Determined Greens spoil Valletta's unbeaten start

Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina

Photo: Mark Zammit Cordina


Floriana gained a much-needed boost after beating champions Valletta 2-0 in the first derby of the 2016/17 season.

Although Valletta saw more of the ball, Floriana deserved their win as they were the most determined and hard-working team, defending well and breaking forward on the counter.

The win was Floriana's first after successive defeats to Balzan and Tarxien Rainbows while Valletta suffered their first lost of the season.

The first half was tight with Valletta enjoying more possession early only for Floriana to come more into the picture as the game progressed.

On 26 minutes, Valletta midfielder Llywelyn Cremona guided the ball to the sprinting Ryan Camilleri on the right wing but the latter elected to shoot instead of running into the box. His long-range effort was off target.

It was Floriana who struck two minutes past the half-hour.

Valletta failed to clear a diagonal pass by Alex Cini and Samb profited to fire a powerful shot that beat Henry Bonello at his near post.

The Greens were dangerous every time they pushed forward..

Five minutes from half-time, Samb held off Steve Borg before cutting the ball back to Steve Pisani whose close-range strike was pushed away by Bonello.

Valletta should have equalised on the stroke of half-time when Umeh Uchenna's pass found Jhonnattann inside the box but the Brazilian shot wide.

Paul Zammit, the Valletta coach, introduced Romeu Romao for Camilleri at the start of the second half.

The champions threatened when Malano rode a tackle in midfield before serving Jhonnattann who ran into the box but Jurgen Pisani cut back to dispossess the Brazilian.

Valletta upped their tempo, Jhonnattann hitting marginally wide from an angle.

The hitherto off-colour Falcone had a great chance to get his team back on level terms but headed over from Aguirre's raking cross.

Justin Haber, the Floriana goalkeeper, then saved a free-kick from Jhonnattann but, in their next attack, Floriana mnade it 2-0.

Valletta's offside ploy appeared to fail as Steve Pisani's cross from the right sailed towards the unmarked Mario Fontanella whose first-time volley beat Bonello hands down.

Zammit sent on another forward, Michael Mifsud, for Cremona.

With 17 minutes left, Falcone's strong drive, from the distance, was deflected away for a corner.

Haber dropped Jhonnattann's stinging free-kick from the distance with the loose ball falling to Mifsud who was offside.

Valletta pushed forward but Floriana had Brooke Farrugia, who had just come for Steve Pisani, had two efforts stopped by Bonello.

Three minutes from time, Valletta came close to narrowing the deficit when Jhonnattann's free-kick was partially cleared with the ball landing at the feet of Mifsud but his strike was cleared away by the Floriana defenders.

In stoppage time, Valletta wing-back Aguirre was sent off for retaliation.

Samb, the Floriana winger, was voted best player.


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