The Malta Independent 30 November 2022, Wednesday
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Friendly match: Late goals give Malta victory over Israel

Wednesday, 28 September 2022, 06:33 Last update: about 3 months ago

Chris Cassar

Two late goals gave Malta a more than deserved victory over Israel, who have gained promotion to Group A in the next UEFA Nations League. It was a very good overall performance by the boys in red, yesterday led by Davide Mazzotta after the suspension of Devis Mangia.

The performance of the Maltese was rather surprising as surely the news of the day must have upset the players. But it was not to be as Malta played a gallant match especially in the second half and justice was done with two late and well taken goals, after the rather soft penalty that gave Israel a first half lead.

Davide Mazzotta made five changes from the initial line-up that faced Estonia in Tallinn on Friday. Steve Borg had a starting role in defence instead of Cain Attard and Bjorn Kristensen took Brandon Paiber’s place in midfield.

There were radical changes in attack with Jurgen Degabriele, Jan Busuttil and Shaun Dimech playing instead of Teddy Teuma, Jodi Felice-Jones and Alex Satariano.

The start was balanced with Israel having more possession of the ball but the Malta defence was not under pressure. On 20 minutes Bonello made the first save blocking a deflected Altman freekick.

On 29 minutes Malta were very unlucky when Ryan Camenzuli went through on the left and crossed low towards Shaun Dimech whose effort hit the base of the upright. Three minutes later Albanian referee Hamiti invented a penalty for an imaginary contact between Steve Borg and Gropper. From the spot captain Natcho made no mistake sending Bonello the wrong way.

Jodi Jones and James Brown were introduced in the second half and after a couple of minutes Jones went close when well served by Guillaumier but the Israeli goalkeeper saved well. On 61 minutes Malta went close again when Joseph Mbong created havoc in the Israeli defence but his shot was blocked by Jarafi and Shaun Dimech filed to connect from the rebound.

Malta dominated the final part of the match with goalkeeper Jarafi making two outstanding saves to deny the locals. But on 84 minutes Malta obtained a deserved equaliser in a fast break with Jones passing to unmarked Satariano who drilled the ball home.

Malta pushed for more and on 86 minutes took the lead when form a Teuma corner, Apap’s powerful header finished in the top corner of the net.

Malta: H. Bonello, R. Camenzuli, S. Borg (F. Apap 60’), J. Borg (L. Montebello 78’), M. Guillaumier, J. Mbong, J. Degabriele (J. Brown 46’), E. Pepe, B. Kristensen (T. Teuma 60’), S. Dimech (A. Satariano 71’), J. Busuttil (J. Felice Jones 46’)

Israel: O. Marciano (Y. Jarafi 46’), M. Ghantus (G. Badash 74’), R. Shlomo, B. Natcho (S. Elias 66’), G. Naor, S. Weissman (G. Melamed 57’), O. Altman, R. Hatuel, O. Dadia (E. Dasa 57’), T. Baribo (I. Shviro 57’), D. Gropper.

Referee: Eldorjan (Albania)

Scorers: B. Natcho 32’ pen, A. Satariano 84’, F. Apap 86’

Yellow cards: S. Borg, G. Naor, E. Pepe, G. Badash

Photo Domenic Aquilina

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