11/15/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/15/2019 16:29
EURO 2020 QUALIFIERS GROUP F
15.11.2019, Estadio Ramon de Carranza, Cadiz,
As expected, it was tough for the Maltese tonight in Cadiz, with the hard-working Spaniards overpowering Malta 7-0. During the full 90 minutes, the Maltese had no answer to the immense pressure imposed upon them, which resulted into countless opportunities in front of the goal of Henry Bonello who, with a very decent performance, neutralised many of these chances.
With defender Jurgen Pisani, aged 27, and 24-year-old midfielder Brandon Paiber, Malta coach Ray Farrugia opted to give two Floriana players their international debut. Villareal goalkeeper Pau Lopez made his debut for the hosts.
In the 23rd minute, Spain took the lead. The Maltese defence failed to clear the ball after a corner, with Gerard Moreno heading towards Alvaro Morata who headed passed Bonello from close range. The Maltese were forced to make an early change as, just after the half-hour mark, Juan Corbalan got injured and had to be replaced by Hamrun Spartans defender Karl Micallef. The pressure on the Maltese rear-guard increased and it was no surprise that Spain doubled the score four minutes before the break. Moreno served Santi Cazorla who beat Bonello after a flowing attack through the middle. Barely a minute later, Moreno had the chance to score himself but was inches wide of scoring a third after a cross by Pablo Sarabia from the left.
Ten minutes after the restart, Sarabia could have added a third goal but his effort from just inside the box was saved on the goal line by Jonathan Caruana. One minute later, Moreno had another goal scoring opportunity with only Bonello to beat but his efforts sailed inches wide. Just after the hour, Spain went 3-0 up. A corner from the left was headed by Alcacer towards another substitute, Pau Torres, who beat Bonello with a powerful header from close-in. Barely a minute later, the Maltese midfield lost the ball, with Moreno advancing towards the box, passing neatly to Sarabia, who had the better of Bonello with an angled shot.
The pressure continued and two minutes later, Bonello saved an attempt of Dani Olmo from close range. However, in the 68th minute, substitute Olmo made up for that missed chance by scoring Spain's fifth goal, rounding off another wonderful attack. Three minutes later, Juan Bernat crossed inch perfectly to the unmarked Moreno who added Spain's sixth goal. Spain added their seventh goal on 85 minutes thanks to a sailing shot from just outside the box by Jesus Navas. On the stroke of full-time, Alcacer hit the post from an ideal position.
Earlier on today, Norway, Malta's opponents next Monday at Ta' Qali, beat the Faroe Islands 4-0 in Oslo while Romania lost at home 0-2 to Sweden. This win means that Sweden, as group runners-up, also qualified the Euro 2020 final tournament
Spain: Pau Lopez, Jesus Navas, Raul Albiol, Sergio Ramos (Pau Torres 61), Juan Bernat, Thiago Alcantara, Rodrigo Hernandez, Santi Cazorla (Paco Alcacer 53), Gerard Moreno, Alvaro Morata (Dani Olmo 66), Pablo Sarabia. Coach: Robert Moreno.
Malta: Henry Bonello, Zach Muscat, Jurgen Pisani (Jake Grech 75), Andrei Agius, Jonathan Caruana, Dunstan Vella, Juan Corbolan (Karl Micallef 34), Joseph Mbong, Rowen Muscat (Triston Caruana 64), Brandon Paiber, Kyrian Nwoko. Coach: Ray Farrugia
Referee: Viktor Kassai (Hungary)
Images copyright by Domenic Aquilina