A brave display not enough for Malta

Malta’s brave display in their final group game was not enough as they lost 2-1 to Norway.

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

The Maltese were coming from a disastrous defeat in Spain and thus were looking for a better performance. However, this was another difficult encounter.

Norway are a team who managed to secure a number of positive results. In fact, their last defeat dates back to the opening match of group F where they narrowly lost to Spain. Following that result, they won three matches and drew the other five.

As expected, Ray Farrugia made a number of changes to his side. Jonathan Caruana, Brandon Paiber, Juan Corbolan and Jurgen Pisani made way for Steve Borg, Michael Mifsud, Paul Fenech and Joseph Zerafa.

Malta did not make the start they wished for as they conceded after just six minutes. Mats Daehli drilled a low cross in the direction of Joshua King who placed the ball past Henry Bonello.

Norway nearly doubled their advantage on the 28th minute. King went on an excellent run down the left flank before hitting a low shot that that ended up marginally off target.

However, the Maltese were constantly showing signs of improvement and managed to threaten Norway on the 31st minute. Kyrian Nwoko went inside the penalty area and drilled a low shot that went slightly wide.

Malta’s efforts paid off five minutes from half-time. Michael Mifsud delivered an excellent cross in the direction of Paul Fenech who finished inside the net from close range.

Norway started the second half on the offensive and went close one minute into the second half. Marcus Henriksen fired a shot from distance that was blocked by Bonello.

The Norwegian regained their lead on the 62nd minute. Sander Berge crossed the ball in the path of Alexander Sorloth who slotted home.

Norway lost a golden opportunity four minutes later. Zach Muscat floored Alexander Sorloth inside the penalty area and the referee signalled for a penalty. However, Bonello made himself a protagonist as he produced an excellent save to deny King.

Malta tried their best in order to equalise and created another chance on the 82nd minute. Joseph Mbong’s delivery from a free-kick was met by Andrei Agius whose header hit the side netting.

Despite Malta’s efforts late in the game, Norway remained in control as they took home the win.

Malta starting line-up: Henry Bonello, Steve Borg (Ferdinando Apap-74), Andrei Agius, Joseph Mbong, Paul Fenech, Michael Mifsud, Kyrian Nwoko, Rowen Muscat (Nikolai Muscat-70), Dunstan Vella (Alfred Effiong-60), Joseph Zerafa, Zach Muscat

Norway starting line-up: Orjan Nyland, Kristoffer Ajer, Tore Reginiussen, Joshua King (Fredrik Ulvestat-89), Iver Fossum, Alexander Sorloth, Sander Berge, Jonas Svensson (Tarik Elyounoussi-65), Birger Meling, Marcus Henriksen, Mats Daehli (Omar Elabdellaoui-45)

Referee: Aligar Aghayev (Azerbaijan)

Assistant Referees:  Zeynal Zeynalov, Akif Amirali

Fourth Official: Rauf Jobarov

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