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Coronado treble floors Spartans

Igor Coronado (right) scoring Floriana’s second goal yesterday. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Igor Coronado (right) scoring Floriana’s second goal yesterday. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Floriana 3
Coronado 43, 90, 90+2;
Ħamrun Spartans 0

Floriana pulled further clear of the drop zone after easing past struggling Ħamrun Spartans.

Igor Coronado was again the best performer for the winners as the Brazilian maintained his rich scoring form. After hitting a brace in the comeback win over Rabat last week, Coronado went one better yesterday with a hat-trick for Floriana’s second successive win in the Relegation Pool.

Yet, it was far from a polished display from the Greens, albeit the final scoreline might suggest otherwise.

Floriana dominated proceedings at first but the Spartans came back strongly after the interval and could have easily drawn level. But the Greens somewhat survived before scoring two late goals for a victory that all but secured their top-flight status.

Floriana coach Iain Brunskill made two changes from the team that beat Rabat last week as Steve Pisani, out with a one-match ban, was replaced by Mark Spiteri while Kane Farrugia was restored to the starting formation at the expense of Clyde Borg.

The Spartans had defender Adrian Borg serving a two-match ban while Terence Vella started on the bench after picking up a knock in the 2-0 defeat to Qormi.

Daniel Zerafa partnered Massimo Grima in midfield while Ryan Spiteri was back in the right-midfield slot as David Camilleri started at right-back.

Floriana showed the better ideas at first. On 14 minutes, Reds goalkeeper Anthony Curmi showed excellent reflexes to tip over Trevor Cilia’s rising shot.

The Floriana winger again tested Curmi with a cross-shot which the keeper pushed over the bar. From the corner, taken by Cilia, Carl Tremarco was first to the ball but his header was tipped away by the Spartans no.1.

The Reds were clearly on the ropes and on 23 minutes they suffered a blow when Loic Lumbilla limped out injured. He was replaced by Vella.

Ħamrun’s first attempt at goal arrived on 25 minutes when Spiteri picked out Grima on the edge of the area and his volley was blocked by Tony Warner, the Floriana goalkeeper.

Two minutes later, the Greens were awarded a free-kick from a central position and Gary Roberts’s fierce drive flew just over.

Floriana continued to push forward but had to wait until the 43rd minute to forge ahead.

Tremarco created space for himself on the right before sending a teasing cross towards Coronado who headed into the net.

The Spartans came close in first-half stoppage time when Grima directed a through-ball towards Spiteri who was anticipated by the onrushing Warner.

On the restart, the Spartans stepped up their efforts.

On 50 minutes, Grima freed Spiteri who burst clear but was blocked by Warner.

The ball fell into the path of Vella whose shot was pushed away by the Floriana goalkeeper, sparking Spartans’ protests that Warner had touched the ball outside the penalty area but referee Fyodor Zammit was unmoved.

The Spartans were struggling to break down Floriana’s defence and on 65 minutes coach Stefan Sultana withdrew the tiring Camilleri and roped in Luke Grech.

Three minutes later, Spiteri showed great vision to serve the advancing Vella who did well to control the ball but his shot on the turn finished just over.

The Spartans stayed on the attack. Spiteri hit a firm volley from the edge of the area but Warner was alert to block his effort.

Six minutes from time, Emiliano Lattes burst clear on the left before sending a low cross towards Rodney Refalo but the Ħamrun substitute was denied by a providential tackle from Owen Bugeja.

The Greens should have doubled their lead two minutes from time when Coronado released Cilia but he was denied by Curmi.

Floriana almost paid dearly for that miss as, on 89 minutes, Vella picked out Refalo who nodded the ball towards Zerafa but the Ħamrun midfielder was denied by Warner who palmed the ball away.

Coronado struck the coup de grace in time added-on when he sped past Guga and Azzopardi before rifling the ball past Curmi.

The Spartans were still coming to terms with that setback when Coronado completed his hat-trick.

Served by Cilia, the Brazilian chipped the ball over Curmi to round up the score at 3-0.

Floriana
T. Warner-6.5, C. Tremarco-6.5, G. Roberts-7, O. Bugeja-6.5, K. Farrugia-6, T. Cilia-6.5, M. Spiteri-5.5, B. Farrugia-6, T. Paris-6.5 (45 S. Borg-6), U. Nwoko-5,I. Coronado-8.

Ħamrun Spartans
A. Curmi-6, G. Azzopardi-5.5, R. Fenech-6.5, B. Guga-6, D. Camilleri-5.5 (65 L. Grech-6), M. Grima-6, G. Favero-6 (73 R. Refalo), D. Zerafa-6, R. Spiteri-6.5, L. Lumbilla (23 T. Vella-6), E. Lattes-5.

Referee: Fyodor Zammit.

Yellow cards: Zerafa; Azzopardi; Tre-marco; Vella; Coronado.

BOV player of the match: Igor Coronado (Floriana).

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