(1-0, 1-1, 1-2, 3-2)
The Malta U-15 national team fought hard but was still not enough to overcome Romania who edged to a 6-5 victory at the European Championships in Portugal.
Anthony Farrugia’s boys battled bravely against the Romanians but their lack of sharpness in front of goal turned out to be the difference as the Romanians clinched a thrilling victory.
The first session saw both sides having several scoring opportunities, but their finishing left much to be desired. The Maltese youngsters elected to shoot from the distance with scant success.
Romania finally found the breakthrough with 41 seconds to go through Benett Bajusz.
In the second session, Malta finally managed to level matters with an angled strike by Cain Cutajar.
However, it was Romania who managed to go into the interval 2-1 ahead when they were awarded a penalty and Ianis-George Soponar made no mistake.
The match remained evenly balanced in the third session, with the Maltese stepping up their efforts to get back into the match.
Farrugia’s boys finally drew level when in a quick transition Elijah Schembri scored from close in to make it 2-2.
The Romanians regained the lead through Serban-Ilian Burda but the Maltese restored equilibrium at three-all through Jayden Cassar.
The fourth and final session was set to decide the outcome of the match and it turned out to be ad ding-dong affair.
The Romanians quickly took the lead through a fine lob by Soponar but the Maltese quickly equalised through Zak Cutajar Licari.
Constantin-Vlad Porfireanu gave Romania a 5-4 lead but the Maltese levelled matters through a long-range striker from Jayden Cutajar.
But Farrugia’s youngsters were caught soon after with Burda netting the winner for Romania.
Malta will complete their group commitments on Tuesday, when they face Spain.
Romania: M. Paduret, R.A. Alistar, B. Bajusz 1, C.V. Porfireanu 1, R.S. Belu, M.L. Tokai, A.C. Mihai, A. Marinescu, R. Sandru, I.G. Soponar 2, M.N. Fitero, S.I. Burda 2, M.C. Szilagyi.
Malta: D. Galea Mule, L. Dimech, J. Pace Mizzi, G. Pace, J. Cassar 1, D. Bugeja, Z. Cutajar Licari 1, J. Cutajar 1, E. Schembri 1, C. Cutajar 1, L. Montebello Brownrigg, E. Mallia, M. Brimmer.
Referees: Lazar Andjelic (Serbia), Konstantine Nadiradze (Georgia).