Substitute Artur Sarkisov scored six minutes after coming off the bench to secure Armenia the three points from their Group B encounter away to Malta.
The game looked to be on course for a stalemate after a cautious opening period, with few chances at either end. However, Armenia came out with more intent after the interval, and coach Vardan Minasyan was left delighted after throwing Sarkisov into the fray to score the winner 20 minutes from time.
Neither side was able to gain the upper hand in a tentative first 45 minutes, with chances at a premium inside the Ta' Qali National Stadium. However, a change of ends brought renewed life to the visiting side, and FC Kuban Krasnodar's Aras Özbiliz tested Andrew Hogg in the home goal. Malta captain Michael Mifsud responded immediately with a fine solo effort, which Gevorg Kasparov did excellently to parry.
In the end the game was decided by a substitute – after replacing Marcos Pizzelli, Sarkisov connected perfectly with a cross from Yura Movsisyan, the game's outstanding player, to score the only goal. The result could have been more emphatic but for the excellence of Hogg, who denied Özbiliz and Henrik Mkhitaryan late on. However, the points ultimately went to Armenia, providing a confidence boost ahead of their trip to Bulgaria on Tuesday, when Malta are in Italy.
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