World Cup Qualifier | Scotland 2 – Malta 0

Malta remain without a single point in group F after suffering a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Scotland.

Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar
Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar

Following a disappointing 4-0 defeat against England last Friday, Malta came into this match looking to regroup and gain a respectable result. However, they were up against a Scotland side that was going through a good run of results.

Scotland made their intentions clear from the start and were close after five minutes. Stuart Armstong hit a low shot from the edge of the penalty area that sailed slightly wide.

On the 8th minute, Andrew Hogg had to be alert to deny the Scottish from going ahead. James Forrest fired a shot from inside the penalty area that was well saved by the Maltese goalkeeper.

However, Scotland went ahead a minute later. From a corner, Leigh Griffiths sent a cross that was met by the unmarked Christophe Berra whose header from close range gave Hogg no chance.

The Scottish kept putting pressure on Malta and had another great chance on the 13th minute. Armstrong received a through ball inside the penalty area and fired a strong shot that hit the side netting.

On the half hour mark, Griffiths of Scotland tried his luck from a free-kick, but his shot went over.

Scotland started the second half on the attack and were close on the 48th minute. Forrest sent a shot from inside the penalty area that was blocked by Hogg.

A minute later, Scotland made it 2-0. Andy Robertson went down the left side and sent a cross towards James Morrison. The Scottish player attempted to slot the ball inside the net but hit the post. Griffiths took hold of the rebound and finished inside the net.

Malta responded on the 51st minute through Steve Pisani whose shot went off target.

Four minutes later, Forrest went on a good run before firing a low drive that was parried by Hogg.

On the 66th minute, Scotland threatened again. Griffiths went past a Maltese defender, ran towards the penalty area, and hit a shot that was neutralised by Hogg.

Malta’s best chance of the match was created on the 75th minute. Luke Gambin served Joseph Zerafa down the left flank, and the latter ran towards the penalty area before hitting a shot that was parried by Craig Gordon.

Two minutes from time, Phillips received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and hit a powerful drive that went over.

Malta will now face Lithuania at the National Stadium on the 5th of October.

Scotland starting line-up: Craig Gordon, Kieran Tierney, Andy Robertson, Christophe Berra, Charlie Mulgrew, James McArthur, Stuart Armstrong, Scott Brown, Leigh Griffiths, Matthew Phillips, James Forrest

Malta starting line-up: Andrew Hogg, Sam Magri, Steve Borg, Andrei Agius, Ryan Fenech, Andre Schembri, Zach Muscat, Bjorn Kristensen, Joseph Zerafa, Alfred Effiong, Steve Pisani

Referee: Jakob Kelhlet (Denmark)

Assistant Referees: Henrik Larsen, Heine Sorensen

Fourth Official: Michael Tykgaard