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Watch: Haley Bugeja stars with a brace as Malta women down Moldova in Nations League

MALTA      2

Bugeja 47, 58

MOLDOVA  0          


J. Xuereb; A. Said, E. Lipman, S. Farrugia, Y. Carabott (76 L. Ayres), R. Cuschieri, R. Cuschieri, A. Sultana (59 M. Lucia), B. Borg, E. Xuereb, N. Sciberras (79 S. Zammit), H. Bugeja.


D. Bojenco; C. Cerescu, V. Virian (62 D. Mardari), C. Tabur, C. Chiper (63 I. Colnic), F. Gutu, M. Badiceanu, N. Colesnicenco (84 E. Railen), A. Cernitu, A. Sivolobova, I. Topal.

Referee Michaela Pachtova (Czechia FA).

Yellow cards Sivolobova, Badiceanu, Cernitu.

Malta managed to secure its second straight win in the newly-launched UEFA Women’s Nations League after dispatching Moldova in front of the home crowd at the Centenary Stadium.

Haley Bugeja grabbed both goals as Malta now lead its League C group with maximum points after two outings.

The clinical forward has now scored 13 goals in 21 appearances for the national team – becoming the third all-time scorer together with Rachel Cuschieri of the women’s national team.

Coach Manuela Tesse made a few changes to the starting formation with winger Alishia Sultana, midfielder Brenda Borg and experienced forward Ylenia Carabott, on her 90th cap, all given the nod.

Midfielder Shona Zammit and Raina Giusti, who played as a winger against Latvia, were dropped to the bench while Maria Farrugia – who started in Friday’s tournament opener – was not available for selection after picking up an injury.

Moldova, on their part, deployed Mġarr United defender Anastasia Sivolobova among the starters who had also played in Friday’s defeat to Andorra on home soil.

Under a torrential rain that started precisely with the starting whistle, Malta made their intentions clear from the early stages with Carabott sending a header over the bar.

Malta’s next chance came through Brenda Borg who connected to an Ann-Marie Said’s cross but failed to threaten goalkeeper Denisa Bojenco.

Moldova were forced to make an early change when midfielder Irina Topal, scorer of their only goal against Andorra on Friday, was replaced by Carina Doiban.

As the half wore on, chances became scarce with Malta lacking inspiration in the final third to produce anything concrete.

Failing to breach Moldova’s defensive area, Malta turned to their shooting abilities with Mġarr’s Borg firing just over the bar from the edge of the area.

A Bugeja shot from a tight angle was diverted into corner by the Moldova goalkeeper as the hosts started to pile more pressure in the closing stages of the first half.

Moldova almost forged ahead against the run of play when Carolina Tabur pounced on a Janice Xuereb’s mistake but the Birkirkara goalkeeper redeemed herself to send her effort to a corner.

From the following set-piece, Nadejda Colesninenco headed towards Xuereb but failed to beat the Maltese goalkeeper.

Just before half-time, Bugeja hit a low drive which Bojenco picked up as the first half ended in a goalless draw.

Bugeja, now on the books of Inter, was not to be denied at the restart when after receiving a well-weighted through ball by Borg, slotted past Bojenco.

The former Sassuolo and Orlando Pride doubled Malta’s lead when she profited from a Bojenco mistake and sent the ball into an empty net.

Shona Zammit, who came on for Nicole Sciberras after suffering an injury, saw her header blocked by Bojenco as the Maltese girls strolled to victory.

Next matches: October 27 – Malta vs Andorra, Latvia vs Moldova.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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