14th August 2012
Stadio Olimpico di Serravalle, Serravalle, San Marino
San Marino 2 – 3 Malta
Oh the agony. So close and yet so far for San Marino as they fall just short of a historic non-defeat to Malta. Scoring an almost unprecedented two goals couldn’t prevent a loss to the relative might of Malta in Serravalle, and so San Marino will remain rooted to the foot of the world rankings for the foreseeable future.
Things has started out astonishingly well when in only the 7thminute Manuel Marani gave San Marino the lead. However it didn’t last long, with Malta equalising 6 minutes later through Michael Mifsud thanks to a bit of dodgy goalkeeping, and then taking the lead through Andrei Agius to lead 2-1 at the break.
Five minutes from time, Mifsud added a third for Malta, meaning that Danilo Rinaldi’s stoppage time penalty for San Marino was mere consolation.
Step this way for highlights…
So sadly San Marino narrowly miss the chance to pick up some ranking points, but let’s not condemn them having come so close. I sincerely hope that this fixture is a sign of things to come in future, in terms of arranging a few friendly matches against opposition of a similar (or let’s face it, slightly better) standing. Morale, and ranking points, need some games where San Marino can actually attack on occasion rather than the default qualifying match scenario of desperately trying to avoid a humping.
So it’s on to the World Cup qualifiers next for San Marino, which sees a return to action next month at home to Montenegro. The group also contains Poland, Moldova, Ukraine and England. Oh well…
A. Simoncini (F. Valentini 46), F. Vitaioli (D. Vannucci 63), M. Palazzi, M. Cervellini, D. Simoncini, A. Della Valle (C. Brolli 46), E. Cibelli (A. Bianchi 46), A. Gasperoni, D. Rinaldi, M. Mariani (S. Bacciocchi 79), M. Vitaioli (M. Muraccini 71).
A. Hogg, A. Muscat (J. Mintoff 86), G. Sciberras, A. Agius, D. Bogdanovic, R. Briffa (S. Bajada 46), M. Mifsud (P. Fenech 86), A. Cohen, A. Schembri (E. Barbara 46), R. Camilleri (L. Dimech 54), S. Borg (R. Fenech 62).