It is the fifth draw from eight games for O’Neill while Northern Ireland remain without a win since beating the Faroe Islands in August 2011. Danny Lafferty did have the ball in the net in the 18th minute but it was ruled out for pushing and the visitors were grateful to goalkeeper Alan Mannus for two very good saves to deny former Coventry striker Michael Mifsud. Michael O’Neill is still looking for his first win as Northern Ireland manager after they were held to a goalless draw by Malta in Wednesday night’s friendly at Ta’qali National Stadium. Press Association Northern Ireland were almost behind in the fifth minute when Andrew Cohen crossed for Andre Schembri, who should have scored but shot straight at Mannus from eight yards. Will Grigg fluffed his lines when his first big chance came along in the 17th minute, a heavy touch allowing keeper Andrew Hogg to block. Moments later Northern Ireland had the ball in the net when McAuley headed in a Chris Brunt corner but Bulgarian referee Nikolay Yordanov disallowed it for pushing. Mifsud was proving a handful for the visiting defence and his trickery created another opening for Schembri, whose drive beat Mannus but flew just past the angle of post and bar. Clayton Failla was the next to threaten Mannus’ goal with a fierce free-kick from 30 yards that was a yard over the bar. Wingers Niall McGinn and Shane Ferguson were having little joy down the flanks but in the 36th minute McGinn made progress down the right and Steven Davis crossed for Grigg to glance a header wide. O’Neill made one change at half-time, Craig Cathcart replacing Jonny Evans in the centre of defence. The Ta’qali has traditionally been a good venue for Northern Ireland, with 2005’s 1-1 draw between the sides the only one of six previous meetings they did not win. The visitors almost caught Malta cold as McGinn broke through in the middle but Hogg was off his line quickly to punch clear, while Aaron Hughes then did well to get to the byline on the right and pull the ball back but McGinn scuffed his shot. In the 56th minute Mannus was called into serious action for the first time when Mifsud unleashed a stinging shot from the right, the keeper palming it away. In the 63rd minute Inverness striker McKay was introduced, winning his first cap when he replaced Ferguson on the right, with Grigg remaining the lone striker. The visitors were pressing but in the 70th minute they were indebted to Mannus for an excellent stop to keep out Mifsud once again. Pat McCourt and Josh Magennis were introduced late on but there was no way through the Malta defence and the visitors had to settle for a disappointing draw.
GVC hires ‘comms pro’ Tessa Curtis to re-energise media profile August 25, 2020 Share Playtech offloads casual games subsidiaries July 16, 2020 Share Related Articles 888 appoints VC expert Limor Ganot as a corporate advisor July 20, 2020 Submit StumbleUpon Presenting investors 888 Holdings full-year 2016 financial results, Chief Executive Itai Frieberger has stated that following a ‘fantastic year’, 888 now enters a crucial period in its existence as the company vows to compete in a ‘multi-faceted arena’.Updating corporate shareholders, Frieberger detailed that 888’s 82% profit increase was a testament to the firm’s governance strategy, focusing on a ‘continued drive into regulated markets’. Detailing his personal perspective, Frieberger tells 888 stakeholders that he has witnessed the industry evolve from being ‘wholly unregulated to fully regulated’ as more national jurisdictions come into play.888’s CEO notes that part of his firm’s success has been driven by the ability to develop technology and platforms with regulatory challenges in mind. Building these effective operational processes have been key to 888’s ongoing growth both at B2C and B2B levels.However, 888’s leader heeds a warning to upcoming industry challenges, stating that all industry operators and service providers will be challenged by multi-facet demands from consumers and clients.As with many industry CEOs’ Frieberger details that tomorrow’s winners’ will be the enterprises that can offer best product and efficient scalability for a more demanding consumer wanting a high engagement multi-product experience.Confident in 888’s future performance, Frieberger notes his firm’s effective in-house technology output driven by ‘top of the range development teams’. Noting his firm’s technology muscle, Frieberger states that 888 development teams successfully delivered on a combined 200 projects for its B2C and B2B operations in full-year 2016.Ending his presentation, Frieberger states that 888’s technology scale cannot be matched by competitors and that its unique dynamics’ will guide the company’s future performance against new multi-facet demands.