Sweden ease past Malta in a match characterised by individual mistakes

Sweden didn’t find any difficulties to overcome Malta as the Swedish secured a comfortable 4-0 win.

Photo: Dominic Borg
Photo: Dominic Borg

This was the 13th encounter between Malta and Sweden. The Swedish won the previous twelve matches. The last encounter took place at Solna in June. On that day, Sweden secured a 3-0 win over the Maltese.

Sweden arrived in Malta looking to win again since they could not slip up in order to remain on the forefront for a place inside the final tournament next summer.

On the other end, the Maltese were coming from five consecutive defeats without scoring a single goal. However, their performance against Romania in their previous match surely served to boost the morale of the players ahead of this match.

As expected, Sweden were the dominant side during the first-half and kept Malta under pressure. Things became easier for them since they took an early lead. However, they did not create as many chances as they wanted.

The Swedish forged ahead after 11 minutes. Pierre Bengtsson’s delivery from a corner was met by Marcus Danielson who placed the ball past Henry Bonello.

Sweden threatened Malta again on the 33rd minute. Robin Quaison drilled a low shot that was parried by Henry Bonello.

Bonello denied Sweden again two minutes later. From a free-kick, Sebastian Larsson fired a powerful shot that was blocked by Malta’s goalkeeper.

Malta replied during the additional time prior to half-time. Rowen Muscat hit a shot from distance that was neutralised by Robin Olsen.

Sweden improved more during the second half and managed to make sure of the three points twenty minutes into the half.

On the 51st minute, Pierre Bengtsson fired a shot from outside the penalty area that forced a good save from Bonello.

The score became 2-0 on the 58th minute. Joseph Mbong grabbed Andreas Ganqvist from the shirt inside the penalty area and gave away a penalty. Sebastian Larsson stepped up and converted.

On the other end, Alfred Effiong failed to hit the target from inside the penalty area following a corner.

Sweden added another goal on the 65th minute. Quaison’s delivery was diverted by Andrei Agius inside his own net.

Three minutes later, Paul Fenech fired a powerful shot from distance that failed to hit the target.

Sweden scored again through another penalty on the 70th minute. Substitute Jonathan Caruana floored Quaison inside the penalty area and the referee signalled for another penalty. Larsson took charge of the spot kick and converted once again.

Two minutes later, Isak unleashed a strong shot that ended up marginally over.

Sweden nearly scored again on the 75th minute. Isak went on a good rn down the right flank before delivering a low pass towards Emil Forsberg whose effort went wide.

Bonello denied Isak on the 77th minute. The substitute fired a shot from the right that was blocked by Valletta’s goalkeeper.

Malta hit back on the 80th minute. Luke Gambin’s shot was saved by Olsen.

However, Sweden remained superior as they took home the three points ahead of their match against Spain.

Malta starting line-up: Henry Bonello, Andrei Agius, Joseph Mbong, Kyrian Nwoko, Rowen Muscat (Paul Fenech-68), Dunstan Vella, Kurt Shaw, Alfred Effiong (Michael Mifsud-75), Luke Gambin, Joseph Zerafa, Zach Muscat (Jonathan Caruana-67)

Sweden starting line-up: Robin Olsen, Mikael Lustig, Andreas Ganqvist, Pierre Bengtsson, Sebastian Larsson, Albin Ekdal (Gustav Svensson-64), Marcus Berg (Sebastian Andersson-80), Emil Forsberg, Marcus Danielson, Kristoffer Olsson, Robin Quaison (Alexander Isak-71)

Referee: Sergei Ivanov (Russia)

Assistant Referees: Roman Usachev, Valeri Danchenko

Fourth Official: Sergei Lapochkin

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