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Watch: Agius hails defensive performance

Schembri sees room for improvement in the Malta side

Andrei Agius, Andre Schembri's reactions in Baku. Video: Gianluca Lia

Malta chalked up its second point in the UEFA Nations League after holding Azerbaijan to a 1-1 draw at the Baku Olympic Stadium, on Sunday.

Azerbaijan, who are challenging Kosovo for Group D3's top position, had numerous opportunities to claim the spoils but Malta's resilience at the back made it difficult for them to beat goalkeeper Andrew Hogg.

One of the best performers for Ray Farrugia's team was Andrei Agius, a veteran in this squad with his 78 caps and author of two goals in this Nations League already.

Agius' sense of positioning, communication and leadership are traits from which the rest of his defensive counterparts can benefit and Sunday's display reflected such situation.

"In my opinion, we deserved this point because unlike in Kosovo, this time we were able to remain tactically organised and focused at the back," Agius said after the game.

"I don't think we are finished article in that area, but it gives credibility to the work that we have been doing under a new coach and a new technical staff."

Malta's final two appointments are at home against Kosovo and the Faroe Islands.

Agius and Steve Borg will be absent for the game against the former Yugoslavia side but they will be back against the Nordic side, a game which could see Malta avoid bottom spot.

"The upcoming games are very important for us and we hope that against the Faroe Islands we will have the chance to at least place third in this group," the Hibernians said. 


Andre Schembri, who captained Malta in Baku in the absence of Michael Mifsud, explained that the team worked hard to achieve such a result even though there is still a room for improvement.

"It was a solid display because everyone gave his 100 per cent," Schembri said.

"We played against a team whose squad is formed by players who play in UEFA club competitions but I think the Maltese public could see a different Malta side today, as we started to defend with our forwards and midfielders.

"Of course, there is still margin for improvement but I think we can take positives from this game in order to continue improve."

The Apollon Limassol player also heaped praise on the youth players who played in Baku - Joseph Mbong, Juan Corbalan and Jake Grech.

"I am really happy with our youngsters who were involved in this game and I think they have a bright future ahead of them - it is important that we give them more playing time," the former Boavista player explained. 

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