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Floriana’s late comeback shocks Tarxien

Photo: Jason Borg

Photo: Jason Borg

Tarxien R 1 Floriana 1

A victory would have lifted Tarxien in second place jointly with Birkirkara and Valletta, such is the congested nature of the standings this season but after the break, Tarxien committed the unforgettable mistake to sit back and absorb pressure from opponents and had to content with the share of spoils and the fourth place alongside Mosta.

Floriana took 12 minutes to fashion their first chance. Cilia veered from the right before slipping a perfect pass from Coronado heading for a one-on-one with David Cassar but the Tarxien goalkeeper did well to anticipate the Floriana midfielder.

The first 35 minutes passed with Tarxien having failed to muster a single chance. Then, Daniel Mariano Bueno released Danilo whose diagonal strike finished just off the foot of the far post. Moments later, Andrezinho tried to unbalance the goalkeeper by slotting a shot between his legs but the ball got stuck under Tony Warner’s body.

Tarxien continued to produce the better football. Five minutes from half-time, Danilo latched to an Andrezinho’s free-kick and flicked the ball home.

The one-way pattern persisted after the break as Tarxien remained dominant. Close to the hour mark, Andrezinho’s free-kick from the right flank, was deflected into the path of Bueno who rose at the far post to head the ball, it dropped to Bonnici who unleashed a first-time volley that was blocked by Warner.

Floriana did not defend en masse but the Greens’ subdued showing was certainly a cause of concern for Azzopardi as he tried to address his side's impotence up front by introducing Carl Tremarco for Alhinho and being short in attacking options, deployed Tyrone Farrugia as a makeshift striker.

Yet it was the British defender, who soon made an impact when he fired in a trademark long throw-in in the 80th minute. His throw caused just enough chaos in the penalty area for Bugeja to head home from close-range.

As the game drew to a close, the Rainbows upped their pressure in search of a late winner. Mizzi instructed Anonam to move upfield to improve the support for the nippy Danilo.

And in the 87th minute, Warner tipped away the Nigerian-born defender’s dipping effort from the left. Few moments later, at the end of a prolonged raid, Grioli blazed over after Andrezinho’s close-range header was pushed away by the veteran goalkeeper.

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