The Malta Independent 19 May 2022, Thursday

Floriana close the gap with leaders after marginal win over Birkirkara

Simon Farrugia Monday, 24 January 2022, 05:47 Last update: about 5 months ago

Floriana are now just four poinst adrift of leaders Hibernians after winning a difficult match against Birkirkara in the last game of the fifteenth day of the BOV Premier League. After taking the lead in the first half and being superior to their opponents they had to hold on tight in the second forty five minutes since Birkirkara upped their tempo and dominated proceedings.

The Greens went into this match on a four match unbeaten run after drawing against Hibernians and beating Santa Lucia, Sliema Wanderers and Valletta.

On the other hand the Stripes were coming from a dramatic win against Balzan when they turned defeat into victory with three goals in the final stages of the match.

The first round match between Floriana and Birkirkara ended in a 1-1 draw.

Floriana went near after just two minutes when Sylla was on the alert to save a Rebenja shot from close range. On 11 minutes followign a number of exchanges between the Floriana players a Paiber shot just missed the target.

Floriana forged ahead in the sixteenth minute when after a moment of hesitation by the Stripes rearguard, Busuttil crossed the ball and Andrei Ciolacu was on hand to slot the ball home.

The first time that Birkirkara went near was midway through the first half through a Venancio free kick which sailed just over the bar. And in the 38th minute Mbong, Yankam and Bonanni  combined well only for the latters shot ending inches wide.

Five minutes inside the second half Birkirkara thought that they drew level when off a Venancio free kick Montebello headed into the net but he was clearly caught in an offside position.

And moments later they had their protests for a penalty turned down when a Carniello headed hit Cassar’s hand. The Stripes kept piling on the pressure and nineteen minutes from the end an Nsumoh low diagonal shot nearly found the corner of the net.

Eight minutes from the end Birkirkara went near through an Aguirre free kick which just missed out. And in added time their last chance to save the match when off a Venancio corner Yankam headed goalwards but Kitanov saved.

Photo Domenic Aquilina

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