Malta's players end their commitments in the UEFA Nations League with a draw

Malta’s last match in the UEFA Nations League ended in a draw as Ray Farrugia’s men shared the spoils with Faroe Islands in a 1-1 draw.

Photo: Dominic Aquilina / MFA
Photo: Dominic Aquilina / MFA

Malta started this match looking to bounce back from their disappointing defeat against Kosovo. The Maltese players had an extra incentive as they were conscious that a win would put them ahead of the Faroe Islands in the group.

Faroe Islands faced Malta in five previous encounters prior to this match. They secured four wins, while Malta registered a 3-2 win in a match that was played on the 19th of November 2013. The last fixtures between these two nations dates back to the 7th of September. On that day, Faroe Islands registered a 3-1 win over Malta. Michael Mifsud scored Malta’s goal.

Farrugia made it clear that nothing more than a win would satisfy him. The Maltese coach made no less than five changes to his starting line-up. Jonathan Caruana, Joseph Zerafa, Roderick Briffa, Luke Gambin and Ryan Camilleri made way for Steve Borg, Andrei Agius, Paul Fenech, Michael Mifsud and Clayton Failla.

The Faroes made an excellent start to the match and forged ahead after just three minutes. Gilli Rolantsson delivered a cross towards the unmarked Rene Joensen who headed the ball past Andrew Hogg.

Malta hit back immediately and equalised a minute later. Michael Mifsud’s shot from inside the penalty area was pushed away by Gunnar Nielsen. The ball went in the path of Juan Corbolan and the latter drilled a low shot that gave the opposing goalkeeper no chance. This was Corbolan’s first goal for the national team.

Faroe Islands regained control and created a good opportunity on the 20th minute. Following another cross by Rolantsson, Jakup Thomsen saw his header hitting the upright. However, the Maltese players breathed a sigh of relief as the assistant referee raised his flag for an offside.

The Faroes threatened Malta again on the 37th minute. Soelvi Vatnhamar received the ball inside the penalty area and headed it marginally wide.

During the remaining minutes, the Faroes remained in control, but Malta held firm as the first half ended in a 1-1 draw.

Malta made a good start to the second half and were unlucky not to score again on the 50th minute. Corbolan received the ball from Failla and attempted a volley from the edge of the penalty area that hit the upright and went out.

Faroe Islands replied on the 63rd minute, Brandur Hendriksson fired a shot from distance that failed to hit the target.

Mifsud lost a promising chance for Malta on the 74th minute. Birkirkara's forward received a long ball from Paul Fenech and ran forward. The veteran striker entered the penalty area and hit a low shot that was neutralised by Nielsen.

As the clock started ticking, Malta’s players increased their efforts upfront. However, they never bothered Nielsen as the match ended in a 1-1 draw.

Following this result, Malta will end their commitments in the UEFA Nationals League at the bottom of the table. The Maltese squad collected three points in six matches.

Malta starting line-up: Andrew Hogg, Steve Borg, Andrei Agius, Joseph Mbong, Paul Fenech, Michael Mifsud, Andre` Schembri, Rowen Muscat, Clayton Failla, Juan Corbolan, Zach Muscat

Faroe Islands starting line-up: Gunnar Nielsen, Viljormur Davidsen, Atli Gregersen, Sonni Nattestad, Hallur Hansson, Brandur Hendriksson, Gilli Rolantsson, Soelvi Vatnhamar, Rene Joensen, Rogvi Baldvinsson, Jakup Thomsen

Referee: Vitali Meshkov (Russia)

Assistant Referees: Anton Averianov, Dmitri Mosyakin

Additional Assistant Referees: Sergei Lapochkin, Mikhail Vilkov

Fourth Official: Maksim Gavrilin

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