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Mifsud double as Malta beats Liechtenstein

Michael Mifsud celebrates after his second goal at Ta' Qali - Picture: Jason Borg.

Michael Mifsud celebrates after his second goal at Ta' Qali - Picture: Jason Borg.

Michael Mifsud scored a second-half brace as Malta came from behind to beat Liechtenstein in a friendly match at the National Stadium.

After a goalless first half, Liechtenstein jolted Malta with a goal after just two minutes but the home side rallied to overturn the deficit with Mifsud, the country's all-time leading scorer, inspiring the comeback to ensure that caretaker coach Robert Gatt marked his brief tenure with a deserved win.

Uncapped duo Henry Bonello, the Sliema Wanderers goalkeeper, and Hibs midfielder Bjorn Kristensen were handed their Malta debut by caretaker coach Robert Gatt.

Andrei Agius, a fixture in the Maltese defence for much of the past of three years, was deplpyed in central midfield as Gatt handed the two centre-half roles to Valletta defenders Jonathan Caruana and Steve Borg.

Malta were the better team in the opening exchanges. They threatened after 11 minutes when Kristensen cut out a Liechtenstein pass in midfield and released Michael Mifsud who rounded Michael Stocklasa as he ran into the box but the Malta captain's final effort was repelled by Peter Jehle.

Moments later, from a corner action, Daniel Bogdanovic laid the ball for Andrew Cohen whose rising drive sailed over.

Liechtenstein failed to register a shot at goal in the opening 20 minutes but they almost took the lead midway into the first half when a cross from the right was deflected into the path of Nicolas Hasler who sent his shot wide from an inviting position.

A Malta counter-attack ended with Cohen hitting over a cross from the right but André Schembri's was easily saved by Jehle.Malta may have seen more of the ball in the first half but it was Liechtenstein who took the lead two minutes into the second half. Franz Burgmeier made a good run on the left before pulling the ball back for Martin Buchel who fired a low shot past Justin Haber who had just replaced Bonello.

Edmond Agius, another debutant, and the returning Luke Dimech came on for Kristensen and Borg respectively.

It was a kick in the teeth for Malta but they quickly gained a tonic thanks to Mifsud who brought the teams level on 55 minutes. The Malta captain grabbed the limelight as his thumping drive from the distance had the better of Jehle.Boosted by Mifsud's gem, Malta took command.

Clayton Failla's well-hit free-kick came off the foot of the far post but, on 64 minutes, the home team went ahead. Schembri burst clear on the right before hitting a low cross that looked to have been blocked by the Liechtenstein defenders but they dithered to clear and Mifsud stole in to fire past Jehle.

Mifsud should have grabbed a third when Yves Dehri's erratic pass left the way clear for the Malta captain to advance into the box but he shot wide with only Jehle to beat.

Malta stayed in control for most of the second half but there was some late drama. Liechtenstein won a corner in the dying stages and goalkeeper Jehle ran up into the Malta box. The home team cleared the corner with Shaun Bajada pumping the ball upfield where Mifsud evaded his marker and ran towards Liechtenstein's empty goal but his shot ended just wide.

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