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Watch: Scotland edge past Malta in Under-21 Euro qualifying clash

Malta's Mattia Veselji holds off Scotland's Leon King. Photo: MFA

SCOTLAND 2

Lowry 32 pen.

Bowie 82

MALTA 1

Zammit 52 pen.

SCOTLAND

C. Slicker, B. McPherson 60 R. Wilson), J. Mullen, L. Morrison, L. Neilson (60 M. Mellon), C. Barron, L. King, M. Anderson, J. Mulligan, A. Lowry (85 I. Bowat), K. Bowie.

MALTA

H. Sacco, M. Ellul, J. Vassallo, O. Spiteri, A. Garzia, G. Sciberras (90 J. Engerer), K. Bondin, K. Mohnani (46 N. Micallef), A. Zammit, M. Veseji, A. Borg.

Referee: Marcel Birsan (Romania).

Yellow cards: Ellul, Garzia, Morrison.

Malta fell to a heartbreaking defeat against Scotland away from home on Tuesday.

It was a match characterised by two penalties as both sides scored their openers from the spot. However, it had to be a late goal to send Malta home without a point after a brave performance.

The Malta youngsters had started the match brightly, creating two scoring chances early on through Andrea Zammit, who saw his shot just missing the target, and then Mattia Veselji saw his shot pushed away by Cieran Slicker.

But as the minutes passed, the home side started to grow in stature, and on nine minutes Malta goalkeeper Hugo Sacco did well to push away Josh Mulligan’s shot.

On 21 minutes, Kieron Bowie connected to Connor Barron’s cross from a corner kick but his effort finished just wide, at the other Veselji tried his luck but failed to hit the target.

Scotland broke the stalemate on 31 minutes when Matthew Ellul upended Anderson inside the area and from the spot Alex Lowry sent Sacco the wrong way to put his team ahead.

The pressure from the home side started to grow and on 41 minutes Sacco had to be alert to push away  Liam Morrison’s shot.

The Malta no.1 was at it again when this time he denied Ben McPherson.

After the break, Sacco was alert to block away a close-range effort from 22 after a swift counterattack from Scotland, with the ball being cleared away from Kurt Bondin.

At the other end, Veselji pushed forward and after combining with Zammit inside the area, the Malta winger was dropped and referee Marcel Birsan gave Malta a penalty of their own on 52 minutes. Zammit took charge and made no mistake in sending Slicker the wrong way and equalising for Malta.

Malta went close three minutes later as the youngsters began to gain confidence and once again, Zammit was the protagonist, playing the ball to Nikolai Micallef whose effort slammed the upright this time.

Scotland threatened again on 58 minutes when a sliding tackle in defence acted as a clearance in itself, leading the ball to a rushing Bowie who sped along the left but his effort went way over.

Bowie was back in action on 73 minutes when he met a cross from Michael Mellon but his effort was once again inaccurate while under pressure from the Malta defenders.

The Scots got their second goal on 82 minutes after a number of tries when Mulligan sped into the Malta half on the right but with his initial effort deviated from goal, Bowie fired low from the rebound.

Four minutes later, malta could have gotten level again when from a Gianluca Sciberras freekick, Veselji was kept unmarked but his header went just over the bar.

Bowie kept causing trouble inside the Malta half but that was it as Scotland took the win at the end of the 90 minutes.

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