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Watch: Malta women eye second win as they host Moldova in UEFA Nations League

The Malta women’s national team will be looking to make it two wins out of two in the newly launched UEFA Women’s Nations League when they host Moldova at the Centenary Stadium, on Tuesday (kick-off: 8pm).

Under the guidance of coach Manuela Tesse, the Maltese selection enjoyed a winning start to this competition when a Haley Bugeja goal ten minutes from time earned them a hard-fought win over Latvia, in Riga.

Despite a lacklustre performance against the Baltic side, Tesse was pleased with the resilience her team showed throughout the match against a much-improved Latvia side.

“Football has improved in the smaller nations across Europe and the Latvia game is a reflection of that,” Tesse had told the Malta FA’s official channels after the game.

“I am proud of the team because they were resilient and never gave up, and the collective effort was even stronger when Haley Bugeja put us in the lead.”

As the best-ranked team in this League C group, Malta (ranked 86th) are favourites to fend off the challenge of the other teams – Moldova (114), Latvia (119) and Andorra (179) – and clinch a historic League B promotion.

“Winning the first game was very important for us, especially since we played on away soil,” Tesse explained.

For this Moldova game, coach Tesse made one change to its initial call-up squad with Birkirkara’s Alishia Sultana replacing her club team-mate Veronique Mifsud who sustained an injury during the Latvia expedition.

Moldova, on their part, endured a nightmare start to their campaign after losing 2-1 to Andorra on home territory.

After forging ahead through midfielder Irina Topal, Moldova saw their one-goal lead vanish with Andorra scoring a goal in each half to clinch three precious points.

Coached by Nicolae Bunea, Moldova’s squad includes Mġarr United defender Anastasia Sivolobova who scored her first Greens’ goal in their latest league victory over Mtarfa.

She was also in the starting formation in Moldova’s Nations League opener against Andorra.

Moldova’s squad is composed by a series of players who ply their trade outside their home nation including in Italy, Spain, Romania and Lithuania but are missing key players, namely Natalia Muntean, captain and goalkepeer, who plays at Dinamo-BGU of Belarus and midfieldr Carolina Tabur, who is on the books of Romania’s Olimpija Cluj.

Following their home defeat, Bunea pointed out that the final result does not do justice to their performance against Andorra.

“We will analyse the game to avoid the same mistakes against Malta,” he said.

Bunea also said that he is most likely to rotate his initial formation when he faces Malta at the Centenary Stadium.

Malta and Moldova last met in 2021 during the Visit Malta Women’s Trophy when a then Mark Gatt-led side claimed a 3-1 victory with goals from Charlene Zammit, Jade Flask and Haley Bugeja.

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