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Date Time League Season
20 November 2022 7:00 pm Men's Senior 2022/23

Match Report

Robinson’s second half strike secures win for Boys in Green

Callum Robinson pounced on a defensive error to give the Republic of Ireland a 1-0 away win against Malta at the Ta’ Qali National Stadium this evening.

Malta defended resolutely throughout the first half as Ireland controlled possession without creating many clear-cut chances. The Boys in Green made an effort to press high and pressurise the hosts.

Despite the domination of the ball, it was the hosts who had the best chance of the first half in the early stages. After 11 minutes, the home side found themselves with a great opportunity to counterattack as they outnumbered the retreating Irish defence 3 to 2.

The ball was sprayed wide to Oxford United striker Jodi Jones whose disappointing effort was easily saved low by Kelleher in the Irish net.

The hosts managed to frustrate the Irish for most of the first half. The defence cleared many crosses and their central midfield three ensured that Ireland couldn’t play through the lines.

Jamie McGrath was perhaps Ireland’s brightest spark of the half and found pockets of space down the left of the Malta box and was unfortunate that his crosses were snuffed out.

Ireland’s best chance of the first half came on the 43rd-minute-mark when McGrath picked out Doherty with a lovely cross to the back post. The Spurs wing-back cleverly nutmegged defender Camenzuli to feed the oncoming Alan Browne.

Despite being right in front of goal, Browne was only capable of a toe-poke on the stretch which sailed wide, much to the relief of Bonello in the Malta goal.

The second half started in much the same vain at the same time as Nathan Collins earned the first booking of the game for a clip of the substitute Dumston Vella. Both teams failed to capitalise on freekicks on the edge of their respective boxes before Ireland were finally gifted an opener.

Coming up to the hour mark, Malta midfielder Matthew Guillaumier woefully undercooked a back pass to his goalkeeper. Callum Robinson was in the right place at the right time and comfortably slotted the ball into an open net.

Malta did try and push higher in search of an equaliser after conceding but a flurry of substitutions from both sides in the final half-hour heavily disrupted the flow of the game. The only significant chance came with just under 5 minutes remaining when substitute Callum O’Dowda rattled the post after an impressive touch and dribble down the left flank.

Much to the delight of the travelling fans, Evan Ferguson was introduced again tonight to make his second international appearance while Belfast-born Mark Sykes made his Republic of Ireland debut when he replaced the goalscorer, Robinson. 

While tonight’s game was not the most convincing victory ever for Stephen Kenny’s side they will be pleased they finished their 2022 season with a win ahead of March’s crucial European Championship qualifiers which get underway against France at the Aviva Stadium. 

  • 93'

    Full-time here in Malta and it's a 1-0 victory for Ireland! Match report to follow.

  • 90'

    A lovely ball by Cullen sends Sykes down the right wing. His cross finds Ferguson who does well to control the ball but his effort is closed down well.

  • 90'

    3 minutes of additional time here.

  • 87'

    Change for Malta and it's a former St. Patrick's Athletic player Kyrian Nwoko who is introduced.

  • 86'

    Off the post! Callum O'Dowda has been bright since his introduction and is almost rewarded with a goal. A fantastic ball over the top is well controlled by the wide man before he drilled the far post.

  • 84'

    Mark Sykes makes his international debut replacing the goalscorer Callum Robinson.

  • 83'

    Few chances for either side here. Ireland struggling to get the ball to stick when it gets up to the forward men.

  • 78'

    A spell of possession for the home side and it's Ireland's turn to hold their defensive shape. With just one goal in it, there is still a chance for Malta to get back into this tie.

  • 76'

    Cheers from the Irish fans as Evan Furgosen is introduced! He replaces Ogbene.

  • 72'

    Double change for the hosts now as Shaw and Montebello are introduced.

  • 69'

    Malta are pushing higher and looking for ways to get back into the game. Kelleher was forced into a good save from an effort by Joseph Mbong.

  • 65'

    Double change for Ireland as O\'Dowda and Hendrick replace McClean and Browne.

  • 60'

    Another great delivery from McGrath, this time a freekick on the right-hand touchline which finds the head of Browne. The resulting header finds the target but is a comfortable one for the Malta goalkeeper.

  • 57'

    Finally the breakthrough that Ireland were looking for albeit with a massive slice of luck! Signs are that the goal has opened the game up as Malta have pushed out of their deep shape a little in search of an equaliser.

  • 54'

    Goal for Ireland! Guillaumier gifts Ireland with an opener as he massively undercooks his backpass and Robinson is in a perfect place to capitalise and slot into an empty net!

  • 52'

    McGrath hits the free and again it's off the wall but this time out for a corner. McClean's delivery is a good one but Satariano clears well.

  • 52'

    Substitute Vella is unfortunately brought back off injured and replaced by Pisani

  • 50'

    Ireland's turn for a free kick on the edge of the box as Satariano fouls Cullen. Pepe is booked for his protests.

  • 48'

    Guillamier hits it and the Irish wall does its job well.

  • 47'

    First booking of the game and it's for an Irish player. Nathan Collins clips Jodi Jones after a lovely header by Vella to send the striker bursting goalwards. Freekick in a dangerous position for Malta here.

  • 45'

    The teams are back out and Malta gets us back underway. No changes for either side.

  • 45'

    Referee Chrysovalantis Theouli blows the halftime whistle. Not exactly the first half Stephen Kenny will have been hoping for...let's home the second half is more exciting.

  • 45'

    3 additional minutes added on here.

  • 43'

    Probably Ireland's best opportunity as McGrath finds Doherty with a great cross to the back post. The Spurs wing-back provides a lovely toe-poke between the legs of Camenzuli which Browne can only poke wide himself on the stretch.

