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Mssoudy’s first half goal condemns Malta women to defeat

MALTA             0

MOROCCO     1

Mssoudy 28

MALTA

P. Ebejer; A. Said (46 M. Farrugia), E. Lipman, S. Farrugia, D. Theuma (79 F. Chircop), R. Cuschieri, A. Sultana (46 E. Xuereb), C. Zammit, B. Borg (46 S. Zammti), N. Sciberras, H. Bugeja. 

MOROCCO

K. Errmichi; Z. Redouani, S. Boukhami, G. Chhiri (35 S. Fikri), H. Elhaj, G. Chebbak, S. Amani, N. Badri (82 E. Nakkach), I. Saoud (67 S. Hassani), S. Mssoudy, R. Ayane. 

Referee: Maria Ennsgraber (Austria FA).

A spirited performance by the Malta women’s national team was not enough as Mark Gatt’s side were narrowly beaten by Morocco, in the second game of the VisitMalta Women’s Tournament. 

Malta were on the back of a 3-1 win over Moldova and were looking for a positive result against their Moroccan opponents.

The North African side, who are hopeful of qualifying to next year’s Women’s World Cup for the first time, were the better team in the first half and made their pressure count through a Sanaa Mssoudy goal on 28 minutes.

After the break, Malta staged a reaction in an attempt to salvage the result but their efforts were in vain as they could not find the net. 

For the Malta coach, this was his 60th game in charge – an all-time record for the women’s team. Gatt made a few changes from the Moldova game, including Dorianne Theuma who was in the starting formation, collecting her 110th cap. Emma Lipman was also drafted in after being unavailable for selection in the tournament opener. 

In the opening stages, both Malta and Morocco exchanged proceedings but neither side could find a breakthrough. 

As the half wore on, Morocco started to pile up the pressure on the hosts but could not find a way to test goalkeeper Patricia Ebejer, until the 27th minute when the North African side opened the score.

Morocco’s left winger Sanaa Mssoudy pounced on a loose ball inside the area before firing past Ebejer. 

Malta’s reply came swiftly through Theuma who let fly a strike from the edge of the area who flashed wide.

 On the other hand, Morocco tried to double their lead through Imane Saoud whose thumping volley glanced past Ebejer’s goal.  

At the restart, the Malta coach inserted three new faces in Emma Xuereb, Shona Zammit and Maria Farrugia as the hosts were looking for a leveller.

In the 64th minute, Rachel Cuschieri tried her luck from a long-range free-kick that sailed over the bar. 

Malta continued to inch their way up the field, growing in confidence minute by minute but they still could not make their pressure count.

On the other hand, Morocco were now banking on their defensive phase as they were looking to catch the Maltese on the break and possibly wrap up the victory. 

Substitute Samya Hassani almost sealed the win for Morocco when she caught the backline on the break, made her way into the box but fired her shot wide from goal.

Ten minutes from time, coach Gatt deployed forward Francesca Chircop to bolster the attacking department as Malta were still hopeful of a late draw.

Three minutes from time, Lazio midfielder Cuschieri let fly a strike from the edge of the area but once again could not find the target. 

At the end, Morocco managed to keep Malta at bay to clinch the victory.

Morocco will now be involved in the third and final game of the tournament when they cross swords with Moldova on Tuesday. 

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