Malta earned its first point in the 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign in a 2 – 2 draw with Slovavia in Trnava last night.
Slovakia came from two goals down to snatch a 2-2 draw with a battling Malta side. The visitors, who hadn’t scored in 13 straight qualifiers, were on the verge of a famous win after scoring twice inside four first-half minutes – first through a terrific Luke Gambin shot, then a powerful Alexander Satariano header. But the hosts avoided an embarrassing defeat with two quickfire goals of their own.
The comeback started with David Strelec’s glancing header three minutes after the restart, and a point was secured when Milan Skriniar dived in to power another header home four minutes later.
Coach David Mangia congratulated the team for the spirit and determination shown during the ninety minutes. He added that these games are matches where details can make the difference and the strength of the opponent’s in terms of headers’ potential earned the hosts the draw, while the planning prior to the match to counter Slovakia’s possession game was crucial for the Maltese squad. The coach also hailed the combative spirit of his team, expressed by the disappointment of some of the Maltese players at the end of the match, indicating an important and significant change in mentality by Malta.
Dušan Kuciak, Slovak goalkeeper was reported by UEFA.com saying :”The first goal surprised us, the second killed us. We were able to level the score shortly after the break, we fought, but definitely something was missing in our performance. Malta played very well in the first half, but I am angry too. We want more.” Milan Škriniar, Slovakia centre back said “It is tough to speak now. It’s sad to earn just one point from an opponent like Malta. We absolutely spoiled the first half and it was not easy to come back after that. We have no other choice than to fight in other games, but I am very angry in this moment.”
UEFA.com/ FIFA.com / SportDesk / TVM
Photo Mark Zammit Cordina via MFA