Ilicic 28, 60
Sporar 49; Sesko 67
H. Bonello, K. Shaw, J. Mbong (68 A. Magri Overend), L. Montebello (80 J. Degabriele), S. Pisani (68 T. Caruana), P. Mbong (56 A. Satariano), E. Pepe, T. Teuma, C. Attard, S. Dimech (56 L. Gambin), Z. Muscat.
J. Oblak, J. Balkovec, J. Ilicic (71 L. Zahovic), S. Lovric (70 J. Stankovic), A. Sporar (61 B. Sesko), J. Kurtic (82 T. Elsnik), M. Mevlja, Z. Karnicnik, B. Verbic (61 D. Crnigoj), A. Cerin.
Referee Anastasios Sidiropoulos (Greece).
Yellow cards J. Mbong, Satariano.
The Malta national team were handed a reality check by a superior Slovenia side after suffering a 4-0 defeat at the National Stadium last night.
For Devis Mangia’s team this was their heaviest defeat in the 2022 World Cup qualifiers and their capitulation last night was the result of a disjointed effort from the home side who were made to pay for a number of defensive mistakes by an efficient Slovenian side who kept alive their hopes of attaining a top-two finish in Group H.
The returning Josip Ilicic was the mastermind behind Slovenia’s dominant display yesterday as the Atalanta midfielder scored a well-taken brace that put his team on their way to a comfortable victory that lifted them to third place in the group on 10 points, to stay six points behind Russia ahead of their direct clash at home to Russia on Monday.
For the Maltese team, the defeat to Slovenia should serve as an eye-opener for the players ahead of their important clash against Cyprus next week which will see the team without two key players in Joseph Mbong and Alex Satariano who will be suspended after picking up a booking last night.
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