Ghedin hails Malta improvement

Malta coach Pietro Ghedin believes his team are moving in the right direction after claiming their first point of Euro 2016 qualifying.

Clayton Failla converted a 49th-minute penalty as Malta earned a 1-1 draw against Bulgaria at the Natsionalen Stadion Vasil Levski in Sofia on Sunday.

Andrey Galabinov had opened the scoring in the ninth minute, pocking home Mihail Alexandrov's knock down from close range.

But Malta were not to be denied their first point away from home in European Championship qualification since 2007, with Failla making no mistake from the spot for Malta's first goal in Group H.

Ghedin could not contain his delight after the football minnows improved on their last trip to Bulgaria, which saw them routed 6-0 in World Cup qualification last year.

"This is a fantastic result for us. I'm very proud of our performance. I want to congratulate them from the bottom of my heart for the excellent result," he said.

"I am delighted with the improvement of the team from game to game and I think we are moving in the right direction.

"I would like to thank the players from the Under-21 side who played in this game and showed great character."

The result dealt a blow to Bulgaria's hopes of qualifying for the showpiece event in France, with Luboslav Penev's men now six points off the pace.

Bulgaria were not short of chances throughout the contest after striking the post twice, while Ivelin Popov skied a 76th-minute penalty over the crossbar.

"It's very hard for me to believe we did not win this game. I think we were the better team; we controlled the game but unfortunately dropped two points," said Penev.

"We created many chances, hit the woodwork twice, missed a penalty and at the end we still didn't win.

"In our previous game [a 2-1 loss to Norway], we also created chances but we failed to convert them – and when you don't score goals, you don't win. We have to admit that we lack a killer instinct."