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This may be of interest to you RJ!

Malta hold Austria
by Paul Cachia, di-ve sport

Malta - Austria 1-1
Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Many things may have changed between 1957 and 2007, but when it comes to football, one thing remained the same: the local boys play their hearts out for the national team.

On 24 February 1957, a late rally ended the friendly match in a narrow 2-3 win for Austria. But on Wednesday, only an own goal from Luke Dimech rescued a point for the Austrian side. It was another five-star performance for Malta as a draw against Austria was the very least they deserved.

Malta wasted a number of chances and paid the price when a mistake let in Ivanschitz and Dimech hauled him down. From the ensuing freekick, the ball was deflected into the net.

The 4-1 defeat to Lithuania had taken some of the gloss off the famous win against Hungary. However, Malta bounced back against a side ranked 65 in the world and the hosts of the forthcoming European Championships.

Austria had started off by causing some early moments of panic in the Maltese defence. On two minutes, Prager drove forward from midfield for Austria and fired a long-range shot. The Malta keeper Justin Haber dived low to his right to save.

But they were stunned when GILBERT AGIUS put the home side ahead. The Maltese captain ran on to a George Mallia corner and showed his strength, power and unerring accuracy as he fired a shot from just outside the box.

The Maltese got men behind the ball in numbers and with Austria playing curiously deep, the Maltese were able to keep possession and dictate the pace of the game for long periods.

Dusan Fitzel's side played a long-ball game which suited Michael Mifsud perfectly. The Coventry player made darting runs to stretch the Austrian defence across the field.

The lead inspired the local side and in particular Malta marksman Michael Mifsud. After 34 minutes, the nippy striker shot wide following a mazy run past three players.

Ten minutes later, Mifsud saw a flick saved by the impressive Macho after another dazzling run.

Malta came out for the second-half asleep and Austria equalised immediately. IVANSCHITZ fire a free-kick into the Maltese box and Dimech deflected the ball into his own net.

But the Maltese side did not get disheartened and on 50 minutes, Michael Mifsud made another trademark run and unleashed a vicious strike which was athletically tipped over by Siena goalkeeper Manninger.

But, despite his best effort, Mifsud could not fashion that little something to spark his side.

For the rest of the second half, the Austrians enjoyed the bulk of possession but they failed to create any clear-cut chances against a well organised Malta side.

Seven minutes from time, Mifsud looked set to give Malta another historic victory following a run past two players but just as he prepared to pull the trigger, a sliding Fuchs robbed him of the ball.

The game ended all square. Despite not winning, it was another magic night for Fitzel and Malta and in the end the Maltese looked happy enough to leave Ta' Qali with a draw.

MALTA: J.Haber (69' Hogg), S.Wellman, B.Said (46'Azzopardi), R.Briffa, L.Dimech, G.Agius [C] (43'Sciberras), K.Sammut (86'Ciantar), M.Mifsud, G.Mallia (78'Cohen), T.Scerri (65'Woods), J.Pace.

AUSTRIA: J.Macho (46'Manninger), J.Standfest (77'Sariyar), M.Stranzl, M.Hiden, A.Ibertsberger (46'Futchs), R.Aufhauser, T.Prager (46'Kiesenbner), M.Weissenberger (66'Garics), R.Linz (73'Akagunduz), A.Ivanschitz, S.Kuljic


  • hell, Austria's hit rock bottom and will make a mockery out of themselves at their home European Cup. Over the last year they've lost to greats such as Canada and Venezuela (and drew with England twice, which says a lot about that team too).
  • Bravo Malta.

    There was almost another big shock yesterday:
    San Marino almost drew with Ireland. The Irish got away with it in the 5th minute of extra time! 1-2. It would have been the first official point for San Marino in a qualification game for either the World Cup or the European Cup. I believe their goalrecord is something like 7-140........ Poor guys.
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