  • 39'

    A series of fouls, stoppages and misplaced passes have not helped Ireland get into their rhythm. Alan Browne is the latest to go down after a heavy challenge from Teuma which somehow doesn't result in a freekick.

  • 36'

    Everything going according to plan for Malta who have defended well and cleared their lines when needed. The midfield three of Guillaumier, Teuma and Vella are working hard to ensure nothing comes through the Irish midfield.

  • 28'

    Jamie McGrath's turn to have an ambitious effort after picking up a loose Malta pass and showing good feet. Again, the Irish effort is off-target.

  • 27'

    After his midweek goal, Alan Browne is rightfully full of confidence but he was unable to recreate his magic as he blazes a volley way over the bar.

  • 22'

    A Nathan Collins pass splits the Malta defence wide open and finds Robinson in the opposition's box. The Cardiff striker does well to get a cross which almost finds Ogbene but is denied by good defending from Enrico Pepe to clear his lines.

  • 19'

    Midfielder Kristensen is forced off with an injury and is replaced by Dunstan Vella.

  • 14'

    Jamie McGrath has made a positive start here and has found joy in attacking the space down the left side of the Malta box. On this occasion he pulls the ball back from the by-line which is almost connected by the incoming Robinson.

  • 11'

    Chance for Malta! Ireland get away with one as the home side counterattacked down the right flank. it's 3 v 2 for Malta who feeds Jodi Jones in the box. His tame effort is saved by Kelleher who gets down low.

  • 8'

    The delivery is too high for John Egan as Bonello collects the cross easily.

  • 7'

    McClean has made a positive start and on this occasion drives at the Malta defence. Apap brings down the wing-back to earn Ireland a freekick in a dangerous position.

  • 5'

    The first corner of the game goes Ireland's way as Apap blocks a Callum Robinson shot from just outside the area. The defender rises well to clear the resulting corner.

  • 3'

    A quality pass from Alan Browne gives Ogbene an early chance to show his pace before a blocked cross eventually earns the home side a free out inside their own box.

  • 1'

    Callum Robinson gets us underway!

  • An estimated 700 plus Irish fans here in Malta as we make our way through the pre-match rituals!

  • Stephen Kenny has confirmed that Obafemi is not 100% fit which explains why the Swansea striker is absent tonight while he also added that Seamus Coleman will start on the right of a back three.

  • A familiar face for League of Ireland fans for Malta tonight as striker Kyrian Nwoko is named on the bench. The 25-year-old had a brief loan spell at Richmond Park during the 2021 season where he made 8 appearances for the Saints.

  • 4 changes for the hosts as Vincent Apap, Jodi Jones, Bjorn Kristensen and Alexander Satariano are all introduced.

  • Team news from the Irish camp is out and Stephen Kenny makes 5 changes to his side from Thursday's defeat to Norway. Chiedozie Ogbene, Jamie McGrath, James McClean and Caoimhin Kelleher are all introduced as is Seamus Coleman to captain the Boys in Green.

  • Good evening and welcome to FinalWhistle.ie coverage of tonight's international friendly between Malta and the Republic of Ireland! I'm Conor Paterson and I will be bringing you live updates throughout and a full post-match report. We are expecting team news here from the Ta’ Qali National Stadium in the next few minutes!

Malta

1Henry Bonello Goalkeeper
2Jean Borg Defender
3Ryan Camenzuli Defender
6Matthew Guillaumier Midfielder
7Joseph Mbong Forward
13Enrico Pepe Defender 50'
14Alexander Satariano 9 Forward
17Teddy Teuma 26 Midfielder
19Bjorn Kristensen 22 Midfielder
23Jodi Jones 20 Forward
26Ferdinando Apap 5 Defender
5Kurt Shaw 26 Defender
8Paul Mbong Forward
9Luke Montebello 14 Forward
10Stephen Pisani 22 Midfielder
11Brandon Paiber Midfielder
12Rashed Al-Tumi Goalkeeper
15Juan Corbolan Midfielder
16Jake Galea Goalkeeper
18Jurgen Degabriele Forward
20Luke Gambin 23 Midfielder
21Shaun Dimech Forward
22Dunstan Vella 10 Defender
24Karl Micallef Defender
25Adam Overand Defender
26Kyrian Nwoko 17 Forward

Ireland

2Seamus Coleman Defender
2Matt Doherty Defender
5John Egan Defender
6Josh Cullen Midfielder
7Callum Robinson Forward 54'
8Alan Browne 13 Midfielder
11James McClean 17 Defender
12Nathan Collins Defender 47'
16Caoimhin Kelleher Goalkeeper
18Jamie McGrath Midfielder
20Chiedozie Ogbene Forward
Mark Sykes 7 Midfielder
1Gavin Bazunu Goalkeeper
4Dara O’Shea Defender
10Robbie Brady Midfielder
10William Smallbone Forward
13Jeff Hendrick 8 Midfielder
15Liam Scales Defender
15Jayson Molumby Midfielder
17Callum O’Dowda 11 Midfielder
20Evan Ferguson Forward
22Darragh Lenihan Defender
23Mark Travers Goalkeeper

Past Meetings

(International Friendly)
0 - 6
U16
Hibernians Stadium

Malta v Ireland

(International Friendly)
0 - 3
U16
Hibernians Stadium

Malta v Ireland

Ground

National Stadium Ta'Qali
Ta\' Qali, Attard, Central Region, MST 4128, Malta

Conor Paterson is a Dublin based journalist and student. He is the current editor of UCD newspaper the College Tribune, where he is also undertaking an undergraduate degree. Passionate about football on and off the pitch, he is determined to promote UCD AFC and Irish football on the Belfield campus.