Late soft goals down Malta

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Two late goals downed a well or­gan­ised Malta side yes­ter­day in Vil­nius. It was a harsh re­sult for the Mal­tese who played a very dili­gent match and were never in real dan­der in the first hour of the game.

How­ever Lithua­nia in­creased their tempo past the hour as the Mal­tese lost their con­cen­tra­tion and hold of the mid­field sec­tor and were sub­se­quently pun­ished.

The two goals suf­fered were rather soft and could have been avoided with some more con­cen­tra­tion. The Mal­tese were more in the game com­pared to the dif­fi­cult 90 min­utes at Wem­b­ley, but in the end we once again left the field empty handed, still in search of our first points after match day three.

Pi­etro Ghedin made three changes from Wem­b­ley’s ini­tial lineup, with the in­tro­duc­tion of Jonathan Caru­ana, who was sus­pended against Eng­land, Joseph Zer­afa, and vet­eran striker Michael Mif­sud. These three played in­stead of Alex Muscat, Ryan Camil­leri and Al­fred Ef­fiong.

After barely a minute Wem­b­ley’s hero An­drew Hogg made his first save deny­ing Val­skis from close range. On nine min­utes a good Mal­tese move on the left flank with An­dre Schem­bri fail­ing to con­nect to Joseph Zer­afa’s low cross.

These were prac­ti­cally the only at­tempts at goal in the first half, with Hogg again called in ac­tion just be­fore the fi­nal whis­tle sav­ing a long range ef­fort from Cernych. Malta played a very dili­gent match in the first half shar­ing the pos­ses­sion of the ball with their op­po­nents.

The Mal­tese were well or­gan­ised in all de­part­ments and played some very good foot­ball with a se­ries of short passes that frus­trated our op­po­nents.

There were no changes on the re­sump­tion with the Mal­tese still in full con­trol of the pro­ceed­ings. On the hour Malta had a good op­por­tu­nity in a fast break when Michael Mif­sud passed to­wards Gareth Sciber­ras whose ef­fort was de­flected to a cor­ner by a Lithua­nian de­fender.

On 69 min­utes An­drew Hogg made a great save when he turned into a cor­ner a shot on the turn from Mikuckis. Lithua­nia in­creased the pres­sure as the Mal­tese lost their com­po­sure in mid­field and were pun­ished fif­teen min­utes from time when the Mal­tese de­fence failed to clear away the ball fol­low­ing a cor­ner ac­tion and Fiodor Cernych headed past Hogg.

Pi­etro Ghedin made his first change ten min­utes from time adding an­other striker Al­fred Ef­fiong for Bjorn Kris­tensen. But two min­utes later it was game over as Jonathan Caru­ana el­bowed Mat­ule­vi­cius with the ref­eree award­ing the penalty and show­ing the red card to Jonathan Caru­ana who was just mak­ing his re­turn from a sus­pen­sion.

From the penalty spot Niviko­vas made no mis­take with An­drew Hogg al­most sav­ing his shot. The Mal­tese threw in the towel in the re­main­ing min­utes and Lithua­nia missed two sit­ters that could have made the Mal­tese night more mis­er­able.

Lithua­nia’s open­ing goal scored by Cernych

Malta’s start­ing eleven yes­ter­day

An­dre Schem­bri in ac­tion yes­ter­day

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