The Malta U-21 conceded a late goal to suffer a 1-0 defeat to Kosovo in a friendly international in Antalya, Turkey, yesterday.
Malta coach Silvio Vella effected one change from the team that beat Turkmenistan 2-1 last week as Neil Frendo, who is currently on loan at OFK Belgrade, made his debut.
After a strong start by Kosovo, Malta started building confidence and on 32 minutes Aidan Friggieri won possession in midfield before finding Myles Beerman.
The Gżira winger sent a low cross towards Zachary Brincat who nodded the ball to Neil Frendo but the latter fired wide.
In the second half, Kosovo threatened through an Erolind Krasniqi free-kick but Andreas Vella did well to push the ball away.
Malta had the ball into the Kosovo net on 72 minutes when Brincat slid the ball home but the ‘goal’ was annulled as the Mosta forward was adjudged to be in an offside position.
Seven minutes from time, in a quick break, substitute Jan Busuttil moved past two defenders but his effort was pushed away by Florian Smakiqi.
Instead it was Kosovo who struck the winner on 87 minutes. Vella somehow kept out Dagert Hoxha’s headerand from the rebound Valmir Veliu slotted home.
The goal that decided the match in Kosovo’s favour came in the 87th minute, a harsh moment for the boys who deserved much better after this very positive performance.
Malta: Andreas Vella (90 Timmy Aquilina), Michele Sansone, Connor Zammit (88 Zack Cassar), Nicholas Pulis, Jean Borg, Kurt Shaw, Aidan Friggieri (88 Russell Fenech), Neil Frendo (56 Jan Busuttil), Marcus Grima (88 David Xuereb), Myles Beerman, Zachary Brincat (85 Paul Mbong).
Kosovo: Florian Smakiqi, Lirim Mema, Leard Sadriv, Besfort Kolgeci, Kreshnik Hadrizi, Aizan Geza, Ardit Gashi, Gezim Pepsi, Erelind Krasniqi, Edmond Ramadani, Zectrim Kryeziu.
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