Trusa 23, 81; Kadak 36
Zammit Lonardelli 64 og.
I. Krajcirik, P. Kovacic, S. Kosa, T. Nemcik, I. Mesik, J. Kadak (61 Nebyla), P. Pokorny (79 Svidersky), J. Bernat (68 Lichy), A. Kapralik (68 Goljan), M. Trusa, R. Galcik (79 Kmet).
R. Al-Tumi, C. Zammit Lonardelli, C. Gauci (85Vella), M. Ellul, A. Vella, A. Attard (85 Bradshaw), M. Grima, K. Mohnani, A Satariano, B. Sciberras (72 Sixsmith), J. Engerer (57 M. Veselji).
Referee Eldorjan Hamiti (Albania).
Yellow cards Vella, Goljan.
Slovakia proved too strong for Malta as they won 4-0 in Nitra yesterday. Matej Trusa did the damage with two goals and a header which was deflected for an own goal, as Jakub Kadak added another.
As expected, Gilbert Agius, the Malta U-21 coach, handed a start to forward Alex Satariano who joined the team after he was ruled out of the senior’s team trip to Cyprus due to suspension.
The Frosinone forward was preferred to Mattia Veselji. Rashid Al Tumi started in goal while Karl Mohnani replaced the not yet fully fit Aleandro Garzia.
It was Slovakia who started on the front-foot with Adrian Karpalik and Jan Bernat coming close for the home side but saw their efforts blocked by the Maltese defence.
On 23 minutes, it was Trusa who threatened but he missed the target from a good position.
However, the Slovakian forward made amends two minutes later when he was at the end of an excellent pass from Sebastian Kosa and he unleashed a powerful angled drive that gave no chance to goalkeeper Al-Tumi.
Malta tried to fight back and Satariano came close, but he saw his shot well saved by Slovakian goalkeeper Ivan Krajcirik.
The home side doubled their lead on 35 minutes and they again did the damage with a fast move from the flanks when Kapralik broke free on the right and sent a fine cross into the path of Kadak who headed the ball firmly past Al Tumi.
Four minutes from the break, Ivan Mesik had a good chance to make it 3-0 when he headed wide after a Kovacik cross.
The second half proved dominant for the Slovakians who again held most of the possession inside the Malta half. Al Tumi was forced into action after four minutes, diving to stop a Kadak shot from right inside the area.
The Slovakian scorer kept probing with a header on 53 minutes blocked by Carlo Zammit Lonardelli in front of goal.
Veselji was brought on for Jake Engerer just before the hour, with hopes of a fresh approach as the side struggled to go on the offensive.
Slovakia’s Roland Galcik nearly made it three for his side with a swift solo play on the left flank on 62 minutes, but his shot went well over. But initial scorer Trusa got it done straight after, heading a Galcik cross into Zammit Lonardelli whose deflection finished into his own net.
Jamie Sixsmith was roped in for Bradley Sciberras with 18 minutes to go as Malta looked for at least a consolation goal. However, they failed to trouble Slovakia goalkeeper Ivan Krajcirik throughout the half.
Al Tumi, on the contrary, was handed an even tougher task when the ball was pointed to the spot for a penalty on 80 minutes. Despite the Malta goalkeeper’s efforts, Trusa got his brace as Slovakia replicated their senior side’s score against Malta.
Coach Agius made his final set of changes with five minutes to go, bringing on Adam Bradshaw instead of Ayrton Attard and Larens Vella on for Christian Gauci, as Slovakia’s onslaught continued until the final whistle.