The Malta fiutsal team kicked off their preparations for next year’s FIFA Futsal World Cup qualifiers by playing a friendly match against the Netherlands on Monday in Vic Hermans’s first game of his second spell as national coach.
As was to be expected, the more-quoted Dutch proved too strong for the Maltese at the National Sports School but our team showed great enthusiasm and commitment, upping their performance after half-time following a difficult start.
The Dutch started the game at a very fast pace, giving the hosts no time to settle. They secured their win in the first half after establishing a 6-1 lead with goals from Yoshua St Juste, Youssef Makradi, Zaid El Morariti, Karim Mossadi, and a brace by Jordany Martinus.
The second saw both teams score a goal apiece with Mo Atairi getting Holland’s goal.
Malta’s goals came from the experienced Jovica Milijic, of Valletta, and an own goal from a cross delivered by Luxol’s Gian Carlo Sammut.
The general feeling after the game was that, considering that this was the first international friendly for a long time and the Malta squad had only been together for less than a week, the team’s performance was satisfactory.
Goalkeepers Stefan Vella and Brandon Debono enjoyed a good debut with the national team and managed to play out press – a tactic tried out in training which proved succesful.
Malta play the second friendly against the Netherlands on Tuesday evening (today) at 6:30pm at the National Sports School in Pembroke.
Brandon Debono (gk), Mark Zammit, Dylan Musu, Carl Azzopardi, Andy Mangion.
Reserves: Stephen Vella (gk), Clint Mifsud (gk), Jovica Milijic, Giancarlo Sammut, Aidan Micallef, Matthew Attard, George Frendo, Rennie Tanti, Marwan Telisi, Ryan Xuereb.
Coach: Vic Hermans
Barry de Wit (gk), Zaid El Morariti, Oualid Saadouni, Jordany Martinus, Mo Atairi.
Reserves: Jack Steur (gk), Iliass, Bouzit, Said Bouzambou, Karim Mossadi, Lahcen Bouyouzan, Youssef Makradi, Mats Velseboer, Yoshua St.Juste, Ike Neil.
Coach: Max Tjaden
Referee 1: Daniele D’Adamo (San Marino)
Referee 2: Besar Beqiri (Kosovo)
Referee 3: Jonathan Mallia (Malta)
Photo: Joe Borg