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Gżira United drop points as Floriana grind out point

Floriana goalkeeper Reece Cutajar takes the ball during a Gżira United attack. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi


Reid 5


Jefferson 17


R. Cutajar-6.5, A. Magri Overand-6, O. El Hasni-6, M. Veselji-6 (52 J. Busuttil-5), K. Reid-6.5, U. Arias-5, O. Spiteri-5 (52 C. Zammit Lonardelli-5), L. Trulli-5, A. Melunovic-5.5, E. Callegari-6.5, S. Osestad-6 (76 De Garzia)


D. Zarkov-6, G. Bohrer-5, L. Tabone-6, N. Muscat-6 (76 A. Borg), S. Pisani-6.5, M. Dias-6 (90 B. Borg), L. Riascos-6 (90 J. Mendoza), T. Kolega-7, M. Cosic-6, M. Maia-6 (76 L. Ribeiro) , Jefferson-6.5.

Referee:  Matthew de Gabriele

Yellow cards: Bohrer, Veselji, Dias, Callegari, Arias, Pisani, Zammit Lonardelli, Melunovic.

BOV player of the match: Jefferson (Gżira United)

A tit-for-tat opening saw the Maroons lose precious points that could see them slip further behind in the title race.

Kemar Reid’s early strike from close range put Floriana in front, but Jefferson equalised with a smart finish.

The Maroons played neat, attractive football and particularly in the first half as they stroked the ball around with nonchalant ease.

But their failure to take three points could see Ħamrun Spartans extend their lead to 13 points if they beat Birkirkara today.

On his part, Italian coach Gianluca Atzori will be satisfied with the resilience demonstrated by his side but he cut a frustrated figure for much of the afternoon.

With only five minutes on the clock, it was Floriana who opened the scoring with their first attack of the match.

Gabriel Bohrer’s clumsy attempt to control the ball saw him dispossessed by Kemar Reid. The Jamaican striker took the chance with both hands as claimed his fourth goal of the season with a low drive into the corner.

But the Maroons responded well to the early setback after Jefferson was on the scoresheet on 17 minutes. The Brazilian produced a cool close-range finish after the Floriana defence failed to clear Nikolai Muscat’s pass.

Galvanised by that equaliser, Gżira continued to surge forward with intent.

A sweeping breakaway after 38 minutes, saw Jefferson run clear through the middle channel, before shooting straight at Reece Cutajar, the Floriana goalkeeper.

At the other end, Reid continued to loiter on the edge of the penalty area and when the ball broke to him, he struck a low shot which was saved by Darijan Zarkov.

The Maroons enjoyed superiority in terms of possession and territory but Cutajar was relatively untroubled until the 69th minute when he fumbled a long shot by Maxuell Maia and had to make a vital block on Muscat from the rebound.

The Maroons pressed after the break with Steven Pisani failing to hit the target and Jefferson’s glancing header soaring over the bar.

But it was the Brazilian who created the big opening six minutes from time, only for the young Andrew Borg to hit a rising shot that flew just wide.

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