10-man Malta beat Faroe Islands in first home win in 13 years

Malta kicked off their European Qualifiers with a win over the Faroe Islands, in the national team's first home win since 2006

Photo: Dominic Borg
Photo: Dominic Borg

Malta produced an excellent performance tonight to secure a 2-1 win over the Faroe Islands, even though they were down a player for the last 30 minutes.

Malta’s first half was excellent. The Maltese players held on to possession and dominated their opponents. They managed to score and also create chances on goal. On the other hand, Faroe Islands never threatened Henry Bonello.

On the 13th minute, following a long ball forward by Rowen Muscat, Paul Fenech served Kyrian Nwoko and the latter headed the ball home past Gunnar Nielsen.

Nwoko nearly added another for Malta five minutes later. Joseph Mbong’s cross from the left was met by the youngster who headed the ball marginally off target.

The Maltese players remained on the offensive and created another chance on the 21st minute. Michael Mifsud received the ball from Fenech and fired a shot from inside the penalty area that sailed over.

Malta remained in control during the remaining minutes as the Maltese went into half time leading 1-0.

The Faroes increased their efforts during the second half, but Malta defended bravely and also managed to increase their lead. They managed to do so with ten men as Andrei Agius was sent off on the 62nd minute, when Hallur Hansson’s shot was handled by Aguis inside the penalty area.

The referee quickly pointed towards the spot and sent off the veteran defender. However, Brandur Hendriksson saw his shot from 11-metre mark being pushed away by Bonello.

Despite having to resort to a lot of defending, Malta managed to double their advantage on the 76th minute. Joseph Mbong went on an excellent run before being floored inside the penalty area by Atli Gregerson. The referee was close and signalled for a penalty in favour of Malta. Steve Borg stepped up and converted to the joy of the numerous supporters present at the National Stadium.

The Faroes hit back on the 83rd minute. Following a cross by Gilli Rolantsson, Viljormur Davidsen’s close range shot was saved by Bonello.

Faroe Islands pulled one back seven minutes into the additional time. Rolantsson’s cross was met by Jakup Thomsen who headed the ball behind Bonello.

However, it was too late for the Faroes as Malta emerged victorious.

After the final whistle, the joy was evident in the players, technical staff and the supporters present at the National Stadium as this was Malta’s first competitive home win after thirteen years.

This was the seventh encounter between the two sides. In the previous showdowns, Malta’s national team secured a win and a draw, losing four matches.

The last two encounters are still fresh in Malta’s memory as the team faced the Faroes twice during the UEFA Nations League. In that tournament, Malta lost 3-1 at Torshavn, but managed to hold them to a 1-1 draw at the National Stadium.

Prior to this match, Malta’s last win at the National Stadium dated back to the 11 October 2006 when the national team beat Hungary 2-1.

Malta starting line-up: Henry Bonello, Jonathan Caruana, Steve Borg, Andrei Agius, Matthew Guillaumier, Joseph Mbong, Paul Fenech, Michael Mifsud (Joseph Zerafa-71), Kyrian Nwoko, Rowen Muscat (John Mintoff-85), Juan Corbolan (Zach Muscat- 62)

Faroe Islands starting line-up: Gunnar Nielsen, Viljormur Davidsen, Atli Gregerson, Hallur Hansson, Nrandur Henriksson, Gilli Rolantsson, Solvi Vanthamar (Kai Bartalsstovu–68), Rogvi Baldvinsson (Arni Frederiksberg-79), Jakup Thomsen, Odmar Faero, Rene Joensen (Olsen Klaement-71)

Referee: Vilhjalmur Thorarinsson (Island)

Assistant Referees: Gylfi Mar Sigurdsson, Birkir Sigurdarson

Fourth Official: Ivar Orri Kristjansson

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