A late penalty for Georgia sinks Malta

A late penalty converted by Guram Kashia condemned Malta to a 1-0 defeat at the hands of Georgia.

Photo: MFA
Photo: MFA

Ray Farrugia decided to make four alterations to the team that held Armenia in a 1-1 draw. Andrew Hogg, Ferdinando Apap, Steve Pisani and Kyrian Nwoko made way for Henry Bonello, Ryan Camilleri, Joseph Mbong and Myles Beerman.

Georgia were the better side during the first half and threatened Malta on a number of occasions. However, they couldn’t find a way past Malta’s defence as the first half ended up in a goalless draw.

The first chance of the match was created after five minutes. Lasha Dvali’s cross was met by Otar Kiteishvili and the latter saw his header going slightly wide.

Georgia went close again on the 10th minute. Myles Beerman lost possession and Saba Lobjanidze went forward before passing the ball in the direction of Vakhtang Tchanturishvili whose effort was blocked by Henry Bonello.

The post denied Georgia on the 18th minute. From a free-kick, Valeriane Gvilia delivered a cross towards Saba Lobjanidze whose header hit the upright and was cleared off the line.

Lobjanidze went close again a minute later. The Georgian midfielder received the ball from Gvilia and finished over from inside the penalty area.

Bonello denied Georgia once more on the 38th minute. Levan Gegetchkori delivered a cross from the right flank towards Budu Zivzivadze. The twenty-three year old made contact with the ball and forced a good save from Valletta’s goalkeeper.

In the remaining minutes, Malta held firm despite Georgia’s pressure to go to the break level.

Malta improved a lot during the second half and were superior to their opponents who ended up in ten men as Gvilia was sent off after being shown his second yellow card of the match on the 53rd minute.

The Maltese players tried to take an advantage of their extra man and nearly succeeded on the 57th minute. Beerman’s free-kick went into the path of Ryan Camilleri whose effort forced a decent save from Roini Kvaskhvadze.

Farrugia’s side created another good chance on the 81st minute. Andrei Agius tried his luck from distance, but his shot ended up high.

Georgia’s goalkeeper was on the alert on the 85th minute as he blocked Kyrian Nwoko’s low shot from the left.

However, despite Malta’s efforts, Georgia scored the winning goal on the 89th minute. Steve Borg floored Otar Kiteishvili inside the penalty area and the referee pointed towards the spot. From the eleven metres mark, Kashia made no mistake.

Following this game, Malta’s squad will return home after a seven day training camp in Austria.

Malta starting line-up: Henry Bonello, Joseph Zerafa, Steve Borg, Andrei Agius, Paul Fenech, Michael Mifsud, Roderick Briffa, Joseph Mbong, Myles Beerman, Ryan Camilleri, Alfred Effiong

Georgia starting line-up: Roini Kvaskhvadze, Levan Gegetchkori, Guram Kashia, Solomon Kverkvelia, Giorgi Aburjania, Otar Kiteishvili, Saba Lobjanidze, Vakhtang Tchanturishvili, Budu Zivzivadze, Lasha Dvali, Valeriane Gvilia

Referee: Manuel Schuttengruber (Austria)