The Malta Independent 29 January 2023, Sunday
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Premier League: Ten-man Stripes overcome Floriana in tense match

Simon Farrugia Sunday, 22 January 2023, 06:11 Last update: about 6 days ago

Birkirkara scored a dramatic winner two minutes from the end of the match to turn defeat into victory against Floriana. A win which now puts the Stripes in second place.

In their last match Birkirkara thrashed Żebbuġ Rangers by five goals to nil. And they continued finding the net with ease when in the Izibet FA Trophy they beat Nadur Youngsters by four goals to nil.

Not the same can be said of Floriana who after beating Sirens in the League by a solitary goal were surprisingly eliminated from the FA Trophy at the expense of lowly Santa Lucia.

Floriana did the early running and on six minutes Reid could have gave them an early lead but with only Nava to beat the Birkirkara goalkeeper turned his shot onto a corner.

Four minutes later and it was the Greens once again, this time when a Veselji low drive from the edge of the area was saved by Nava.

Birkirkara came into the picture in the 20th minute with Paul Mbong supplying a cross which was headed down by Tulimieri but Carbera arrived late in order to connect.  

In the 25th minute Floriana threatened again when a long range shot by Kemar Reid just missed the target.

Birkirkara started the second half brightly and on 47 minuta Cabrera hit the upright. A minute later a Iorio shot from the edge of the area was turned onto a corner by Kitanov. From the resultant kick by Fedele a Iorio shot from inside the area was saved once again by Kitanov.

Floriana responded through a Reid shot which was saved with some difficulty by Nava. With the Stripes being dealt a severe blow in the 50th minute when Tulimieri was given the marching orders for a second bookable offence following a foul on Garcia.

Floriana took the lead in the 70th minute when off a De Grazia cross from the left flank in came Oulaid El Hasni who slotted the ball into an empty net.

But their joy was short lived since Birkirkara drew level three minutes later through a gem of a goal by Enzo Cabrera whose diagonal shot found the corner of the net.

And it was Birkirkara who struck gold two minutes from the end when an Alex da Paixao Alves shot was deflected by Cassar ending at the back of the net.

Photo: Domenic Aquilina

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