Nine-man St Andrews no match for Greens
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.