The Malta Independent 4 December 2020, Friday

Nations League: Dismay as 1-1 draw not enough for Malta to win group

Chris Cassar Tuesday, 17 November 2020, 22:42 Last update: about 16 days ago

Malta                    1

Faroe Islands     1

A 1-1 draw against the Faroe Islands ended Malta’s hopes of making history.

The result was not enough for the boys in red to win the group and be promoted from League D to League C of the Nations League.

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It will be the Faroe Islands who make the step up, with Malta finishing in second place.

It is however a commendable result for Devis Mangia’s team as it is the first time that Malta finished a competitive group in second place.

Malta extended their unbeaten run to seven games, the best in the national team’s history.

Malta’s glory and promotion dreams lasted fifteen minutes in the second half, the time between Matthew Guillaumier’s opener and Jonsson’s equaliser. It must be said that it was a fair result, the Faroe Islands dominated the first half, in which the Maltese never setlled down.

The second half was a completely different proposition with the Maltese taking the initiative and the lead with a well taken goal. Malta however failed to hold to this lead as they suffered a goal on the hour, a goal that caught the Maltese defence unprepared.

The final minutes were somewhat heroic with the Maltese pushing everything forward in a desperate search for the winner, but this did not materialise, and Malta had to settle for second place in the group.

Devis Mangia started with the same formation that did so well against Andorra, with the only change in defence, with the return of the suspended Steve Borg. The first half was difficult for the locals who never really settled down.

The systematic pressing on the local defenders by the Faroe Islands players was very effective with the Maltese unable to play the ball and move forward. The Maltese had no other options but to use long balls to try to overcome this pressing, but many times the Maltese were erratic in their passes, with Luke Montebello and Jurgen Degabriele rarely served.

The Maltese had some good openings especially on the left flank with Ryan Camenzuli and Teuma combining well, but Camenzuli’s crosses were always met by the Faroe Islands defenders who had some centimetres of advantage on high balls.

In one of these long balls in the opening stages goalkeeper Gestsson was almost beaten by a long ball, but he managed to head the ball outside the area.

However after the first balanced minutes the Faroe Islands increased their pressure and completely took the initiative in the last part of the first half. There were some anxious moments in our defence in front of Bonello, with Guillaumier u Teuma unable to protect our defence on clearances from the same defenders.

Henry Bonello saved the day for the Maltese on 34 minutes when he dived to brilliantly deny Hendriksson who shot at goal from close range. Five minutes later Bjartalio was left unmarked on the edge of the area but his effort went over the bar.

Bonello again came to our rescue when a blocked a fierce central drive from Bajtalio, with the same player again hitting over the bar from the edge of the area on 43 minutes.

On the resumption the Maltese started to play better, advancing and pushing the opponents in their own half. On 51 minutes a good Mbong move who leaft two players behind before passing towards Gambin who scored, but the goal was disallowed for an offside position.

Three minutes later Malta took the lead. A Teuma freekick was partially cleared by the Faroe defence and Matthew Guilaumier drilled the ball home for a great goal. Malta had a good ten minutes easily controlling their opponents, but the Faroe Islands quickly reversed everything in attack and drew level on 69 minutes when substitute Jonsson fired home from close range following a good move on the right.

Two minutes later Bonello again came to the rescue with a good save, but on 75 minutes Malta missed a golden opportunity with Mbong all alone in front of goal shooting straight in Gestsson’s hands. Malta was now all over their opponents and Gestsson again was instrumental making a brilliant save off Guillaumier.

In the final minutes Malta threw everything forward but the locals just could not get past the solid Faroe defence.

 

 

Malta: H. Bonello, R. Camenzuli, S. Borg, A. Agius (S. Dimech 84’), M. Guillaumier, J. Mbong, L. Montebello (K. Nwoko 75’), K. Shaw, T. Teuma (S. Pisani 79’),  J. Degabriele (A. Satariano 84’), L. Gambin

Faroe Islands: T. Gestsson, V. Davidsen, H. Hansson, J. Bjartalio (A. Jonsson 63’), B. Hendriksson, G. Rolantsson, S. Vatnhamar, K. Olsen (H. Jakobsen 81’), O. Faero, G. Vatnhamar, M. Olsen

Referee: Kristo Tohver (Estonia)

Ass. Referees:  Silver Kolv, Sten Klaasen (Estonia)

Fourth Official: Juri Frischer (Estonia)

Scorers: M. Guillaumier 54’, A. Jonsson 69’

Yellow cards: K. Shaw, O. Faero, H. Hansson,


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