Samb and Fon­tanella strikes earn derby spoils for Flo­ri­ana

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Flo­ri­ana were back to win­ning ways and what bet­ter im­pe­tus than beat­ing neigh­bours Val­letta in this much awaited derby.

This was one of the more ster­ile en­coun­ters be­tween old ri­vals, with lit­tle qual­ity on show and some of the big name per­form­ers in both sides fail­ing to en­liven the oc­ca­sion.

For Val­letta, badly miss­ing their in­jured tal­is­man Rod­er­ick Briffa, there were too many missed passes, lit­tle un­der­stand­ing in the op­po­si­tion penalty area and in the end Flo­ri­ana keeper Haber never pro­duced a real save.

Flo­ri­ana did not cre­ate a great deal but used their three mid­field­ers Steve Pisani, Ryan Ca­men­zuli and Ni­co­las Chiesa to sti­fle and keep their op­po­nents pressed back. They al­most al­ways op­er­ated on the counter, stay­ing com­posed at the back.

Val­letta had dropped their first points this sea­son with a 2-2 draw against Balzan on Satur­day. Yes­ter­day they made two changes in their start­ing line-up with Ryan Camil­leri and Lly­we­lyn Cre­mona pre­ferred to Juan Cruz and Romeu Ro­mao.

Even worse, Flo­ri­ana went into this fix­ture try­ing to im­prove on a dis­mal run of two con­sec­u­tive de­feats. Mario Fon­tanella was dropped to the sub­sti­tute’s bench but came in the sec­ond half to score his side’s sec­ond goal.

Both sides neatly spread the ball around in the ini­tial stages but there was a des­per­ate lack of threat and they pro­duced lit­tle for the first half hour ex­cept for a Flo­ri­ana free kick which Vella sent nar­rowly off tar­get.

Flo­ri­ana put sev­eral men be­hind the ball, with Mon­ti­celli the an­chor in front of a four-man de­fence, but their abil­ity to switch the play in a split sec­ond en­sured teh cham­pi­ons could never re­lax.

On the half hour,Flo­ri­ana broke the dead­lock. Cini man­aged to pass the ball through the static Val­letta de­fend­ers for Amadou Samb who, stand­ing on the edge of the area seemed to lose con­trol with his first touch but steaded him­self to beat keeper Bonello with a low strike at the near post.

On 39 min­utes Samb’s cross fell to Steve Pisani, whose shot was re­pelled by the Val­letta keeper as the Greens grew in con­fi­dence.

In the half’s added time, Jhon­nat­tann should have put Val­letta on level terms. The ball found him un­marked in­side the Flo­ri­ana area on the left but took a touch too much and fi­nally shot wide.

The mildly in­ter­est­ing rather than ex­actly mag­i­cal tone con­tin­ued well into the seond half, with Val­letta sub­sti­tut­ing Camil­leri with Ro­mao.

Flo­ri­ana were hav­ing slightly the edge in terms of possses­sion but stil fall­ing short in the fi­nal third. Aware that some­thing had to change, Flo­ri­ana coach Gio­vanni Tedesco put in Fon­tanella for Vella to­wards the hour.

On 55 min­utes Jhon­nat­tann ad­vanced on the left but his di­ag­o­nal low drive went wide. His di­rect free kick eight min­utes later, went staright in keeper Haber’s hands.

Flo­ri­ana struck again on the counter on 69 min­utes. Steve Pisani lobbed a long ball in­side the Val­letta area as sub­sti­tute Mario Fon­tanella beat the off­side trap and hit first time past the help­less keeper Bonello.

Look­ing de­mor­alised, Val­letta in­tro­duced fur­ther at­tack­ing pace in the shape of Mic­a­hel Mif­sud but the clos­est he came was a shot from the edge of the area blocked by the Flo­ri­ana de­fend­ers.

Val­letta’s mis­ery was com­plete when in the dy­ing min­utes de­fender Le­an­dro Aguirre was sent off, prob­a­bly for re­tal­i­a­tion. Val­letta Balzan Birkirkara Hiber­ni­ans Flo­ri­ana Ham­run S St. An­drews Gzira U Tarx­ien R Sliema W Mosta Pem­broke A P 5 4 4 4 5 4 5 4 4 5 4 4 W 3 3 3 3 3 2 2 1 1 1 1 0 D 1 1 0 0 0 1 0 2 1 0 0 0 L 1 0 1 1 2 1 3 1 2 4 3 4

F A Pts 10 6 10 8 5 10 11 3 9 7 5 9 7 4 9 8 5 7 6 10 6 4 4 5 2 6 4 3 8 3 5 8 3 4 11 0

Flo­ri­ana’s Samb and Val­letta’s Cre­mona tackle for the ball - Photo:Michael Camil­leri

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