Arias 84 pen.
G. Kitanov-5.5, A. Magri Overend-6, O. El Hasni-6, M. Veselji-6 (73 M. Souza), K. Reid-6.5 (57 U. Arias), E. Micallef-5.5 (76 C. Zammit Lonardelli), M. Garcia-5.5, K. Nwoko-5.5, L. De Grazia-5.5 (73 D. Vella), M. Valadzko-6, A. Kouros-5.5.
BIRKIRKARA M. Zapytowski-7, D. Mariani-6, J. Pajovic-5.5, Adailton-6 (56 A. Ciolacu), Y. Yankam-6, K. Zammit-6, A. Satariano-5.5 (56 P. Mbong), E. Pena Beltre-5.5 (77 M. Gambin), S. Zibo-6, A. Diakite-5.5 (57 N. Micallef), M. Maia-5.5 (57 M. Djurisic).
Referee Fyodor Zammit.
Yellow Cards Micallef, De Grazia, Valadzko, Mbong.
BOV Player of the Match Marcel Zapytowski.
Floriana registered their second win as they scored twice in the second half to beat Birkirkara 2-0 in an entertaining clash at the National Stadium.
The Greens therefore continued where they had left off in the match against Santa Lucia with another fine performance to pick up the three points. Birkirkara, on the other hand, suffered their first defeat after the narrow win over Sliema in their first outing.
Floriana coach Mauro Camoranesi opted for five changes from the team that defeated Santa Lucia as Adam Magri Overend, Matt Veselji, Eman Micallef, Kyrian Nwoko, and Lorenzo De Grazia were all named in the starting line-up with Ulises Arias, Jan Busuttil, Matheus Souza, Dunstan Vella and Carlo Zammit Lonardelli starting the game on the bench.
On the other hand, Giovanni Tedesco handed new signings Daniele Mariani and Ali Diakite a start as they replaced Enrico Pepe and Paul Mbong. The Malta international defender was ruled out injured while Mbong was not fully fit and was included as a substitute.
Less than a minute had passed before Birkirkara’s Mariani served Adailton from the left but the latter’s powerful shot was blocked into a corner. On the other side of the pitch, Veselji sent Kemar Reid through but hit a diagonal shot that was parried by goalkeeper Marcel Zapytowksi on three minutes, and a minute later, Alex Satariano served Adailton who hit high from an ideal position in front of the goalkeeper.
Birkirkara goalkeeper Zapytowski was prominent on 31 minutes as he palmed out a cross-shot from the left by Maksim Valadzko and then blocked a close-range effort by Reid. Six minutes later, Maxuell Maia had a long-distance freekick saved by Kitanov.
Floriana continued to create the better chances and two minutes from the end of the first half, Zapytowski blocked first-time efforts by Veselji and Valadzko. A minute later, Maxuell had a shot from inside the area blocked by a defender following an assist by Adailton.
The Greens managed to break the deadlock seven minutes into the second half. Reid released Valadzko on the left and off the latter’s cross, Veselji served Reid who beat Zapytowski.
Tedesco decided to make four substitutions, introducing another new signing Marko Djurisic, Neil Micallef, Paul Mbong, and Andrei Ciolacu on 57 minutes.
The Floriana rear-guard kept their opponents under control but ten minutes from time, Birkirkara threatened with a Yannick Yankam header which was neutralised by Kitanov following a freekick by Djurisic.
However, three minutes later, Arias released Matheus Souza on the left only for the latter to be brought down inside the area. From the penalty spot, Arias converted to double the score.
It was all over for the Stripes and Volodzko went close to extending the lead further with a diagonal shot from the left but his attempt scraped past the post on 90 minutes.
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