Wales beat Malta to avoid bottom place in group
Wales won the clash to avoid bottom place in Group 10 of the UEFA U-17 Championship following a 3-0 win over Malta at the Duarte Municipal Stadium, in Coimbra, Portugal, yesterday.
Both sides came to the match with no points to show from their opening two matches but Malta had leaked in more goals than the Welsh against holders Portugal and Scotland who both advanced to the next round of the European tournament.
Coach Silvio Vella effected very little changes to his starting formation with Duncan Formosa filling in for Rashed Al-Tumi who had guarded Malta’s goal in the previous two outings.
Wales opened the score early on when Elliot Thorpe hit home and they almost doubled their lead soon after but Formosa was alert to keep out Sion Spence’s shot.
Malta regrouped and tried hard to venture forward but had Formosa to thank for keeping them in the match with fine saves on Rabbi Matondo and Spence.
After the break Andrei Spiteri found space to test keeper George Radcliffe but his effort was neutralised.
Malta’s hopes were dashed when Brandon Oddy released Jake Vale who doubled his team’s lead and ten minutes from time Oddy was on the right spot to beat Formosa a third time.
In the match for first place, Scotland beat Portugal 1-0 thanks to a Kerr McInroy goal eight minutes from time.
The top two in each of the 13 four-team mini-tournaments go through to the next stage – the Elite Round – along with top seeds Germany and five third-placed teams with the best record against the leading pair in their section.
That means Wales have no chance to make progress in the championship.
The Elite Round is played next spring and the finals run from May 3 to 19. The four semi-finalists are guaranteed a slot in the 2017 Under-17 World Cup in India starting on August 19.
Malta: D. Formosa, Z. Grech, D. Debono, M. Grima (71 L. McKay), M. Desira, K.R. Mifsud (69 A. Satariano), A. Spiteri, A. Attard (60 C. Bouvet), R. Camilleri, N. Farrugia, S. Dimech.
Referee: N. Laforge (Belgium FA).