MALTA            3

Attard 43, 54

J. Mbong 46

CYPRUS          0


H. Bonello, K. Shaw (60 Z. Muscat), R. Camenzuli, S. Borg, J. Mbong (60 S. Dimech), L. Montebello (69 A. Satariano), S. Pisani, P. Mbong (69 J. Grech), E. Pepe, T. Teuma (85 T. Caruana), C. Attard.


N. Michael, A. Karo, M. Antoniades (63 F. Katelaris), N. Ioannou, C. Soteriou, D. Christofi (60 I. Marios), C. Kyriakou (70 L. Loizou), F. Papoulis (60 N. Panayiotou), P. Psaltis, K. Artymatas, I. Pittas (60 G. Kastanos).

Referee: Fabio Maresca.

Yellow cards: Soteriou, Mbong, Papoulis, Shaw.

Red card: Soteriou (C) 41.

Malta's national football team put on a dazzling attacking display to brush Cyprus aside 3-0 and pick up their first-ever win in a World Cup qualifier at the National Stadium on Wednesday. 

It was the first international match open to fans after an 18-month absence due to COVID-19 restrictions and a day made even more memorable by the presence of UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin, who was in Malta to unveil new training grounds at Ta’ Qali.

And the Maltese players made sure the day will remain in the minds of the hundreds of spectators present at the National Stadium, with a slick attacking display that saw them tear apart the favoured Cypriots, to claim three points in the qualifiers for World Cup 2022. 

Malta had only ever won two other World Cup qualifiers previously, with both those victories coming while away from home: both 1-0 wins, against Estonia  in 1993 and Armenia in 2013.

Devis Mangia’s men seized the initiative right from the outset and were the better team for much of the opening 45 minutes but were let down by their poor finishing in front of goal.

However, the game turned in Malta's favour on the stroke of half-time, when Cyprus defender Konstantinos Sotiriou picked up a second yellow card for simulation and was sent off.

The Maltese quickly seized the initiative and stormed ahead with a well-worked goal scored by Cain Attard.

Continue reading this article on SportsDesk, the sports website of the Times of Malta

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