H. Bonello, S. Borg (57 Z. Muscat), J. Borg, M. Guillaumier (71 S. Pisani), J. Mbong (71 S. Pisani), E. Pepe, A. Satariano (81 J. Grech), T. Teuma (82 B. Paiber), J. Degabriele (57 L. Montebello), A. Magri Overend, D. Vella.
A. Al Khaledi (67 H. Kankone), S. Al Sanea, A. Al Dhefeery, F. Al Hajeri F. Al Otaibi (46 T. Al Fadhel), F. Al Ebrahim (46 S. Al Enezi), K. Al Fadhli (46 A. Issa), F. Al Reshidi, R. Abujabarah (46 B. Al Mutawa), M. Al Faneeni (79 Y. Alsulaiman), E. Marzouq.
Referee Gary Thomas.
Yellow cards Al Otalbi.
Two quick-fire first-half goals propelled Malta to a comfortable victory over Kuwait in a friendly international at the National Stadium.
Goals from Alex Satariano and Teddy Teuma earned Malta their second successive in 2022 following another convincing showing from Devis Mangia’s boys.
The national team continued where they left off following last week’s 1-0 win over Azerbaijan as they produced another entertaining and attacking display.
In fact, the Maltese players caused all sorts of troubles to the Kuwaiti defence with their swift attacking play that was once more inspired by the excellent Teddy Teuma and Matthew Guillaumier while Joseph Mbong was a constant threat for the visitors with his surging runs on the right.
The only note of concern from Malta’s performance yesterday was the team’s casual passing when pushing the ball out of their defence that sometimes created anxious moments but luckily for the home side was not capitalised by the Kuwaiti players.
But all in all it was another fine display that surely should set the team well ahead of this summer’s Nations League which will see the side face San Marino and Estonia in their bid to win promotion to League C.
Devis Mangia made three changes from the team that beat Azerbaijan last week as Adam Magri Overend was preferred to his Floriana FC team-mate Ryan Camenzuli while Enrico Pepe filled the void left by Andrei Agius who retired from international football last week.
Dunstan Vella was preferred to Brandon Paiber and took a more defensive midfield role with Teddy Teuma taking a more advanced position.
Malta started brightly and inside the first minute, they came close to taking the lead. Dunstan Vella fed Jurgen Degabriele who turned past his marker but his shot was pushed away by Kuwait goalkeeper Ahmad Al Khaledi.
On nine minutes, it was Kuwait who almost stunned the hosts with the opener following a quick transition.
Ahmad Al Dhefeery released Fahad Al Reshidi who avoided Joseph Mbong’s challenge but fired over.
On 16 minutes, Degabriele missed another inviting opportunity. Joseph Mbong powered his way inside the area and laid the ball to the nippy forward who fired wide.
Nine minutes later, Henry Bonello came to Malta’s rescue when the Malta no. 1 effected a fine one-handed save to tip away Al Dhefeery’s curling drive after the hosts were guilty of some sloppy passing in their own half.
Malta finally found the breakthrough on 29 minutes. They were awarded a central free-kick, from which Teuma’s delivery was deflected into the path of Satariano who saw his shot deflected onto the bar and beyond the goal-line before the Kuwait defenders cleared.
The home side were now firmly on top and three minutes later they doubled their advantage.
Satariano turned into a provider when his defense-splitting pass put Teuma clear and the Belgian-based forward blasted the ball Al Khaledi for his first international goal for Malta.
Three minutes from the break, Guillaumier sped through and tried to find the unmarked Degabriele but the ball was deflected into the path of Mbong who saw his shot saved by Al Khaledi.
The Kuwait goalkeeper remained busy when in stoppage time he dived to his left to block Degabriele’s shot.
Eleven minutes into the second half, Mbong embarked on a surging run on the right before sending a dangerous low cross across the face of goal that was missed by both Degabriele and Satariano. Teuma picked up possession but his angled drive flashed wide.
Teuma had a golden opportunity to add a second goal to his name on 62 minutes when he latched onto Adam Magri Overend’s pass but was denied by the onrushing Al Khaledi.
Nineteen minutes from time, Mbong fed Luke Montebello, who had replaced Degabriele, but the Birkirkara striker fired wide.
At the other end Al Dhefeery hit a rasping drive that just missed the upright.
Nine minutes from time, Teuma found substitute Ryan Camenzuli in space but the wing back fired wide.