UEFA Euro Qualifiers: Malta defeated by Sweden

Malta suffered their twelfth defeat against Sweden as the Maltese lost 3-0 in a match valid from the European qualifiers.

Photo: Joe Borg / MFA
Photo: Joe Borg / MFA

Malta started the campaign on a high as they managed to secure a 2-1 win over Faroe Islands. However, they were beaten 2-0 by Spain few days later.

Sweden also started with a 2-1 win over Romania. However, they were held by Norway in a 3-3 draw during their second fixture.

The Swedish came into this match looking to secure a win at all costs in order to keep the pace with Spain. On the other end, Malta’s aim was to make this task a difficult one for Jan Andersson’s side.

When it comes to previous encounters, Malta faced Sweden in 11 previous encounters. Sweden won all previous matches and scored 42 goals in the process. Prior to this match, Malta only managed to score twice against Sweden.

Malta made a poor start to the match and conceded after just two minutes. Kristoffer Olson’s delivery from the right was met by Marcus Berg whose header was pushed away by Henry Bonello. Robin Quaison was at the right place at the right time and placed the ball home.

Sweden had another promising opportunity on the 18th minute. Ludwig Augustinsson exchanged the ball with Emil Forsberg before firing a shot from inside the penalty area that failed to hit the target.

Bonello was on the alert to deny Sweden on the 24th minute. Marcus Berg made space for himself and drilled a low shot that was parried by Malta’s goalkeeper.

Valletta’s custodian made himself a protagonist again 10 minutes later as he stretched to his right in order to deny Forsberg.

Malta hit back and nearly equalised two minutes from half-time. Joseph Mbong sent a cross in the direction of Alfred Effiong whose header forced a good save from Robin Olsen.

Sweden doubled their advantage on the 49th minute. Berg sent Viktor Claesson through in an elegant fashion and the latter had the easiest of chances as he just lobbed the ball behind Bonello.

Malta replied on the 73rd minute. Paul Fenech fired a powerful shot from distance, but his effort sailed off target.

Despite this effort, Sweden sealed the issue on the 80th minute. This time it was Alexander Isak who finished inside the net.

Late into the match, Bonello showed good reflexes to deny Claesson.

Following this result, Malta remain ahead of Norway and Foroe Islands despite the defeat.

The Maltese will now be in action on Monday against Romania.

Sweden starting line-up: Robin Olsen, Mikael Lustig, Filip Helander, Ludwig Augustinsson, Albin Ekdal (Sabastian Larsson – 77), Marcus Berg (Alexander Isak – 68), Emil Forsberg, Viktor Claesson, Pontus Jansson, Kristoffer Olsson, Robin Quaison (John Guidetti- 85)

Malta starting line-up: Henry Bonello, Steve Borg (Ferdinando Apap-80), Andrei Agius, Jake Grech (Paul Fenech- 64), Joseph Mbong, Luke Montebello (Kyrian Nwoko – 71), Rowen Muscat, Juan Corbalan, Alfred Effiong, Luke Gambin, Zach Muscat

Referee: Rob Harvey (Ireland)

Assistant Referees: Wayne McDonnell, Mark Gavin

Fourth Official: Paul Mclaughlin

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