Daniel Da Mota's late goal sinks Malta

 Da Mota’s goal inside the stoppage time earned Luxembourg a 1-0 win over Malta.

Photo: Dominic Borg
Photo: Dominic Borg

Malta were coming from a series of negative results. The Maltese side lost five of their last six matches. The only exception was a 1-1 draw against Lithuania last October.

On the other hand, Luxembourg won two of their last six matches and managed to secure two draws as well. However, they also suffered two heavy defeats against Sweden (8-0) and Netherlands (5-0). Their most prestigious result is definitely their 0-0 draw against France last September.

 Malta and Luxembourg faced each other on five different occasions. Malta won 2-0 in the previous encounter that took place in 2012. Two other matches ended up in draw, while Luxembourg emerged victorious in the remaining two matches.

The difference between the two teams in the FIFA World Rankings is also quite considerable. Luxembourg’s good form led them towards the 83rd place. Meanwhile, Malta are currently in the 185th place.

For this match, Tom Saintfiet decided to give Jean Borg his first cap. The young Valletta defender earned his place in the national time following a number of good performances for his side.

The visitors started the match on the offensive and had a good chance after 45 seconds. David Turpel received the ball inside the penalty area and hit a low shot that was pushed away by Andrew Hogg.

Luxembourg went close again on the 7th minute. Laurent Jans delivered a cross towards Gerson Rodrigues who headed the ball slightly over.

Malta lost a golden opportunity on the 12th minute. Following some lack of communication between Luxembourg’s goalkeeper and a defender, Andre` Schembri went past Ralph Schon, but saw his shot being deflected for a corner.

In the remaining minutes, both sides shared possession in the centre of the pitch. Moreover, the two teams were making a number of mistakes in their build up and thus neither Malta nor Luxembourg threatened each other as the first half ended in a goalless draw.

The match remained balanced throughout the early stages of the second half. Luxembourg were taking the initiative, but were unable to break Malta’s defence.

In fact, Luxembourg had to wait till the 72nd minute. Jans Laurent hit a thumping shot from distance that forced a spectacular save from Hogg.

Malta responded two minutes later. Jean Paul Farruiga won the ball on the right flank and went inside the penalty area. The Maltese international attempted to find a team mate, but the no one managed to make contact with the ball.

Holtz Luc’s side created another chance on the 82nd minute. Following a corner, Vincent Hill served Kevin Malget and the latter finished over.

Three minutes later, Myles Beerman also made his debut when he took Paul Fenech’s place.

Luxembourg broke Malta's hopes deep into stoppage time. Following a corner, the ball went into the path of Da Mota whose close range effort went past Hogg.

Malta will now face Finland on Monday. The match will be played in Belek, Turkey.

Malta starting line-up: Andrew Hogg, Steve Borg, Andrei Agius, Stephen Pisani, Paul Fenech, Andre` Schembri, Rowen Muscat, Zach Muscat, Jean Borg, Luke Gambin, Cain Attard

Luxembourg starting line-up: Ralph Schon, Enes Mahmutovic, Chris Philipps, Lars Gerson, Christopher Martins, Vincent Thill, Gerson Rodrigues, Dirk Carlson, Leonardo Barreiro, Laurent Jans, David Turpel

Referee: Enea Jorgji (Albania)

Assistant Referees: Ermal Barushi, Rejdi Avdo

Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani