The Malta Independent 18 January 2020, Saturday

BOV Premier League: Greens taste defeat for the first time

Simon Farrugia Sunday, 12 January 2020, 18:54 Last update: about 5 days ago
Photo: James Galea
Photo: James Galea

Floriana                0
Birkirkara             1

Floriana : I. Akpan, E. Ruiz, D. Venancio, K. Keqi, J. Arias Ulises (A. Caseres 84'), B. Paiber (J.Busuttil 65'), J. Pisani, M. Garcia, A. Cini, R. Camenzuli, T. Fonseca

Birkirkara A. Hogg, E. Pepe, M. Guillaumier, K. Zammit, Y. Yankam, R. Briffa, F. Falcone, C. Attard, C. Prado (M. Mifsud 77'), O. Carniello, I. Ntow


Referee: Mario Apap

Asst refs: Edward Spiteri, Paul Apap

4th official: Matthew Degabriele

Yellow Cards: Pisani, Paiber, Guillaumier

Scorers:  Falcone 80'   

BOV Player of the Match:   Brandon Paiber (Floriana)

TMI Top 3 :  1.   B. Paiber                    2.    F. Falcone                             3.   I. Ntow

A goal scored by Argentine forward Federico Falcone ten minutes from the end of the match gifted Birkirkara a narrow win over leaders Floriana. For the Greens this was the first defeat of the campaign after going through an unbeaten run throughout the entire first round. During the process they registered nine wins and four draws.

Following this weekend's result Floriana are now four points ahead of Hibernians and five ahead of current Champions Valletta. But with Gzira still to play against Hamrun Spartans today, a win for the Maroons will reduce their lead at the top of the table to just three points.

On the other hand this was a morale-boosting win for Birkirkara who now are in seventh place together with Mosta. The Stripes have gained momentum in their last matches winning four out of the last five matches.

In the first round match between the two protagonists Floriana had won by a solitary goal.

The first minutes were rather balanced and it was Birkirkara who went near on seven minutes when Zammit set Falcone free but his shot was blocked by an onrushing Akpan.

Three minutes later and Floriana unlucky not to forge ahead. A Diego Venancio long range shot hit the crossbar with goalkeeper Hogg completely beaten.  And on 14 minutes off a Camenzuli corner from the right side the ball was met by Ruiz on the far post but this header hit the side netting.

Midway through the first half the Greens hit the woodwork for the second time this time when a Paiber shot hit Roderick Briffa and flipped back on him with the ball ending on the bar.

The rest of the first half saw Floriana holding a slight edge over their opponents though never setting any bushes on fire. In fact the respective rearguards dominated the proceedings with neither team threatening.

At the beginning of the second half it was Birkirkara who threatened when Falcone squared the ball towards Ntow only for his acute shot to be blocked by an agile Akpan.

On 70 minutes Jan Busuttil replied for the Greens finding Keqi but Hogg saved easily.

The Stripes took the lead ten minutes from the end of the match  a goal which proved to be the winner. It came courtesy of a good shot from a distance from Federico Falcone which gave Akpan no chance at all.

Floriana sent all personnel on the offensive to try and save the game. First it was Keqi who was unlucky to hit the woodwork through his headed effort. This was the third time in this match that the Greens were denied by the posts.

And moments later a Camenzuli cross found Jan Busuttil  but the latters shot just missed the target.

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