Malta Football Association
Learning curve resume for U21 boys albeit defeat
Oct 12, 2021
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UEFA European U21 Championship – 12.10.2021

Group C – FC Nitra Stadium – Nitra, Slovakia

Slovakia U21 ..... 4

Malta U21 ……... 0


A tough defeat for Malta U21 Team on Tuesday afternoon losing 4-0 in Nitra against Slovakia in their fourth UEFA European U21 Championship Group C qualifier.

Three changes by coach Gilbert Agius from the Lithuania match last week, with Alexander Satariano back from the senior squad, restored in attack and in his unfamiliar number 2 shirt as he replaced from the start in a forward position Mattia Veselji.


In goal Nocerina keeper Rashed Al-Tumi in place of Cain Formosa, also a forced change with injured Aleandro Garcia ruled out for this match and replaced with Melita’s Karl Mohnani.


Slovakia proved to be too strong for Malta.  They only lost by a whisker last week in Spain (3-2).  They had the luxury to play most of the match with star player, Martin Svidersky, who plays with the U23 side of Manchester United, on the bench before coming on as a late substitute fifteen minutes from the end of the match.


Nine minutes on the clock, the first attempt by Slovakia.  Matej Trusa tried his luck from an acute angle, with the ball going just wide from Al-Tumi’s goal.


Apart from that the boys were able to withstand an early flurry of chances and started to trouble Slovakia. On one occasion following a good move between several Maltese players, Satariano’s low shot from inside the box was blocked by a Slovakian defender. 


At the start of the match, Malta side was a joy to watch, countering with speed and precision, showcasing the hard work done in the three weeks they’ve been together.


By time Slovakia did increase their tempo and on 23 minutes after a Malta player lost the ball in a dangerous area in the middle of the park, Slovakia did punish and took advantage when Matej Tusa found the bottom corner with a neat low drive beating keeper Al-Tumi who was in his part blameless in this opening goal for Slovakia. 


Slovakia went two up on 36 minutes.  A swift counterattack resulting in Tusa whipping in a pinpoint cross from the right flank finding Jakub Kadak who headed home from close range.


That was harsh for the boys who suffered this second goal against the run of play as they were playing well and showing character and resilience upon conceding.


Immediately after the restart, the match descended into a low-key affair as Malta were keeping their hopes alive for a more respectable result.  They did try to push forward and create opportunities, however it was Slovakia again with Peter Kovacik who surged forward on the right, with his low solo effort was impressively blocked by keeper Al-Tumi.


Slovakia did make it three on 65 minutes.  A brace for Matej Trusa heading home after another swift counter leaving Malta players helpless in their efforts to find a goal back.


They added a fourth on 81 minutes with a flawless penalty shot in the bottom corner by Matej Tuma scoring his hat-trick despite keeper Al-Tumi marking the shot from 12 yards and was inches from saving with his fingertips.


The match ended with a final opportunity for Malta in added time, as Satariano surged clear on goal, but his shot was saved by the Slovakian keeper Ivan Krajcirik who came out of his box sharply to deny the Malta striker.


Final result – Slovakia 4-0 Malta.


Slovakia XI – Ivan Krajcirik, Tomas Nemcik, Peter Pokorny © (Martin Svidersky 78), Roland Galcik (Matus Kmet 78), Matej Trusa, Sebastian Kosa, Jakub Kadak (Sebastian Nebyla 60), Adrian Kapralik (Adam Goljan 68), Ivan Mesik, Jan Bernat (Filip Lichy 68), Peter Kovacik.

Coach – Jaroslav Kentos.


Malta XI – Rashed Al-Tumi (Nocerina Calcio), Alex Satariano (Frosinone Calcio), Christian Gauci (Valletta FC) (Larens Vella 85), Marcus Grima (Balzan FC), Ayrton Attard (Hibernians FC) © (Adam Bradshaw 85), Andreas Vella (Santa Lucia FC), Karl Mohnani (Melita), Carlo Zammit Lonardelli (Sirens FC), Matthew Ellul (Hibernians FC), Bradley Sciberras (Floriana FC) (Jamie Sixsmith 72), Jake Engerer (Sliema Wanderers FC) (Mattia Veselji 57).


Subs not used – Cain Formosa (San ń†wann FC), Sheldon Mizzi ((Pieta Hotspurs FC), Samuel Okoh (Pieta Hotspurs FC), Victor Degiorgio (Maryville Uni), Jamie Carbone (Santa Lucia FC).

Coach – Gilbert Agius.


Referee: Eldorjan Hamiti (ALB)

Assistant Referee 1: Rejdi Avdo (ALB)

Assistant Referee 2: Alfred Shkreta (ALB)

Fourth Official: Indrit Myrtaj (ALB)

UEFA Referee Observer: Volodymyr Petrov (UKR)

UEFA Delegate: Márton Esterházy (HUN).

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