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Malta U21 fall to heavy defeat against Montenegro

Malta suffered a tough loss to Montenegro in an international friendly. Photo: Joe Borg



Janjic 15; Vukovic 20; Radulovic 31, 51; Garzia 49og; Jovicevic 74

MALTA M. Debono (46 M. Spiteri), Z. Leonardi (70 G. Mifsud), M.  Debattista (70 N. Agius), K. Briffa (46 J, Engerer), M. Veselji (70 J. Carbone), A. Zammit (70 S. Cassar Torregiani), A. Garzia (70 S. Mackay), N. Micallef (75 I. Ebejer), K. Mohnani  (59 S. Mizzi), D. Mifsud (46 I Cutajar), K. Bondin (59 G. Sciberras).

MONTENEGRO N. Ivezic (46 S. Joksimovic), L. Boricic (46 I. Bajovic), D. Saletic (67 O. Gasevic), N. Perovic (57 N. Bozovic), N. Vukotic (73 B. Toskovic), D. Vukovic (67 D. Mugosa), O. Bakic (67 A. Kujovic), A. Radulovic (57 N. Jovicevic), N. Janjic (46 M. Vukotic), J. Dasic (57 A. Bajovic), D. Perovic (73 A. Muratovic).

Referee Ishmael Barbara

Malta’s friendly against Montenegro friendly proved to be an acid test for Gilbert Agius’s new kids on the block as the Malta U-21 suffered a big blow Monday evening after going down 6-0 at the Centenary stadium.

Stopping the Montenegro side was always going to be an arduous task for the Maltese boys, but the team never got going as Montenegro dominated from start to finish with striker Andrija Radulovic netting a brace.

Three goals in the opening half an hour shattered Malta’s hopes of gaining a respectable result as the superior Montenegrins proved too strong on the day.

Montenegro dictated matters from the outset.

On 15 minutes, Montenegro took the lead when captain Nikola Janjic was in the right place at the right time to put the Montenegrins in the driving seat.

Five minutes later, the visitors scored again when Dusan Vukovic’s grounder from the edge of the box had the better of goalkeeper Matthias Debono.

Malta failed to raise their game as the first half moved on. Past the half-hour mark, Radulovic made a powerful run down the right, and despite being in a tight angle, he slotted the ball home past the onrushing Debono.

A brilliant run by Alejandro Garzia created a chance for Malta as the Floriana right-back sped past his marker Dorde Saletic. Garzia duly whipped in a teasing cross for Andrea Zammit only foiled by the Montenegro goalkeeper Nikola Ivezic who turned away his shot.

Four minutes into the second half things got worse when, in a bid to anticipate substitute Milan Vukotic, Garzia diverted a cross from Igor Pajovic into his own net.

Moments later, Jake Engerer had Malta’s best chance from Zammit’s square ball but his close-range drive was blocked by the Montenegro goalkeeper.

Not before long, Montenegro made it 5-0. Dejan Perovic set up Radulovic with an excellent lofted pass and the striker hit a rising shot past substitute goalkeeper Miguel Spiteri.

Despite being five goals ahead, Miodrag Vukotic’s men kept going. They were on a mission to score as many goals as possible and on 74 minutes, Nikola Jovicevic increased their lead yet again, heading the ball home from Pajovic’s excellent cross from a corner. Only a raft of late changes halted Montenegro’s momentum as they held on for the win.

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