Local Football > National Teams > MALTA FALL TO STRONG BELGIANS

MALTA FALL TO STRONG BELGIANS

Malta U-17 team opened their 2018 UEFA Under-17 Championship qualifiers with a 3-1 defeat to group favourites Belgium at the Centenary Stadium on Thursday morning.

As expected, Belgium were the stronger side, racing into a three-goal lead but the Maltese youngsters raised their game in the second half.

Their improved performance enabled them to create some flowing moves with Alexander Satariano scoring a fine goal late on to pull one back for Silvio Vella’s team who meet Switzerland in their second outing on Sunday (2pm).

The Swiss made a terrific start as they beat Northern Ireland 5-0 in the second match on Thursday.

The Belgians went into their match against Malta with all guns blazing as they pressed for an early goal.

After squandering a couple of scoring opportunities, they forged ahead on 22 minutes with a glancing header from Yorbe Vertessen, of PSV Eindhoven, who connected with Sekou Sidibe’s cross.

Sidibe also played a key part in the second goal as he supplied a delightful through-ball to Club Brugge striker Gabriel Lemoine who slotted past Malta goalkeeper Amara Sylla to double Belgium’s lead.

After the change of ends, Belgium immediately sealed the points with a third goal, scored by Lemoine, his second of the game.

Despite being 3-0 down, the Maltese boys tried to stage a comeback.

They threatened through Satariano who headed wide from an ideal position.

The lanky striker made amends as he found the net on 68 minutes. Running on to Paul Mbong’s through-pass, Satariano flicked his shot past Belgium goalkeeper Maxime Delanghe to narrow the deficit for Malta.

Malta tried to up the pressure in the remaining minutes but Belgium held firm to preserve their two-goal lead.

In their second Group 1 game, Belgium meet Northern Ireland at the Centenary Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 11am).

BELGIUM
M. Delanghe, S. Vandermeulen (5 A. Zutterman) L. Dendoncker, M. Thiel, N. Raskin, Y. Vertessen (57 L. Ramazani) M. Suray, S. Sidibe, E. Sierra (68 Y. Verschaeren), K. Sardella, G. Lemoine.

MALTA
A. Sylla, L. McKay, A. Vella, M. Portelli, C. Gauci (59 J. Sixsmith), B. Sciberras, C. Bouvet (79 J. Ghio), S. Dimech, A. Satariano, C. Zammit Lonardelli, P. Mbong (79 R. Vella).

Referee: Michal Ocenas (Slovakia).
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