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Watch: Farrugia still confident in his team's ability

Corbalan overwhelmed by international debut

Video: Gianluca Lia

A sense of disappointment was inevitable among the Maltese coaches and players following Thursday's 3-1 defeat to Kosovo in the UEFA Nations League that left the team bottom of Group D3 and still in search of their first win.

Still national coach Ray Farrugia tried to take out some positives from Thursday's match and said that this will be a good learning curve for his players.

“Kosovo deserved the win because they have a very good team and were dominant, in particular in the first 45 minutes,” Farrugia said during the press conference after the game.

“However, I believe that we sent Kosovo in panic mode after we equalised and we could have even scored again, even when we were a goal down.

"Yet, when Michael Mifsud was sent off, things went uphill for us and it became difficult to get back into the game.”

The coach added that he was happy with his team’s display, because tactically they executed his plan and lauded goalkeeper Andrew Hogg whose excellent saves, in particular in the first 45 minutes, kept Malta in the game. 

“Tactically, we have to give credit to the players, including (Andrew) Hogg who was excellent between goal,” he said.

“Even when we were trailing by a goal, we still continued to play well and that makes me believe that we can face any opponent because we could give them a good challenge, for sure.”


Kosovo's high-intensity game 

Both goalkeeper Andrew Hogg and Paul Fenech, who featured in the midfield described Kosovo as a very strong and fast side, who played a high rhythm of football throughout the whole 90 minutes.

"There was a period in which Kosovo may have dropped to second gear and we could threaten, but all in all they were continously dangerous," Hogg said after the game. 

Fenech was impressed by Kosovo's wingers as they were the biggest threat for them during the game, in particular in the first half.

"Their flank players were incredibly good and they were posing a lot of threats to us," the Birkirkara player said.


First cap 

The bright side of this game was Juan Corbalan's debut, who played 90 minutes against Kosovo.

The Gżira United player took some time to settle down, but as soon as he found his tempo in the game, especially at the start of the second half, he was one of the most effective Malta players on the field. 

A visibly emotional Corbalan said: "I was very nervous at first, playing in front of a loud crowd and it took me some time to settle down.

"However, as a team we improved in the second half and I started to be more effective. Surely, this has been a great experience for me and hopefully there will be plenty more, starting from the game in Azerbaijan." 

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