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Tesse urges team to step up for rush Nations League finale despite Andorra rout

Malta women's national team coach Manuela Tesse. Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Manuela Tesse has made it clear that her Malta women’s side needs to improve ahead of the remaining two games in this UEFA Women’s Nations League campaign.

The Italian coach was pleased that her players managed to clinch a fourth straight win but was far from happy with the display they put up at the grass-surfaced Estadi Nacional, in Andorra La Vella.

This victory, with Haley Bugeja scoring a hat-trick, has helped Malta cement its top position with 12 points and 11 goals scored in four outings.

Moreover, the Maltese side has now opened a five-point lead at the top after Latvia slipped to a surprising draw at Moldova, who are bottom of the group with just one point.

“We knew the result of Moldova vs Latvia before we started our game, but in a way, it did not really help us because our performance was not good,” Tesse told the Times of Malta.

“I think the players took this match a bit lightly and we played at our level for just seven minutes – when we scored all the goals, but at the end of the day it was important to claim the three points.”

Malta will travel to Chisinau where they will face hosts Moldova on December 1, a match that will offer the first match point to clinch League B promotion.

A win would see the Maltese side clinch top spot and climb into League B. Should Malta draw and Latvia fail to beat Andorra away, this would also guarantee promotion for Tesse’s team.

However, beating Moldova in their own territory will be far from easy as they proved to be a tough team to beat in their home against Latvia, who won the first-round encounter 5-0 last week.

“Our target is to go into League B while at the same time improving our gameplay,” Tesse explained.

“I would like my players to be more confident with their football to showcase their best possible levels on the pitch.

“We must stay focused because every game is different from each other and today we showed that we are still struggling when we play away games, especially on turf surfaces given that our players
are used to playing on the synthetic floor of the Centenary Stadium.”

Tesse’s message is loud and clear – Moldova is a must-win.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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