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Watch: Floriana win derby to move five points clear, push Valletta to the brink

Floriana midfielder Matia Garcia is denied by the diving Valletta goalkeeper Alessandro Guarnone. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

VALLETTA       0

FLORIANA       2

Reid 35

Grech 83

VALLETTA

A. Guarnone, J. Bolanos, E. Ruiz (46 V. Filho), F. Barrientos, S. Ferraris, S. Dimech (62 D. Garba), G. Oliveira (89 C. Gauci), J. Azzopardi, F. Falcone, B. Paiber, A. Silas (62 K. Ewurum).

FLORIANA

G. Kitanov, O. El Hasni, K. Reid (67 K. Reid), Matheus, D. Vella, O. Spiteri, M. Garcia (85 M. De Grazia), C. Zammit Lonardelli, A. Kouro, A. Garzia (74 J. Grech), L. Furtado (74 U. Arias).

Referee: Ishmael Barbara.

Yellow card: Ferraris, Garzia.

Floriana scored a goal in each half to see off neighbouring rivals Valletta and move five points clear at the top of the Premier League standings while pushing the Citizens on the brink of relegation.

It was a dominant performance from Mauro Camoranesi’s team who were on top right from the outset and never looked in danger of coming out of the stadium without the three points in their bag.

Malta forward Kemar Reid was the star of the show as the Jamaican-born was a constant thorn in the City defence and it was no surprise when he put his team ahead in the first half.

Reid was forced to leave the pitch with an injury midway through the second half but that didn’t stop the Greens from sealing the points when substitute Jake Grech grabbed a second ‘killer’ goal late on.

With this result, Floriana move on 54 points, five clear of Ħamrun Spartans, who face Birkirkara today while Valletta remained third from bottom and five points off safety, but with their direct rivals Santa Lucia and Mosta still to play this afternoon, they could find themselves in a more difficult situation with just four matches to go.

As expected Floriana completely dominated their opponents right from the outset and after

seven minutes Carlo Zammit Lonardelli fired wide.

Valletta continued to defend boldly but were still finding it tough to make inroads in the Floriana defence.

On 26 minutes, Alessandro Guarnone came to his side’s rescue when he dived to his right to push away Dunstan Vella’s shot from inside the area.

A minute later, it was Juan Bolanos who was the City hero as Kemar Reid raced through, turned past Guarnone but his effort was cleared off the line by the former Gudja United defender.

Floriana finally were rewarded for their superiority on 35 minutes when Valletta’s Silas failed to clear a long ball and Reid seized possession, turned past Enzo Ruiz and beat Guarnone with a low drive.

Three minutes later, Furtado exchanged the ball with Matheus and unleashed a powerful drive that flew over.

Just before the break, Fernando Barrientos came to Valletta’s rescue when he providentially dispossessed Reid when he was about to shoot with only Guarnone to beat.

Valletta’s first shot on target arrived on 54 minutes when Federico Falcone won the ball just outside the area but his low shot was easily blocked by Georgi Kitanov.

Floriana should have doubled their lead on 58 minutes when Reid outmuscled Bolanos and fed Matias Garcia inside the area but was denied by Guarnone. The ball fell Matheus but his shot was blocked by Goncalo Vieira.

From here, on the match turned out into a scrappy affair with Floriana happy to administer their advantage while Valletta tried without much success to try and carve out openings.

It was Floriana who went on to seal their three points when in a swift break, Matias Garcia put substitute Jake Grech through on goal and the former Balzan midfielder kept his cool to plant the ball past Guarnone to the delight of the Greens fans.

Balzan eased their relegation worries when they brushed aside Sirens 4-1 at the Centenary Stadium.

The win lifted the Reds to seventh place in the standings on 29 points, six clear of the relegation zone.

Australian striker George Blackwood took centre stage when grabbing a hat-trick.

In fact, Balzan took the lead on 39 minutes when Michibuchi put Aleksa Andreijic clear on the right. The Serbian’s low cross was met by the Japanese midfielder but his shot was deflected into the path of George Blackwood who made no mistake from close in.

Blackwood doubled Balzan’s lead on 65 minutes and Sirens’ hopes were all but ended six minutes from time when Saints midfielder Nicholas Pulis bundled the ball into his own net.

There was still time for Blackwood to complete his hat-trick three minutes from time when converting a penalty.

Sirens’ consolation goal came through Precious Owusu in stoppage time.

SIRENS             1

Owusu 90

BALZAN           4

Blackwood 36, 65, 87 pen.

Pulis 83og

SIRENS

A. Cassar, P. Owusu, H. Gomda (90 R. Cachia), N. Pulis, H. Panayioutou, H. Akadom (60 C. Agyemang), D. Borrero (88 M. Markulev), K. Donsu, K. Ntampizas, D. Agius, O. Ilic (60 K. Muscat).

BALZAN

R. Briffa, A. Prates, S. Arab, T. Caruana, J. Busuttil (76 B. Hili), R. Michibuchi (76 M. Grima), A. Katanic (6 G. Blackwood), N. Zerjal (76 H. Euigwon), N. Braunovic, O. Rommens, A. Andrejic (64 O. Awosanya).

Referee Philip Farrugia.

Yellow card: Ntampizas.

Marsaxlokk and Gżira United took a point each following a 1-1 draw.

The Maroons took the lead midway through the first half when Gabriel Bohrer put them ahead from a penalty.

Marsaxlokk levelled the score from another penalty that was won by Yuri Messias and the Brazilian made no mistake from the spot.

MARSAXLOKK 1

Messias 33 pen.

GŻIRA UNITED              1           

Bohrer 33 pen.

MARSAXLOKK

M. Calleja Cremona, Weder, K. Micallef, N. Muscat (81 R. Scicluna), J. Ghio (64 D. Dall’Oca), Y. Messias, D. Bonnici (87 F. Brener), S. Boakye (46 A. Obonogwu), L. Aguirre, N. Raden, S. Akinbule.

GŻIRA UNITED

D. Zarkov, C. Conceicao, G. Bohrer, T. Aldama, Z. Scerri, M. Dias, L. Macula, F. Zuniga, B. Borg, T. Espindola, J. Mendoza.

Referee: Fyodor Zammit.

Yellow cards: Bonnici, Micallef, Ghio, Scerri, Thaylor

Naxxar Lions moved a step closer from attaining mathematical certainty of their Premier League survival when they beat Gudja United 4-2.

The Lions roared to a three-goal lead through a brace from Pablo and another from Robinson Blandon.

Gudja tried to fight back and managed to pull two goals back through Gianluca Zammit and Mathias Mucardi.

But Pablo then added a fourth to hand Naxxar the win that lifted them eight points clear of the drop zone.

GUDJA UNITED             2

Zammit 21; Muchardi 60

NAXXAR LIONS             4

Pablo 7, 14, 90; Blandon 18

GUDJA UNITED

F. Lehtinen, S. Attard (71 G. Ime), M. Muchardi, J. Quintero, M. Conti (81 I. Salis), L. Gatt, R. Nanitelamio, Z. Grech (57 J. Cutajar), A. Friggieri, M. Esposito, G. Zammit (71 S. Nwafor).

NAXXAR LIONS

M. Debono, F. Barbosa, N. Pace Cocks, A. De Carvalho, R.G. Cassar, R. Blandon, T. Yamaguchi (88 N. Micallef), Marcilio (72 Elizeu), Maicon, Pablo, Y. Ito, J. Vitor.

Referee Glen Tonna.

Yellow card Zammit.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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