Greens leave Melita with sinking feeling
J. Borg 30; Coronado 82;
Floriana are home and dry.
Uplifted by their come-from-behind 4-2 win over Qormi which all but banished their relegation worries, if they had any, Floriana accomplished their survival mission yesterday with plenty to spare after a straightforward 2-0 win over bottom side Melita.
With Melita desperate for a win to resurrect their flailing hopes of avoiding the drop, Floriana will have braced themselves for a tough outing but their win never looked in doubt once Joseph Borg put them ahead on the half-hour mark.
A second goal, eight minutes from time, by the reliable Igor Coronado, revitalised after the break, sealed Floriana’s fourth win on the trot, one that further underlines the team’s progress since the arrival of coach Iain Brunskill.
At Brunskill’s unveiling in late January, club president Steve Vaughan set the new coach the target of finishing top of the Relegation Pool and the former Liverpool youth coach is on course to reach that objective as yesterday’s win consolidated Floriana’s position as the leading team in the bottom cohort.
While Floriana are finally enjoying some tranquility after a difficult season, not so can be said of Melita whose hopes of averting relegation suffered another hammer blow.
No-one can accuse the Amateurs of lacking effort and endeavour but their limitations have left them with a mountain to climb.
Brunskill made one change in his initial formation from the Qormi win as Carl Tremarco was preferred to Udo Nwoko.
The tactical approach was the same, 4-2-3-1, but Tremarco’s return paved the way for Trevor Cilia to be restored a more familiar role on the right wing. Steve Pisani and Coronado filled the other two attacking roles.
Melita coach Patxi Salinas was beset by the absence of Manuel Ramon Sierra Camacho, suspended, and injured duo Luke Sammut and Michael Martin.
Salinas set his team out in a 4-3-3 formation with Spanish striker Diego Cabanillas the central figure in attack and Julian Galea and Nigel Rizzo supporting from the wings.
The first chance came Floriana’s way after six minutes. Pisani released Cilia whose shot on the turn from inside the penalty area flashed against the side-netting.
On 14 minutes, Rizzo swivelled outside the box before producing a dipping shot that sailed just over the bar but, for much of the opening 25 minutes, the match offered little in the way of creative football.
The hard-working Melita players repelled Floriana’s early pressure but were being overrun in midfield and found it hard to make an impact up front.
Melita’s resistance was breached on the half-hour when Sacha Borg delivered an inviting cross from the left and Joseph Borg leapt to direct a glancing header that hit the underside of the crossbar before dropping into the net.
A goal to the good, Floriana sauntered through the remainder of the opening half without stretching Melita beyond routine work.
Nwoko, who came on for Cilia at the start of the second half, drove wide and, seven minutes after the restart, Pisani’s tame shot was blocked by Philip Schranz, the Melita goalkeeper.
Salinas tried to add widen the spectrum of Melita’s attack by putting in a winger, Alan Borg Olivier, for Andrew Caruana Scicluna.
For Melita to pose more of a threat to the erstwhile untested Tony Warner, the likes of Galea, Cabanillas and Rizzo needed to get more involved in the build-up.
Two minutes past the hour, Coronado, a subdued figure in the first half, made a good run through the middle before passing to Kane Farrugia whose long-range grounder was stopped by Schranz.
Coronado was prominent again when cutting in from the right before hitting a low shot that was fumbled by Schranz before the Melita defence cleared.
Eight minutes from time, Coronado wrapped up the points for Floriana as the Brazilian surged into the box before finishing with aplomb.
In stoppage time, Floriana came close to a third goal when Coronado served Pisani whose angled strike was saved by Schranz.
T. Warner-6, C. Tremarco-6, O. Bugeja-6, G. Roberts-7, K. Farrugia-6.5, S. Borg-6.5 (82 M. Spiteri), J. Borg-6.5 (69 B. Farrugia-6), C. Borg-7, T. Cilia-5.5 (46 U. Nwoko-5.5), S. Pisani-7, I. Coronado-7.
P. Schranz-4, M. Borg-4, L. Bianco-4, I. Tufegdzic-5, R. Alhinho-5, G. Gribbon-6.5, N. Rizzo-5 (73 K. Vella Petroni), J.P. Attard-4 (65 L. Micallef-4), A. Caruana Scicluna-4 (54 A. Borg Olivier-4), J. Galea-5, D. Cabannilas-4.
Referee: Mario Apap.
Yellow cards: J. Borg; S. Borg; Rizzo.
BOV player of the match: Igor Coronado (Floriana).