Floriana seal issue with two early goals
Two early goals set Floriana on the way to a comfortable victory over newly-promoted side Mqabba in today's second game at the Hibs Stadium.
Floriana took the lead inside the opening two minutes. Chris Cassar's cross from a right-wing corner was headed goalwards by Tyrone Farrugia whose effort was partially cleared by the Mqabba defence. The ball landed at the feet of the unmarked Christian Caruana who fird home from close in.
Pierre Grima was wide with a bold free-kick as Mqabba tried to recover from that early setback. On 11 minutes, the newly-promoted team threatened an equaliser when David Azzopardi struck a menacing grounder from just outside the area but Manuel Bartolo, the Floriana goalkeeper, pushed the ball away for a corner.
The Greens moved two goals up on 19 minutes. Once again, the danger came from a Cassar delivery only that this time his curling free-kick from the inside-left channel stunned Mqabba goalkeeper Kris Calleja who fumbled the Floriana midfielder's effort.
Mqabba were now facing an uphill struggle. They could have gained a lifeline on 25 minutes when James Paris, one of their better players in the first half, cleverly picked out Azzopardi but the latter's drive was beaten away by Bartolo.
Yet, Floriana threatened to score every time they put pressure on Mqabba's defence. Caruana squeezed his way past two Mqabba defenders but his central shot was blocked by Calleja.
Seconds later, John Mintoff hit wide from a favourable position after the on-loan Sliema winger had profited from another bad clearance by the erratic Mqabba defenders.
Woods could have made it 3-0 but his rising effort from inside the box flew over the bar.
When Mintoff nudged the ball away from the on-rushing Kris Calleja just outside the Mqabba box, a third goal for Floriana looked inevitable but the young winger mishit his shot. Calleja atoned for his mistake as he produced a good save to beat away Woods's first-time shot after good work by Mano Micallef.
A cross from Clayton Micallef, a second-half substitute for Mark Anthony Psaila, became an insidious shot but Bartolo managed to tip the ball over the bar.
Mqabba increased their efforts in search of a goal that would have reopened the issue. Mauro Bonnici headed just wide from Grima's cross and Thiago Mazitelli was denied by Bartolo.