Malta Football Association
Second half goals earn U21’s famous win in N. Ireland
Nov 16, 2021
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UEFA European Under21 Championship Group C

Mourneview Park

N. Ireland ….. 0

Malta ……… 2

A magnificent Marcus Grima strike paved the way for Malta to an unexpected but much deserved 2-0 victory against a Northern Ireland side who before this match had a perfect record at home in this Group C thus far.


The match was played in chilly Mourneview Park, home ground of Northern Irish top division side Glenavon FC.


One change by coach Gilbert Agius from the home game against Spain last week with Jamie Carbone from the start replacing Bradley Sciberras, on 26 minutes an early and enforced change for Malta with defender Christian Gauci out injured and replaced with Balzan’s Adam Bradshaw.


In the first 45 minutes Malta showed composure and quality also soaking up all the pressure coming their way, these are surely encouraging signs going forward for this rookie Maltese side led by coach Gilbert Agius.


After a flurry of half chances for Northern Ireland inside the first half an hour, on 33 minutes the home nation was reduced to 10 men after a straight red card to Trai Hume viewed by the Faroe Islands referee of stepping on Malta’s Ayrton Attard in an incident occurring inside the Malta box.


A man down Northern Ireland still mustered some rare opportunities, going close on the stroke of halftime with a Paul O’Neill angled header from a corner kick going just wide from Cain Formosa’s goal.


Start of the second half and out of nowhere the opening strike would finally come and for Malta on 49 minutes and what a goal by Marcus Grima with a fine and thunderous shot in the roof of the net from 25 yards out after receiving a stylish back heel cut back by fellow midfielder Ayrton Attard.


After the Malta goal, Northern Ireland failed to forge any kind of momentum with a 57th minute header by Kofi Balmer cleared off the line by the Malta defence marked as a rare opportunity for the home side.


On 84th minute Finn Cousin-Dawson almost levelled the score, but Malta keeper Cain Formosa was in a flawless mood saving the close range header and denying the Irish with this clear cut opportunity.


Malta scored the second goal late in the game, the 89th minute when a swift counter attack saw Jake Engerer passing the ball to the unmarked substitute Andrea Zammit who kept his composure before driving the ball past the helpless Irish keeper and give Malta U21 Team this famous win result.


The final whistle witnessed some jubilant moments by the Malta players and coaching staff after this impressive win pushing the Malta Under21 Team further in their ultimate target to avoid bottom place and possibly add to their current six points tally in this European U21 Championship Group C.


Northern Ireland –1. Liam Hughes, 2. Trai Hume, 3. Aaron Donnelly, 4. Kofi Balmer, 5. Finn Cousin-Dawson, 6. Ethan Galbraith ©, 9. Paul O'Neill (Ryan Waide 72), 10. Alfie McCalmont, 17. Dale Taylor, 20. Oisin Smyth (Caolan Boyd-Munce 72), 21. Paddy Lane (John Mcgovern 72).

Subs – 12. Oliver Webber, 7. Jack Scott, 11. Barry Crowe, 13. Shea Charles, 16. John Joshua McKiernan, 18. Carl Johnston.

MALTA –1. Cain Formosa, 4. Christian Gauci (Adam Bradshaw 26), 8. Marcus Grima (Gianluca Sciberras 62), 7. Ayrton Attard ©, 8. Andreas Vella, 11. Alejandro Garzia, 16. Jake Ghio (Bradley Sciberras 62), 18. Carlo Zammit Lonardelli, 19. Matthew Ellul, 21. Jake Engerer, 22. Jamie Carbone (Andrea Zammit 78).

Subs –12. Amara Sylla, 2. Nikolai Micallef, 3. Zean Leonardi, 10. Jamie Sixsmith, 14. Karl Mohnani.

Coach – Gilbert Agius

Assistant Coach – Francesco Macri

Goalkeepers Coach – Charles Sciberras

Fitness Coach – Karl Attard

Match Analyst  – Liam Sheridan

Kit Manager – Alexander Agius

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