Veselji 22; Zammit 70
De la Heras Izquierdo 42
M. Debono, Z. Leonardi, O. Spiteri, J. Vella (64. K. Mohnani), M. Veselji (89 J. Carbone) A. Zammit (85 N. Cutajar), A. Garzia, N. Micallef (64 K. Briffa), D. Mifsud (64 G. Sciberras), K. Bondin, M. Debattista (64 N. Agius).
M. Rabelo (46 M. De Castro Prat), M. Robinat (46 G. Acosta), E. De La Heras Izquierdo (70 D. Cerqueira), B. Borra (64 J. Barbero), G. Sola (46 E. Balastegui), P. Babot, A. Ferreira, P. Torra (46 A. Rodrigo), I. Alvarez (64 M. Rodriguez), N. Linares, I. Oliveira (64 D. Bienert).
Referee Alex Johnson (Malta FA).
Yellow cards Torra, Cerqueira, Agius.
Malta Under-21 displayed a show of force as they secured a 2-1 victory in an international friendly against Andorra at the Centenary Stadium on Wednesday.
It was an impressive display for the Maltese youngsters who could have scored a more pronounced victory with the chances they created.
Malta coach Gilbert Agius, currently in charge of both the senior and Under-21 squads, fielded a selection mostly consisting of Premier League youngsters, seven of the starting 11 all playing at the highest level of the local game.
The Maltese went on the offensive right from the start, with Mattia Veselji going close in the second minute of the game with an acrobatic bicycle kick right inside the area which slammed the upright.
Confidence was with Malta’s players in the opening stages as the hosts held most of the ball for the first 15 minutes, looking the more likely to open the score from the two teams on the pitch.
At the other end, Andorra were restricted to long-range efforts, deflected away by the Malta defence.
In fact, the hosts made this dominance count on 22 minutes as Veselji made no mistake to hit low past Andorra goalkeeper Mauro Rabelo and put Malta ahead.
Close to the half-hour mark, Nikolai Micallef was close to making it two for Malta when Andrea Zammit laid the ball off a Veselji cross, and the Tarxien Rainbows player’s ensuing effort was pushed away by Rabelo.
Andorra replied right before the break with the first shot on target, and their equaliser, when pushing past defenders on the right, Eric De la Heras Izquierdo hit a thumping shot which slammed into the opposite top corner.
Malta went close to restoring their lead on the stroke of half time but Dale Mifsud’s header was deflected by the Andorran defence for a corner.
Andorra made wholesale changes at half-time, replacing four players including goalkeeper Rabelo.
But it was Malta’s unchanged side who fired first with Matthew Debattista skying his effort on 52 minutes.
Andorra’s Aaron Rodrigo replied with his first contribution of the afternoon seconds later but his shot went similarly wide.
With the game in the balance, both sides made changes just past the hour mark to change the tempo of the affair, coach Agius roping in four new players, while Andorra coach Eloy Casals brought on another three.
This paid dividends as Malta captain Andrea Zammit netted the winner on 70 minutes when he fired in amid a crowded Andorra penalty area with substitute goalkeeper Marc De Castro Prat left stunned.
Malta remained the dominant side with the ball mostly moved around inside Andorra’s half, holding on until the final whistle for a win.
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