UEFA U19 Champs: Basil Tuma sees positives for Malta despite heavy defeat to Italy

Malta U19 forward Basil Tuma believes his team will bounce back despite their 4-0 loss to Italy in their opening game of the 2023 UEFA U19 Championship.

UEFA U19 Champs: Basil Tuma sees positives for Malta despite heavy defeat to Italy

The hosts were completely dominated and put to the sword by Alberto Bollini’s superior side, with captain Jake Micallef’s first-half sending-off making matters worse.

Three of Italy’s goals came via penalties, Cher Ndour, Pio Esposito and Samuel Vignato all netting from the spot, with Luca D’Andrea also scoring from a deflected free-kick.

Tuma, who was one of Malta’s lively players on an overall bad day at the office, believes the hosts can take some positives from the defeat and bounce back in their next match.

“I think there are positives to take, but it's always hard when you get a man down,” Tuma said after the game.

“I think we didn't concede from any open goals. That showed that we can play. A few penalties were unfair for us, but that's football. It's a bit hard to make the most of it when you have 10 men, but I think we did our best and we still have two games to go, so there's still stuff we can do.”

Tuma, who was born in Uganda but moved to England at a young age before switching nationality to Malta, also opened on the difference between the African and European game.

“It's a bit different, in that, African football is a lot more like physical, there's a lot more like running involved,” he said.

“And I think in European football it's a bit more technical so there are different challenges in both of them. I think they're both really good quality, like types of stages to play on.”

The 18-year-old and his Malta U19 teammates will be looking to make amends for their opening-day loss when they take on Poland in their next group game.

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