Matchday 03: Valletta 0 Floriana 3
Floriana secured their first victory of the season in spectacular fashion after beating rivals Valletta 3-0.
The Greens were rewarded for their impressive performance, dominating their opponents for the majority of the game with a goal in each half to top their display.
Valletta, on their part, were a shadow of the team that defeated Ħamrun Spartans and Balzan in their opening two games as they could not match Floriana in any aspect of the game.
Floriana created the better chances in the first half and they managed to take a well-deserved lead at half-time.
On the 16th minute, the Greens missed a flurry of quick chances through Jose Arias and Augusto Caseres with Valletta’s goalkeeper Alessandro Guarnone denying both of them.
Kristian Keqi came close to putting the Greens one goal ahead when he darted into the box but his close-range effort was blocked by Valletta’s goalkeeper.
Moments later, Ivan Curjuric almost put the ball into his own net when he diverted a Floriana freekick onto the crossbar before it rolled out for a corner.
Guarnone came to Valletta’s rescue again when in the 36th minute, