The Malta Independent 26 May 2019, Sunday

BOV Premier League: Gżira seal European berth after defeating stubborn Floriana

Stewart Said Monday, 15 April 2019, 22:14 Last update: about 2 months ago

GŻIRA U                     1
FLORIANA                 0

Gżira: J. Haber, R. Briffa, R. Soares, F. Barbosa, S. Borg, G. Conti, E. Bilbao Zarate, A. Cohen (C. Gatt, Baldacchino 77’), J. Corbalan (Z. Scerri 61’), J. Mengolo (N. Muscat 45’), H. Garba

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Floriana: I. Akpan, A. Cini, E. Ruiz, J. Pisani, A. Oyama, E. Marcelina, B. Paiber, U. Arias (E. Cesani 46’), D. Agius (T. Vella 56’), K. Keqi, T. Galvao da Silva (C. Borg 77’)

Yellow Cards: J. Mengolo 12’ (G), E. Ruiz 37’, J. Pisani 82’, B. Paiber 88’ (F)

Scorer: A. Oyama og 23’ (G)

Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann

Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Duncan Spencer

TMI Top 3: 1. R. Briffa (G), 2. E. Marcelina (F), 3. E. Bilbao Zarate (G)

BOV Player of the Match: Roderick Briffa (Gżira United)

Attendance: 293

Gżira United wanted a win to edge closer to secure the third place but after Sliema’s draw against Senglea Athletic, they have locked third place and will now play European football next season. Gżira managed to grind a result after they failed to build on their positive first half and they even finished defending with five players after Clifford Gatt Baldacchino was introduced in the last quarter of the game.

Floriana improved in the second half and they held the initiative, but although Terence Vella was introduced and had a positive impact, Guido Ugolotti’s men failed to create danger in the final third.

Gżira held the initiative slightly more than their opponents in the first minutes but Floriana created their first opportunity after fifteen minutes with a header from Kristian Keqi that finished over the bar after a good delivery by Arthur Oyama.

After Haruna Garba had a dangerous header that was ruled for offside, Gżira broke the deadlock in an usual way on the 23rd minute. Sacha Borg crossed from the left side of the penalty area, a cross that didn’t seem to create a danger but Arthur Oyama failed to control the ball and finished in the net.

Gżira almost doubled after the half hour mark as Roderick Briffa put in another dangerous cross from the right, this time for Justin Mengolo, but despite his good movement his effort finished off target. Two minutes later Floriana went close to equalise with a rising shot from Brandon Paiber that finished whiskers off the crossbar.

Akpan was a protagonist in two actions till the end of the first half. After 35 minutes he saved in an acrobatic fashion a shot by Haruna Garba, and five minutes later, the Floriana custodian was sharp to save a shot by Justin Mengolo.

At that moment, Gżira seemed to control the game but Floriana put more pressure in the second half. Jesmond Zerafa’s team was failing to keep possession and even more to create scoring opportunities. Although having more of the ball, Floriana lacked flair in the final third and Justin Haber wasn’t involved that much until the last ten minutes.

Substitute Clyde Borg tried with a shot from outside the box on the 81st minute but failed to hit the target. In the final four minutes, the Greens had three opportunities. First from a cross by Alex Cini in the box, three players missed the ball and a minute later, Justin Haber tipped into a corner a dangerous floated shot by Oyama.

Emerson Marcelina had the last shot of the game with a free-kick from around 25 metres, but his effort finished over the crossbar.

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