Lexical UnitsScenesConcept HierarchiesSound ExamplesParallel Texts

Spoils shared in Malta

Saturday, 9 October 2004

By Domenic Aquilina at the Ta' Qali stadium

[1] Iceland and Malta may have failed to produce a goal today, but the draw ensured each side picked up their first point in FIFA World Cup qualifying Group 8.

Bright start

[2] The match started brightly with both sides creating early chances. On three minutes Malta striker Michael Mifsud tested Iceland goalkeeper Árni Gautur Arason, then two minutes later it was the turn of Iceland to go near to opening the scoring, Indridi Sigurdsson missing the target after a scramble in front of the Malta goal.

Einarsson efforts

[3] Iceland went close again soon after, Hermann Hreidarsson crossing for Gylfi Einarsson who met the ball well but crashed his header just over. Thordur Gudjónsson was the driving force in midfield for Iceland who were unfortunate not to go ahead when Einarsson shot crisply at goal but Justin Haber, making his debut for Malta in goal, parried his shot to safety.

Arason saves

[4] Malta too were creating chances, and on 30 minutes Claude Mattocks shot wide after being teed up by Mifsud. Two minutes later, Roderick Briffa put Ivan Woods through on goal but Arason again came to his side's rescue, palming away the initial shot then clearing Mifsud's effort off the rebound.

Gudjohnsen shot

[5] Iceland hit back five minutes before the break with another fine move, but Heidar Helgason headed wide off Arnar Vidarsson's cross. And the visiting side continued to press after the restart when Eidur Gudjohnsen sent a free-kick narrowly wide.

Haber saves

[6] For Malta, Ivan Woods combined well with Mifsud who took the ball past Arason, but his cross flashed across goal and to safety. But as the match swung from end to end Malta were saved by the brilliance of Haber who tipped Brynjar Gunnarsson's 53rd minute strike off the crossbar and away for a corner.

Mifsud impresses

[7] Mifsud was the inspiration for Malta and he worked an opening late on for substitute Michael Ganea before going close himself in the closing stages. Malta, who picked up their first home competitive point since a draw with the Czech Republic in 2000, travel to Bulgaria on Wednesday when Iceland are at home to Sweden.

Malta's Ivan Woods (left) pursues Eidur Gudjohnsen