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Malta earn first U21 away win at Lithuania

Lithuania 1-2 Malta
The visitors came from behind to win their first Under-21 qualifier away from home and go top of Group 2.

Rowen Muscat (right) was on target for Malta
Rowen Muscat (right) was on target for Malta ©Domenic Aquilina

Malta secured their first ever UEFA European Under-21 Championship away win at the 44th attempt to move to the top of the nascent qualifying Group 2.

Behind to a Marius Miškinis goal three minutes from half-time, Malta – who drew 0-0 in Finland on Friday – received a double fillip before the hour mark when the same player was sent off and Terence Vella dispatched the ensuing penalty. Captain Rowen Muscat completed the turnaround two minutes later and Lithuania's misery was complete four minutes from time when Karolis Chvedukas was dismissed.

It had all looked so rosy for Vitalijus Stankevičius's side, aiming to recover from a 1-0 home loss to Slovenia, when Miškinis opened the scoring from an Arvydas Novikovas set piece after a dominant start. Things started to go pear-shaped after the interval, though, the Lithuania No3 given his marching orders for his foul on Grech inside the penalty area. Vella did the rest from the spot.

Muscat headed Malta into the lead and their advantage was safe thereafter, Chvedukas's late red card extinguishing any lingering threat posed by Lithuania. Malta, already past their 2009 and 2011 qualifying points tallies combined, are now at the section summit, one clear of Slovenia who they face on 1 September, when Lithuania resume their campaign against Sweden.