Ten-man Flo­ri­ana hold their nerves to win

Malta Independent - - SPORTS -

Play­ing with only ten men for al­most the en­tire match, Flo­ri­ana kept their nerves to beat bot­tom team Pem­broke by two sec­ond half goals.

Al­though made to sweat harder than ex­pected, af­ter their striker Mario Fon­tanella was sent off in the open­ing seven min­utes, this win was a de­served one for su­pe­rior Flo­ri­ana.

Amadou Samb made his mark on the team with his in­clu­sion as a sub­sti­tute at half­time. He played an as­sist to Varela in Flo­ri­ana’s first goal and then scored the sec­ond him­self to seal vic­tory for the Greens.

Flo­ri­ana not only recorded their third win in four matches but hauled Pem­broke back into deep trou­ble at the foot of the stand­ings.

Pem­broke were a disp­point­ing lot. De­spite pe­ri­ods of good play and pass­ing, they strug­gled to re­ally trou­ble Flo­ri­ana. Their best chances of a goal both came in the fi­nal five min­utes.

The match was hardly seven min­utes old when Flo­ri­ana were on the back­foot. They had striker Mario Fon­tanella sent off for el­bow­ing Adrian Borg as the two play­ers were in­volved in a tus­sle in mid­field.

De­spite their nu­mer­i­cal su­pe­ri­or­ity, Pem­broke hardly looked like trou­bling keeper Matthew Grech, who yes­ter­day re­placed Justin Haber, in the Flo­ri­ana goal.

Chiesa, wear­ing the cap­tain’s arm band yes­ter­day,looked par­tic­u­larly classy in mid­field, but Flo­ri­ana, and es­pe­cially Varela, were found want­ing in the fi­nal third.

All the ball hog­ging merely pro­duced any chances, al­though Pem­broke might well have had a penalty when Jur­gen Pisani charged into Mar­i­ano, send­ing the for­ward crash­ing in­side the Flo­ri­ana penalty area.

The send­ing off was the only noteworthy episode of a mun­dane first half.

Flo­ri­ana put in Amadou Samb for Borg at half­time to give the Greens some im­pe­tus in at­tack. On the hour, the for­mer beat the Pem­broke off­side trap, rounded the goal­keeper but Pem­broke de­fender Djeljilj man­aged to block him with a neat tackle.

Djeljilj later clipped the bar with his cross shot from the left be­fore Flo­ri­ana went in front past the hour.

Ig­na­cio Varela ran to Samb’s for­ward pass from the right and beat keeper Calleja Cre­mona with a di­ag­o­nal shot.

Then Amadou Samb added a sec­ond on 75 min­utes.

Even if two goals down, Pem­broke kept try­ing. They were de­nied five min­utes from the end when Ruiz cleared Bar­betti’s ef­fort on the line af­ter keeper Grech failed to hold the ball.

But in added time, Pem­broke man­aged to get a con­so­la­tion goal. Shodiya’s cross from the left fell to Adrian Borg who headed in from close range. But that served only for sta­tis­ti­cal pur­poses. Balzan Hiber­ni­ans Val­letta Birkirkara Flo­ri­ana Sliema Ham­run St. Andrews Tarx­ien Gzira Mosta Pem­broke P 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 12 W 8 8 7 6 6 5 4 4 3 2 2 2 D 3 2 3 3 3 2 2 2 4 3 2 1 L F A Pts 1 23 13 27 2 18 10 26 2 20 11 24 3 27 10 21 3 14 10 21 5 15 14 17 6 19 24 14 6 12 17 14 5 12 17 13 7 11 21 9 8 10 22 8 8 14 26 7

Photo: Mike Camil­leri

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