Garcia 23, Matheus 90
NAXXAR LIONS 0
A screamer from Nicolas Garcia and a moment of class from Matheus helped Floriana to overcome Naxxar Lions 2-0 on Saturday but their path to the IZIBET FA Trophy Last 16 was far from smooth.
The importance of this competition was shown by Mauro Camoranesi naming his strongest possible line-up.
His counterpart, George Vella made four changes from the 2-1 victory over Valletta in his starting line up with Rendon Blandon, Marcilio and Mark Fenech drafted into the formation.
One of these, Blandon threatened to surprise the strong Floriana line-up inside the first eight minutes, but he dragged his effort wide off the far post of Georgi Kitanov.
It was a good 15 minutes before Floriana regained their shape, and finally Dunstan Vella made inroads with a typical driving run on the left inside channel.
Kemar Reid was blocked by the Naxxar rearguard, the rebound fell into the path of Garcia who came inside onto his right foot and unleashed a pile-driver that fizzed past Matthias Debono and went in off the inside of the post.
As the half wore on, Floriana’s confidence grew and José Arias went close when he pick up Carlo Zammit Lonardelli in the box only to wastefully drag his shot wide.
The second half brought more of the same from Floriana.
On 50 minutes, the Greens looked like opening up the Naxxar defence again and Edson Farias was only just ahead of the despairing Reid on Aleandro Garzia’s right wing cross.
On 53 minutes, Kitanov denied the increasingly influential Pablo Carvalho, who was brought in for Elizeu. The ball bounced into the path of Fenech who was unable to force the ball home in the ensuing goalmouth scramble.
But as Naxxar desperately sought the goal that would have forced extra time, Floriana finished with a flourish as Matheus broke on a swift counter-attack in injury time, wrong-footed the goalkeeper with a sublime dummy and knocked the ball into the net.
Holders Birkirkara survived a scare before easing past Attard 3-1 at the Centenary Stadium.
The Stripes were frustrated by the Challenge League side during the first half but managed to find the breakthrough through Maxuell Maia on 51 minutes.
However, Attard hit back and drew level with a spectacular strike from Camilo who beat Birkirkara goalkeeper Amara Sylla with a strike from his own half.
But the Stripes kept their composure and went on to seal their win courtesy of a penalty conversion from Andrea Ciolacu on 75 and an own goal by Jake Micallef in stoppage time.
Marsaxlokk scored two first-half goals on their way to a comfortable 3-0 win over Żejtun Corinthians.
Yuri Messias put the Southerners in front with a fine individual effort on 26 minutes before setting up Sunday Akinbule for the second goal ten minutes later.
Samuel Boakye added a third goal seven minutes into the second half.
Jacob Walker and Diego Dall’Oca sealed the win for Marsaxlokk late on.
Mosta eased into the next round when they brushed aside Pieta Hotspurs 5-1 at the Centenary Stadium.
Christian Nnaji put Mosta ahead on 23 minutes but the Hotspurs levelled through Hibiki Mochizuki on 32 minutes.
Precious Tenebe eased any fears for Mosta with a brace at either side of half-time before Nnaji grabbed his second and his team’s fourth on 54 minutes.
Jean Paul Farrugia came off the bench to add Mosta’s fifth goal.
Żabbar SP 1 Żebbuġ R. 2
Gambarte 43 Torres 39; Bezzina 90
Birkirkara 3 Attard 1
Maxuell 61 Camilo 67
Micallef 90 og
Marsaxlokk 5 Żejtun C. 0
Messias 26; Akinbule 36
Boakye 52; Walker 85
Msida SJ 1 Mġarr Utd 3
Mifsud Triganza 65 Schembri 10
Ebisindor 26, 90
Mosta 5 Pieta H. 1
Nnaji 23, 54 Mochizuki 32
Tenebe 38, 49
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