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Defensive errors condemn Malta to defeat in Nations League opener

Faroe Islands draw first blood in UEFA's new competition

Michael Mifsud (right) has scored his 41st goal for Malta. Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA

Michael Mifsud (right) has scored his 41st goal for Malta. Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar/MFA

FAROE ISLANDS    3

Edmundsson 31

Joensen 38

Hannsson 51

MALTA                  1

Mifsud 41

Two goals late in the first half put the Faroes Island on their way to 3-1 victory over Malta in a UEFA Nations League qualifier at the Torsvollur Stadium in Torshavn.

It was a disappointing outcome to a match which saw the Maltese guilty of some glaring defensive errors that gifted the match to the fellow European minnows.

Malta had started brightly and after 15 minutes Rowen Muscat put Michael Mifsud clear but the veteran striker saw his shot blocked by the onrushing Gunnar Nielsen.

But it was the Faroes who drew first blood on 31 minutes when Joseph Zerafa’s miscued back-pass caught Steve Borg by surprise and in came Edmundsson who fired the ball past Hogg.

The goal hit the Maltese hard, and they conceded again on 38 minutes as Hendriksson’s throughball released Rene Joensen, who turned past Zach Muscat before rifling the ball into the roof of the net.

But the Maltese tried to hit back and they managed to pull a goal back four minutes from the interval.

Schembri found Mifsud with a fine pass and the Birkirkara striker blasted the ball past Nielsen.

However, the Faroe Islands took just six minutes into the second half to restore their two-goal defending as they again exposed Malta’s poor marking inside their own area.

Solvi Vanthamar burst into the area and fell under the challenge from Joseph Mbong, but the referee waved play on. Edmundsson seized possession and returned the ball to Vanthamar who quickly found the unmarked Hallur Hansson who blasted the ball past Hogg.

The visitors tried to create some sort of reaction with Andrei Agius seeing his firm drive from a free-kick blocked in two attempts by Nielsen.

Farrugia tried to bring in fresh legs when roping in Steve Pisani for Rowen Muscat but the red-shirted players were continuing to struggle to threaten the home side’s defence to slump a disappointing defeat.

Eighteen minutes from time, the Malta coach threw caution to the wind when he withdrew defender Zach Muscat and roped in Jean Paul Farrugia as they switched to an offensive 4-3-3 formation.

 

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