The Malta Independent 8 August 2020, Saturday

BOV Premier League: Floriana win Old Firm clash to finish first round with a six-point lead

Chris Cassar Sunday, 15 December 2019, 15:52 Last update: about 9 months ago
Photo: James Galea
Photo: James Galea

Sliema W-Floriana         1-2

Sliema W: E. Elezaj, K. Shaw, J. Mintoff, C. Zappa (M. Scerri 62'), J. Cisotti, G. Barone, P. Xuereb, E. Agius, C. Pani, G. Adamovic (J. Gill 73'), J.P. Farrugia (A. Satariano 44').

Floriana: I. Akpan, B. Muhamadou, E. Ruiz, D. Venancio, K. Keqi, B. Paiber (B. Sciberras 85'), J. Pisani, M. Garcia, A. Cini, J. Busuttil (C. Borg 81'), T. Fonseca.

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Referee: Philip Farrugia

As. Referees: Duncan Sultana, Duncan Spencer

Fourth Official: Slobodan Petrovic

Scorers: T. Fonseca 3', J. Mintoff 54', J. Busuttil 70',

Yellow cards: G. Adamovic 35', B. Paiber 68', J. Busuttil 70', E. Ruiz 71', C. Pani 74,

Player of the match: Jan Busuttil (Floriana)

TMI Best Three: 1. J. Busuttil 2. J. Mintoff 3. K. Keqi

Floriana increased their lead at the top of the standings beating Sliema Wanderers by the odd goal in three, in an Old-Firm clash that never reached high standards. Without setting any houses on fire, Floriana fully deserved their victory against a rather sorry Sliema side.

Much more was expected from the Wanderers, fresh from their victory over Birkirkara in their last outing. But the Blues were never really in the match yesterday, and their best patch was early in the second half when they obtained a momentary equaliser in one of their rare attacking moves.

For Floriana the victory crowns an impressive first round and a six-point lead which sees them as firm favourites to win the title after a very long wait.

Floriana could'nt have had a better start as they forged ahead after barely three minutes play. A Vencio freekick was partially cleared by the Sliema defence and Fonseca rounded a defender before hitting low past Elezaj.

The match slowed down after this good start from the Greens, with Sliema having more of the ball but never ventured near goalkeeper Akanji. On 21 minutes Jan Busuttil had acres of open ground ahead of him and his shot just missed the base of the upright.

On 28 minutes Floriana came close a second goal when Fonseca's shot was blocked by a defender, with the ball coming towards Jan Busuttil who was denied by an Elezaj brilliant save. Two minutes later Sliema had another lucky escape when Elezaj blocked Keqi's point blank effort and Fonseca's header from the rebound was blocked on the goal line by Goran.

Minutes from the break Paiber tried his luck from a long distance but Elezaj was on the alert to block. Just before the half time whistle Sliema lost Jean Paul Farrugia who had to be substituted by Alexander Satariano.

Nine minutes into the second half Sliema drew level when Kurt Shaw had a good run on the right flank and his low pass found John Mintoff unmarked on the far post and Mintoff made no mistake firing at the back of the net.

This goal shocked Floriana who took some time to re-organise themselves as Sliema enjoyed a good patch. However Floriana regained their composure and regained the lead on 70 minutes when Keqi's back-heel unmarked Jan Busuttil who scored a great goal from an acute angle.

Floriana continued to dictate matters searching for a third goal to seal off the issue. Sliema had a Satariano header going wide, but were finding it hard to create scoring opportunities. Four minutes from time Cisotti's cross was met by Shaw but his header sailed over the bar.

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