Nine-man St An­drews no match for Greens

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Flo­ri­ana ob­tained a seventh suc­ces­sive pos­i­tive re­sult yes­ter­day when they over­came a fee­ble chal­lenge from nine-man St An­drews to emerge easy win­ners.

The Greens, on a six-match un­beaten run, had Fon­tanella miss­ing. St An­drews were not miss­ing any play­ers, but their coach Danilo Don­cic was not on the bench, but among the fans, af­ter be­ing slapped with a two-match ban.

In the first half, Flo­ri­ana en­joyed the lion’s share of the ex­changes and richly de­served their 3-1 lead hav­ing dom­i­nated from start to fin­ish.

Their two-goal lead, how­ever, only ma­te­ri­alised near the end when they took the lead once again through a Chiesa penalty and then added a third goal just be­fore the in­ter­val whis­tle.

Un­til suf­fer­ing the penalty goal – al­beit a some­what harsh de­ci­sion in my opin­ion - the Saints were giv­ing the Greens a good run for their money. They were well or­gan­ised at the back and de­spite Flo­ri­ana’s con­tin­u­ous at­tacks, they never ap­peared to wilt un­der the pres­sure.

The Greens, how­ever, were much more de­ter­mined than their op­po­nents who ap­peared to be un­set­tled af­ter suf­fer­ing an early goal.

In the sec­ond half, de­spite play­ing in 10 men (and later nine) due to the dis­missal of John­son (and Kesinovic), the Saints showed more de­ter­mi­na­tion at the start, but af­ter miss­ing a penalty from cap­tain Far­ru­gia, it was Flo­ri­ana who took over once again adding an­other goal to their tally to make it a more re­sound­ing win.

The match be­came even more dif­fi­cult for the Saints in the 82nd minute, when the of­fi­cial also showed a red card to Kesinovic, who thus left his team-mates plough­ing on in just nine men.

Flo­ri­ana quickly went out at­tack and in the 2nd minute, Chiesa set Amadou Samb on the edge of the area, but goalie Jake Galea rushed out of his charge to block the Flo­ri­ana striker’s in­cur­sion.

Two min­utes later, Flo­ri­ana opened the score. It was Varela who beat Galea with a shot from just out­side the area af­ter a per­sonal ac­tion.

In the 15th minute, it was again Samb, set by Vella, who tested goalie Galea, but the lat­ter, just tipped to cor­ner.

St An­drews equalised in the 19th minute. From a Joe Far­ru­gia free­kick, it was Kesinovic who flicked the ball past Haber. Jur­gen Pisani tried to clear off the line, but he blasted the ball into his own net, prob­a­bly when the ball had al­ready crossed the line.

In the 28th minute, Far­ru­gia went close for the Saints with a fine ris­ing shot.

In the 40th minute, Flo­ri­ana re­gained the lead when they were awarded a penalty for a han­dling in­fringe­ment by John­son in the Saints area on a Ca­men­zuli shot. Af­ter John­son was shown his sec­ond yel­low card and was there­fore dis­missed, from the spot-kick Chiesa gave Galea no chance.

In added time, Flo­ri­ana added an­other goal to their tally. From a Pepe cross from the right, it was Varela who headed in, the ball cross­ing the line be­fore goalie Galea pushed it out. The ref­eree con­va­l­i­dated the point on the flag­ging of the as­sis­tant.

As the sec­ond half started, the Saints al­most pulled back a goal when an Nwoko an­gled shot hit the upright.

Mo­ments later, they had a good chance to re­duce the gap when they were awarded a penalty, most prob­a­bly for a han­dling in­fringe­ment dur­ing a melee in the Greens area. But cap­tain Far­ru­gia hit well over the bar from the spot­kick.

In the 54th minute, it was Flo­ri­ana who in­creased their lead. Amadou Samb went past his di­rect op­po­nent on the left and crossed low for Chiesa to flick home from close in.

On 71 min­utes, Nwoko tried his luck from the edge of the area, but his grounder was well saved by the div­ing Haber.

Ten min­utes later, from a Paz free­kick, it was Kas­trevec who tested Haber with a good header, but the Flo­ri­ana goalie turned to cor­ner.

On the 82nd minute, St An­drews fin­ished play­ing with 10 men as Kesinovic was also shown the way to the dress­ing room fol­low­ing a sec­ond yel­low card.

But de­spite the hand­i­cap, they did not suf­fer fur­ther goals.

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