This is a good response for the Azurri, who lost the qualifiers’ opening game. Goals from Mateo Retegui and Matteo Pessina were enough to secure the win.
They had recorded their defeat in European Championship qualifiers since 2006 against the Three Lions. This has put massive pressure to be on the team to get a result at the National Stadium in Ta’Qali.
After making eight changes to the side that played England, Roberto Mancini’s mem still cruised to a comfortable win.
Malta would have scored in the opening five minutes, but thanks to captain Gianluigi Donnarumma who made a great save in the opening, fingertipping over the line from Alexander Satariano’s effort.
After the snapshot of Alessio Romagnoli was pushed over the bar, Italy scored on the resulting corner. Sandro Tonali found Retegui for a powerful six-yard header to get the lead.
Pessina later doubled the visitors’ lead. Emerson Palmieri pulled a ball across the six-yard box. It took deflections off Tonali and a Malta player before Pessina tapped in to record the first-ever senior Italy goal scored by a Monza player.
Italy would have made it three, but Malta’s goalie made a save on Vincenzo Grifo, who failed to fire in the rebound under pressure from Mbong.
In first-half stoppages, Italy’s penalty was waived after Politano got a nudge from Juan Corbolan.
Italy continued from where they stopped in the first half as Retegui threatened another goal within seconds of the restart. He fired over his effort after an awkwardly-bouncing Emerson assist. He then nodded over from a corner.
Malta had a chance of reducing the deficit as Emerson made an almost accidental clearance on a chaotic corner.
The left-back also made another vital block on Mbong after a smart Yannick Yankam pass freed him up for the shot from eight yards.