Khlusevich 6, 14; Agalarov 16, 74
Bozhenov 80; Kravtsov 86
M. Borisko; D. Khlusevich (65 N. Iosifov), D. Prokhin, K. Bozhenov, D. Stepanov, E. Sevikyan (56 V. Karapuzov), N. Umyarov, R. Litvinov, K. Maradishvili (75 M. Ignatov), D. Prutsev (56 K. Kravtsov), G. Agalarov.
C. Formosa; K. Mohnani, M. Ellul, C. Zammit Lonardelli, A. Magri Overend, A. Garzia (90 A. Vella), A. Attard (90 J. Attard), M. Grima, B. Sciberras (78 J. Micallef), J. Engerer, J. Carbone (65 J. Sixsmith).
Referee A. Kuchin (Kazakhstan FA).
Yellow cards Prutsev, Zammit Lonardelli.
It was a tough evening for the Malta U-21s who succumbed to a 6-0 defeat at the hands of Russia, in their second European qualifier.
Russia, tipped as Spain’s main challengers for the top spot in this group, were on the back of a 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Spanish side in their opening match of the campaign and were looking to get their qualification hopes back on track.
The Russians’ starting formation included players from their domestic top-flight including from Spartak Moscow and Lokomotiv Moscow, and also from Spanish side Levante.
Malta, on their part, started their campaign with a memorable victory over Northern Ireland but they could not match the Russians’ superiority in Khimki.
For this game, coach Gilbert Agius made a few changes to his starting players including forward Jamie Carbone who replaced Mattia Veselji, scorer of a brace against the Northern Irish.
As expected, Russia were looking to break the deadlock as early as possible and they made their pressure count after seven minutes when Ruslan Litvinov’s delightful throughball was controlled by Daniil Khlusevich who fired past Cain Formosa from inside the penalty area.
Edgar Sevikyan, Russia’s winger who is on the books of Levante, was proving to be the most dangerous man on the field with a couple of shots from the right-hand side that threatened Formosa’s goal.
The hosts managed to double their lead in the 14th minute when Gamid Agalarov’s low cross was converted into goal by Khlusevich, for his and Russia’s second goal of the evening.
A couple of minutes later, Agalarov became a goal scorer himself after receiving from Sevikyan, darting into the box and slotting past Formosa.
Moments later, Khlusevich attempted his luck for a hat-trick but his long-range effort was blocked by Formosa.
Danil Prutsev came close to score Russia’s fourth just to see his close-range effort struck the woodwork before Konstantin Maradisvhili sailed the rebound over the bar.
As the first half wore on, Russia remained in total control of the game with 84 per cent of the possession and 17 shots on goal.
At the change of ends, Russia captain Nail Umyarov forced Formosa into action with another effort from the edge of the area as the hosts kept on pushing for more goals.
On the 74th minute, Agalarov – who plays for FC Ufa in Russia’s top-flight – netted his second goal of the game as Russia made it 4-0 to seal the victory and the three points.
Ten minutes from time, Kiril Bozhenov struck a thumping volley that lobbed past Formosa to extend Russia’s lead to five goals.
Kirill Kravtsov scored Russia’s sixth when he darted into the box before striking the ball past the Malta custodian.
Malta will resume action in this group next month when they travel to Lithuania and Slovakia.