro), Jamie Coombes (46′ Graeme Torrilla).

Scorers: Kyrian Nwoko 8 min, Triston Caruana 90 min.

Referee: Nikola Popov

 

Photo Domenic Aquilina

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