The Malta Independent 26 June 2022, Sunday

Premier League: Floriana close in on leaders Hibernians

Simon Farrugia Monday, 21 February 2022, 06:55 Last update: about 5 months ago

Floriana gained another three precious points and are now just a point adrift of league leaders Hibernians. It was an entertaining match with opponents Gżira, after a rather difficult first half playing much better in the second period.

In fact the match grew in it’s importance following the first defeat that Hibernians suffered against Birkirkara which meant an extra incentive for Floriana in order to go for maximum points and close on the leaders. Their opponents Gżira were also in need of the points since the situation in the middle of the table intensifies more as time goes by. So everything is uncertain as to which Pool the Maroons will be playing.

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Floriana were unbeaten in their last eight matches and went into this match with back-to-back wins over Balzan and Mosta. Even Gżira won their last two matches against Ħamrun Spartans and Balzan respectively.

In the first round Floriana defeated Gzira United 2-1.

Gżira reacted a minute later when a Mendoza shot was saved by Kitanov. But it was the Greens who on fifteen minutes went near once again when Arias made his way on the left flank setting Camenzuli but the latter was unlucky since his fierce shot was held by the crossbar.

On 24 minutes Zarkov blocked well on Arias. And ten minutes from the break Arias brought Ciolacu all alone but with only Zarkov to beat his shot ended wide.

Floriana doubled their lead on 40 minutes. Ciolacu took advantage of a short back pass anticipating Zarkov and passing towards Arias who had the easiest of chances in slotting the ball home. Just before the change of ends Gżira missed an easy chance when Scerri miskicked but the ball found Gauci who missed the easiest of sitters concluding over the bar.

Gżira started the second half brightly and on 48 minutes they were unlucky when a Scerri volley hit the crossbar. And three minutes later off a Jefferson cross from the left flank a Pisani flick just missed the target.

Floriana were dealt a blow fifteen minutes from the end when goalkeeper Kitanov was sent off after bringing down Kolega who was free to advance all alone. Gżira now put all personnel on the attack and two minutes from the end after Jefferson was brought down by Garcia from the resultant penalty Maia converted. Deep into stoppage time Gżira were near to save the match but a Jefferson conclusion from close range was blocked by Callegari.

Photo: Domenic Aquilina

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