Malta Football Association
Euro U21: Spain show no mercy for Malta
Nov 12, 2021
Posted in:
U/21 Qualifiers
(c) Stephen Gatt
(c) Stephen Gatt

  • (c) Stephen Gatt
  • (c) Stephen Gatt
  • (c) Stephen Gatt
  • (c) Stephen Gatt
  • (c) Stephen Gatt


Qualifying round - Group C

12.11.2021, Centenary Stadium, Ta’ Qali



(HT 0-3)

S.Gomez 23, Ruiz 24, 88, Guillamon 40, Lobete 49.

As expected, Euro U21 semi-finalists and unbeaten group leaders Spain beat Malta tonight, their fifth win from five matches. The visitors showed off their class with slick moves and excellent ball control and circulation, dominating the encounter from start to finish. Although the hosts managed to survive the first twenty minutes unharmed, a wonderful attack followed by a defensive Maltese error paved the way for a most comfortable win for the Spanish.  

Compared with the away U21 qualifier in Slovakia last month, coach Gilbert Agius changed his team on three places. Goalkeeper Cain Formosa was preferred instead of Rashed Al-Tumi, Aleandro Garzia started in lieu of Karl Mohnani while up front, Jake Ghio played instead of Alex Satariano, who is part of the Malta national ‘A’ team. 


Formosa had to make his first save on nine minutes when Spain captain Abel Ruiz nearly capitalised on an incorrect back pass by the Maltese defence, but the San Gwann goalkeeper blocked the effort. Four minutes later, an Alejandro Frances effort from a corner action just missed target and on 16 minutes, Ruiz found the net but the goal was ruled out for off-side. The same player missed a sitter two minutes later but found again Formosa on his way. However, on 23 minutes, there was nothing Formosa could do to stop a Sergio Gomez thunderbolt from the edge of the box. Barely a minute later, Ruiz took full advantage of a wrong pass of Formosa, placing the ball straight in the Spanish forward’s feet, scoring the visitors’ second goal. On 39 minutes, centre-back Hugo Guillamon headed Spain’s third goal behind Formosa from a corner action. 


Four minutes after the break, substitute Julen Lobete scored Spain’s fourth goal, being sent through the middle by Ruiz, beating Formosa with an accurate shot from close range. On the hour, Oihan Sancet could have added another for Spain, but missed target after a fast counter-attack, when the Maltese were caught on the wrong foot after a rare corner action. The visitors certainly did not release their foot from the accelerator for the remaining thirty minutes, but created very little danger in front of Formosa’s goal, who looked solid with the attacks coming his way. Maltese defenders Carlo Zammit Lonardelli, Matthew Ellul and Christian Gauci deserve a compliment as well with some efficient defending throughout the whole ninety minutes, which certainly lifted the Maltese spirits.


However, Spain had the last say. After substitute Jose Fontan missed a sitter from close-range from a Spanish corner kick with four minutes left on the clock, Ruiz finished off another wonderful move to add Spain’s fifth goal on 88 minutes. 


Earlier today, Russia beat Slovakia 3-0 at the Khimki Arena while Northern Ireland beat Lithuania 4-0 in Ballymena. The Maltese selection is now travelling to Northern Ireland, whom they will play on Tuesday in Lurgan. 




Malta: Cain Formosa, Andreas Vella, Christian Gauci (Adam Bradshaw 84), Matthew Ellul, Carlo Zammit-Lonardelli, Marcus Grima, Bradley Sciberras (Jamie Sixsmith 74), Ayrton Attard (Gianluca Sciberras 74), Aleandro Garzia (Karl Mohnani 46), Jake Engerer, Jake Ghio (Jamie Carbone 46).

Coach: Gilbert Agius


Spain: Julen Agirrezabala (Joan Garcia 74), Manu Sanchez, Hugo Guillamon, Alejandro Frances (Jose Fontan 46), Sergio Carreira, Benat Turrientes (Sergio Camello 61), Unai Vencedor (Jose Gragera 54), Oihan Sancet, Gaspar Campos, Abel Ruiz, Sergio Gomez (Julen Lobete 46)

Coach: Luis de la Fuente


Referee: Dario Bel (Croatia)

Yellow card: Ghio.

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