The Malta Independent 27 January 2022, Thursday

Premier League: Dominant Greens fail to inflict first defeat on league leaders

Chris Cassar Sunday, 5 December 2021, 21:09 Last update: about 3 months ago

Hibernians maintained their unbeaten record at the end of the first round after a scoreless draw against Floriana. It was a lucky escape for the leageue leaders who were dominated for long stretches by a better Floriana side.

The Greens can consider themselves unlucky not to have grabbed the three points at stake in a game they dominated for long stretches but failed to score. They were unlucky in the first half when a brilliant Jan Busuttil hit the base of the upright, and eight minutes from time the Greens had a Keqi goal disallowed for an inexistant offside.

Hibernians struggled a lot as their midfielders Dunstan Vella and Bjorn Kristensen were outnumbered with Arias playing a blinder for Floriana. Dunstan Vella had the first effort on ten minutes but his central drive was well blocked by Kitanov.

It was a false warning however as Floriana quickly took command of the proceedings with Hibernians struggling to keep the pace. The Greeens’ high pressure unsettled Hibernians who were very erratic, giving away the ball easily.

Ciolacu shot slightly over the bar and on 20 minutes the Greens were unlucky when a Jan Busuttil shot hit the base of the upright. Minutes later Ryan Camenzuli tested Kone from long range and on the half hour Ciolacu shot wide when well placed.

Just before the break a rare Hibernians opportunity with Jake Grech’s cross shot creating some havoc  in the Floriana defence.

In the second half Hibernians controlled better but still Floriana were the better team on the field of play with Arias, Busuttil and Magri Overend their best players. On 68 minutes however Hibernians had a glorious opportunity when Almeida beat the offside trap but blasted over the bar.

Eigth minutes from time Floriana managed to put the ball at the back of the net through Keqi but the goal was flagged as offside by assistent referee Spiteri. However filmed repeats clearly showed that Keqi was kept onside by Andrei Agius and that the goal was a regular one.

This was a pity as Floriana surely deserved something better from this final match of the first round.

Photo: Domenic Aquilina

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