The Malta U-16’s girls produced a solid display against a strong Turkey side in their second UEFA Development Tournament game.
Turkey scored two goals in the last 20 minutes to secure a narrow victory over Kathleen Saliba’s side.
It was a much improved performance from the Maltese girls after opening their tournament with a defeat to Lebanon.
Coach Saliba made a few changes from their opener including goalkeeper Maya Muscat while captaining the squad was midfielder Kaysia Micallef.
Turkey’s Miray Yuksek let fly a shot after one minute of play but failed to hit the target before Malta’s goalkeeper Maya Muscat denied Tuana Turcin’s close-range volley.
Malta replied through defender Fatma Al Girbi whose freekick tested Turkey’s goalkeeper Defne Sarioglu.
Maltese goalkeeper Muscat came to the rescue for Malta when she blocked another Turcin effort from inside the penalty area.
Turkey’s captain Aleyna Topcu saw a header cleared on the goal line as the away side were looking to break the deadlock.
After the interval, Turkey’s Sevda Ongan tried her luck from the edge of the area but goalkeeper Muscat was alert to avert the danger.
Turkey forged ahead in the 72nd minute when Tuana Demirbas latched onto a through ball before slotting past Muscat.
The Turkish side wrapped up the win with a late goal through substitute Zeynep Bilir who headed home from close-range.
Malta’s final game in this tournament will be against Republic of Ireland next Tuesday, at the Centenary Stadium (kick-off: 2pm).
S. Sarioglu; B. Beceren, M. Yuksek (46 G. Guvendi), N. Sakallioglu, T. Demirbas, C. Yigit, D. Aldemir, E. Ozturk (46 A. Tural), M. Kurt (60 S. Ongan) (82 Z. Bilir), A. Topcu (82 A. Polat), T. Turcin (71 Z. Eker).
Coach: Nazli Ceylan Demirbag.
M. Muscat; F. Al Girbi, A. Micallef, M. Spiteri (56 M. La Rosa), K. Micallef, E. Micallef (46 Y. Azzopardi), F. Bartolo, L. Calleja (87 L. Azzopardi), L. Frendo (68 A. Vassallo), T. Scicluna, S. Francalanza (46 T. Kimamo).
Coach: Kathleen Saliba.
Referee: Gerard Zammit Young.
Scorers: Demirbas 72, Bilir 84.
Photo c/o Stephen Gatt/Malta FA.