A win in Chisinau would guarantee an historic berth in League B
The word ‘Inspiration’ will be echoing inside the dressing room when Malta players step onto the field and try to achieve an historic promotion in the UEFA Women’s Nations League against Moldova, in Chisinau on Friday afternoon (kick-off: 3pm).
Coach Manuela Tesse is aware of what is at stake for the women’s game in Malta and is not afraid to put the responsibility on her players’ shoulders to forge a new chapter in the history of this movement.
A victory in Moldova’s capital city would guarantee Malta a spot in League B of the upcoming Nations League edition as they have a five-point lead over second-placed Latvia in their League C group.
Although the final game of the campaign is a home match against Latvia, Tesse and her players will be surely looking to secure promotion today before celebrating with the local crowd next Tuesday.
“I am sure my players know very well how important it is to win our group,” Tesse said.
“It is important both for them as players, as well as for the development of the women’s game in Malta.
“My players want to be an inspiration for all the young girls who want to play football on this island.”
Tesse added that this result proves that even when you are a small country, you can still achieve big results if you play with a strong sense of belonging.
“These games will be crucial for us as reaching our ultimate goal is important for everyone,” the former Pomigliano coach said.
“We need the support of our people as we feel stronger on the pitch when our crowd is backing us throughout the match.”
Asked about the team’s atmosphere, Tesse pointed out that everyone is excited to be on the cusp of history.
But that means they had to prepare harder than usual to arrive in the best possible condition for this double-header against Moldova and Latvia.
Malta start as heavy favourites against Moldova with the Maltese selection already recording a 2-0 win when the two teams met in September.
However, although Moldova sit bottom of the group, they are at the back of a hard-fought 3-3 draw against Latvia on home soil proving that they can be a hard team to beat when they are in their comfort zone.
“Moldova is a good team,” Tesse explained.
“After changing their coach prior to this competition, they took some time to understand his ideas, but it seems that they are finally starting to click together as they look more organised tactically while having players with a strong technical level.
“In their last game, they also made a change between the sticks and introduced a much more experienced goalkeeper.”
The Italian tactician also referred to the cold conditions that her team will meet in Moldova, with today’s match expected to be played between nine and 11 degrees Celsius.
In the recent international window, Malta scored two wins over Andorra with their second one in Andorra La Vella being their 40th victory in both competitive and friendly games.
Haley Bugeja currently tops the competition’s scoring list with eight goals while Malta boasts the fourth best offensive record with 11 goals.
Small details that have set up Malta with the chance to write a memorable page in the history of the local game.
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