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Watch: Sesko’s fine individual strike denies Malta of famous win over Slovenia

MALTA           2

Guillaumier 53

Pisani 58

SLOVENIA      2

Sporar 29; Sesko 81

MALTA

H. Bonello, S. Borg (46 E. Pepe), M. Guillaumier, J. Mbong, S. Pisani (75 N. Muscat), P. Mbong (81 N. Portelli), L. Montebello (66 K. Reid), J. Corbalan (81 C. Zammit Lonardelli), Y. Yankam, J. Borg, Z. Muscat.

SLOVENIA

J. Oblak (46 V. Belec), J.Balkovec, J. Bijol (46 M. Blazic), A. Sporar, B. Sesko, J. Kurtic (77 Stankovic), J. Mlakar (46 B. Verbic), T. Horvat, P. Stojanovic, V. Drkusic (81 D. Brekalo), A. Cerin (62 T. Elsnik).

Referee Sandi Putros (Denmark).

Yellow cards Pisani, Montebello, Pepe, Kurtic, P. Mbong, Z. Muscat.

A fine individual strike from young sensation Benjamin Sesko denied Malta a famous victory over Slovenia as the two nations had to settle for a 2-2 draw in a friendly at the National Stadium.

After a rather opaque first-half performance that saw the home side hand the Slovenians the opening goal on a plate after a defensive mix-up, the Maltese were transformed after the break.

The team started to press much higher than their opponents and their increased work ethic saw them turn the match on its head when scoring two brilliant goals in the space of two minutes through Matthew Guillaumier and Steve Pisani.

But Malta’s hopes of a remarkable win were thwarted by the attacking genius of Sesko who scored a fine equaliser.

Still, the Maltese players left the field with their heads held high and this performance was another proof of the growth of this team which has been witnessed in the past few months which augurs well for the future.

Malta coach Michele Marcolini brought in Santa Lucia’s Steve Pisani in the team’s engine room in the absence of Teddy Teuma as the Reims midfielder was forced to miss out due to a calf injury. Juan Corbalan filled the void left by his Ħamrun Spartans wing back Ryan Camenzuli who is nursing a hamstring injury.

Upfront, Luke Montebello, the Premier League top scorer, was partnered by Paul Mbong.

Malta had their first shot on target on eight minutes when Paul Mbong latched onto a cross but the ball went straight into the hands of Jan Oblak.

Slovenia’s star forward Benjamin Sesko was played through by Tomi Horvat but the Leipzig striker fluffed his effort and Henry Bonello easily blocked.

As the minutes passed, Slovenia were starting to turn on the screw, pinning the home side in their own half.

On 27 minutes, Malta handed the Slovenians the opening goal when goalkeeper Bonello’s miscued pass towards Steve Borg was intercepted by Sporar who easily deposited the ball into an empty net.

Malta looked stunned and they finally responded ten minutes later when Guillaumier picked Joseph Mbong but his shot hit the sidenetting. 

After the break, Marcolini replaced the limping Steve Borg with Enrico Pepe.

Mala had a great chance to equalise when Guillaumier won possession in the Slovenia midfield and he served Paul Mbong who exchanged the ball with Montebello but his shot was deflected to a corner.

From the resultant corner, the ball was played to Guillaumier and the Malta midfielder unleashed a powerful drive that gave no chance to Belec.

The Slovenians were rattled and Malta struck again a minute later.

Paul Mbong won a free-kick on the edge of the area and Pisani’s inswinger flew into the top corner to the delight of the Maltese fans.

The Slovenians soon pushed more men forward and Bonello was alert to deny Sesko.

The visitors were now stepping up their pressure and it was Sesko who levelled matters with a fine strike.

The Leipzig striker sped clear of Zach Muscat and hit a rasping drive that gave no chance to Bonello.

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