General Category

Positive performances by Malta Under 18 against Lithuania

Published: Fri 10 May 2024, 09:04
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Match 1
Centenary Stadium
(HT 0-1)

0-1 Krot 5, 1-1 Bugeja 52, 1-2 Ambrazaitis 88.

This was the first Friendly Under-18 international played on Tuesday night with the visitors beating Malta by the odd goal in three. It was a hard-earned win by the Lithuanians, who dominated the first half but the locals replying well after the break, eventually going down undeservedly.  

It was Regnar Krot who put the visitors ahead on five minutes, after being sent through on the left flank, beating the on-storming Jake Scicluna was a precise lob. On 14 minutes, Scicluna fisted away an Adrian Lickunas bombshell, who is plying his trade with Perugia, one of various Italy based players in the squad of coach Reinhold Breu. On 22 minutes, Nedas Garbaliauskas nearly capitalized on a Scicluna error, who waited to long in the six-yard box to pass with the lanky Lithuanian’s block nearly ending against the net.

Malta found it hard the first 25 minutes but gradually saw more of the ball, with Aiden Zammit and captain Kean Scicluna serving the forward line with some neat built-ups. On 32 minutes, Jake Scicluna made a splendid save on a Krot attempt. Seven minutes later on the other side, the Maltese boys were unlucky when Jake Azzopardi served Felippe Bugeja whose shot from just inside the area hit the crossbar. 

Malta equalised on 52 minutes. Jake Azzopardi produced a fine run down the right, squaring to Bugeja who initially failed to connect, with Kydin Hili picking up the loose ball, crossing towards Bugeja who headed home. The opening part of the second half was a good period for the home-side, with Deisler Agius just missing target with an angled shot on 59 minutes, with Lithuanian goalkeeper Semaska tipping his attempt over the bar.

The home-side kept pressing for a winner, forcing the Lithuanians into their own half for long stretches. However, with two minutes regular time left on the clock, substitute Matas Ambrazaitis scored the winner for the guests, rounding off a fine attack with a low shot.

Jake Scicluna, Craig Micallef (Shaun Carabott 78), Lucas Okeke, Aiden Zammit, Gerrard Cann-Rodgers (Benjamin Cassar 65), Kean Scicluna (Jack Micallef 89), Liam Delicata (Thomas Melillo 65), Jake Azzopardi (Aiden Azzopardi 89), Deisler Agius (Antiago De Flavia 89), Kydin Hili (Kewell Fardell 78), Felippe Bugeja (Keyon Ewurum 65)
Coach: Facundo Styk

Ugnius Semaska, Orlandas Jakas (Edgaras Bierontas 61), Lukas Klisys (Matias Pastori 61), Azuolas Indriulis, Margiris Cizas (Emilis Kirliauskas 53), Mantas Monkelis (Matas Ambrazaitis 61), Nikita Pavlovskij , Adrian Lickunas (Brooklyn Leipus 61), Ugnius Vaitiekaitis (Marat Krasikau 61), Regnar Krot (Lukas Jonaitis 78), Nedas Garbaliauskas
Coach: Reinhold Breu

Ezekiel Barbara

Match 2
Centenary Stadium

(HT 2-0)

1-0 Melillo 14, 2-0 Hili 42, 3-0 Scicluna 62, 3-1 Klisys 75.

The second Friendly for our Under-18s yesterday night resulted in a much deserved victory, with the Maltese playing an excellent game throughout the 90 minutes. Play concentrated mostly on the half of the Lithuanians who, at times, simply had no answer to the various Maltese attacks, with Jake Scicluna playing a solid game between the sticks, neutralising nearly all the shots on target of the visitors.

The Maltese boys dominated for large stretches during the first half and took the lead on 14 minutes when Thomas Melillo capitalized on a Lithuanian defensive mistake, drilling home top corner from just inside the box. Up to that point, both sides produced one goalscoring opportunity, with the locals slowly taking the initiative.

On 28 minutes, Adrian Lickunas was sent away on the right flank but missed target with only Scicluna to beat. Six minutes later, Mantas Monkelis headed just wide from a free-kick action, with the guests now seriously pushing for an equaliser. Another Lickunas drive on 38 minutes was saved by Scicluna, but it was Malta who doubled four minutes later when Kydin Hili tapped home a Keyon Ewurum cross after another splendid home-side attack. On the stroke of half-time, a Liam Delicata free-kick was nearly misjudged by Genoa based goalkeeper Ernestas Lysionok, who tipped his effort over the bar for a corner.

Coach Reinhold Breu was most definitely not pleased and used five substitutions during half-time, including the towering Nedas Garbaliauskas who left his mark immediately, nearly hitting home from a goalmouth melee. On the hour, Ewurum should have scored Malta’s third from a swift counter-attack with only Lysionok to beat but the Lithuanian goalkeeper blocked splendidly. But on 62 minutes, captain Kean Scicluna headed Malta’s third past Lysionok from an excellent Delicata corner-kick.

On 65 minutes on the other side, Scicluna blocked another close-range Garbaliauskas effort in style to keep his net in-tact. Ten minutes later however, centre-back Lukas Klysis headed past Scicluna from a free-kick action, which signalled a late rally towards the Maltese goal. Garbaliauskas came again close on 80 minutes bit aimed too high from inside the six-yard box. On the other side, substitute Felippe Bugeja could have added Malta’s fourth five minutes later but his close-range attempt failed to find target. Two minutes later, Lithuania were awarded a penalty when Hili brought down Lukas Jonaitis in the box but Garbaliaskas kicked the spot-kick high over the bar.

Jake Scicluna, Shaun Carabott (Craig Micallef 79), Kean Scicluna (Sheldon Borg 84), Aiden Zammit, Shelom Magri, Benjamin Cassar, Kydin Hili, Thomas Melillo (Deisler Agius 66), Liam Delicata, Nicky Agius (Jake Azzopardi 79), Keyon Ewurum (Felippe Bugeja 66).
Coach: Facundo Styk

Ernestas Lysionok, Emilis Kirliauskas (Jakas Orlandas 46), Lukas Klysis, Edgaras Bierontas (Lukas Jonaitis 74), Matias Pastori (Marat Krasikau 46), Mantas Monkelis (Azoulas Indriulis 46), Matas Ambrazaitis (Regnar Krot 46), Nikita Pavlovskij, Adrian Lickunas (Nedas Garbaliauskas 46), Brooklyn Leipus, Ugnius Vaitiekaitis.
Coach: Reinhold Breu

Daniel Casha

Images copyright by Andre Farrugia & Joe Borg