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Malta look to improve on positive start against Andorra in women’s Nations League

Malta women’s NT coach Manuela Tesse watches over a training session. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

After launching their UEFA Women’s Nations League in style with two victories, the Maltese selection is ready to improve on what they have built in this competition so far.

Led by Italian tactician Manuela Tesse, Malta will host Andorra on Friday at the Centenary Stadium (kick-off: 8pm) before meeting the same selection next Tuesday in a double-header that can play a significant role in the Maltese journey in the Nations League.

Buoyed by their opening couple of wins, Malta coach Tesse hopes that her players can emulate their recent performances including the one that earned them a well-deserved 2-0 victory over Moldova last month.

The former Italy international has described this match as a tough one, considering also that Andorra, despite sitting 179th in the FIFA rankings, has improved and their Moldova (ranked 114th) victory in their tournament opener reflects that.

For the Andorra game, Tesse will hope that clinical forward Haley Bugeja can continue her positive run in this competition.

The Maltese forward, who joined Inter during the summer transfer window, has scored all three Malta goals against Latvia and Moldova while still looking for her first joy as a Nerazzurra.

Re-joining the Maltese camp is evergreen Dorianne Theuma who was sidelined with an injury for the September international window.

Theuma made her season debut with Swieqi United during last weekend’s goalless stalemate against league leaders Mġarr United.

Moreover, Tesse has also recalled young forward Kailey Willis who is at the back of a Serie C goal with Meran Women against Sudtirol, last Sunday.

Asked about her team’s selection, Tesse underlined that it is important to give opportunities to players who are performing well at club level.

However, with the team heading to Andorra on Saturday, Tesse does not exclude any necessary changes prior to next Tuesday’s encounter.

At the same time, the Italian coach is looking forward to playing in front of a generous crowd whom she heaped praise on during the Moldova victory, describing them as a key factor that contributed to Malta’s win.

“Playing on home soil in front of the local spectators will help boost and motivate the players.”

Meanwhile, Andorra have scored one win from two games in this competition.

They commenced their appointments with a Moldova win, 2-1, before losing 4-0 to Latvia on home soil.

Malta and Andorra last met in 2016 when under the then guidance of Mark Gatt, the Maltese side had won two international friendlies 3-0 and 4-0.

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