Win relief for Denmark
Olsen's men claim three points on nervy night
Last Updated: 06/09/13 10:24pm
Leon Andreasen: Scored an early goal for Denmark
Denmark earned three welcome points to keep their World Cup dream alive but were anything but convincing as they laboured to a 2-1 victory over Malta in Friday's qualifier in Ta'Qali.
Three months on from a humiliating 4-0 home loss to Armenia in their last Group B outing, Morten Olsen's men again looked far from assured and needed a 53rd-minute own goal from Ryan Camilleri to seal a nervy win.
Denmark had earlier taken the lead inside 90 seconds through Leon Andreasen, but group minnows Malta levelled through Clayton Failla's wonderful free-kick seven minutes before the interval and Denmark struggled to assert themselves in the second period.
The Danes will need to raise their game if they are to exact revenge on Armenia - with whom they are now level on nine points - when they meet for their return fixture in Yerevan on Tuesday.
The pain of June's mauling at Armenia's hands has been felt by the Danes all summer, and they wasted no time in venting their frustration tonight as they took the lead with just over a minute on the clock when Martin Braithwaite crossed and Andreasen steered home into the bottom-left corner.
Denmark failed to kick on from that point, however, and John Mintoff almost levelled for Malta after 17 minutes only for the feet of visiting goalkeeper Stephan Andersen to intervene.
The warning signs were there for the fragile Danes and Malta duly broke through in the 37th minute when Failla curled home a fine free-kick from 25 yards.
Malta went close to taking the lead five minutes into the second half but Michael Mifsud's header came back off the crossbar.
And within three minutes Denmark profited from their fortune to retake the lead, Tottenham new boy Christian Eriksen running at the home defence and hitting a rising shot that came down off the crossbar before being turned into the net off Camilleri, who was attempting to clear the danger.
Andreasen and Eriksen tested home goalkeeper Justin Haber in what time remained, but Malta were never out of it and will feel aggrieved to go away with nothing to show for their efforts.
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying
Fri 6th Sep - Group F
Russia4 - 1Luxembourg
N Ireland2 - 4Portugal
Fri 6th Sep - Group C
Kazakhstan2 - 1Faroe Islands
Rep Ireland1 - 2Sweden
Germany3 - 0Austria
Fri 6th Sep - Group B
Czech Rep1 - 2Armenia
Malta1 - 2Denmark
Italy1 - 0Bulgaria
Fri 6th Sep - Group A
Macedonia2 - 1Wales
Serbia1 - 1Croatia
Scotland0 - 2Belgium
Fri 6th Sep - Group E
Norway2 - 0Cyprus
Slovenia1 - 0Albania
Switzerland4 - 4Iceland
Fri 6th Sep - Group H
Ukraine9 - 0San Marino
Poland1 - 1Montenegro
England4 - 0Moldova
Fri 6th Sep - Group D
Turkey5 - 0Andorra
Romania3 - 0Hungary
Estonia2 - 2Netherlands
Fri 6th Sep - Group G
Latvia2 - 1Lithuania
Bosnia0 - 1Slovakia
Liechtenstein0 - 1Greece
Fri 6th Sep - Group I
Georgia0 - 0France
Finland0 - 2Spain
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group A
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group B
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group C
|4||Republic of Ireland||10||14|
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group D
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group E
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group F
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group G
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group H
FIFA World Cup European Qualifying Group I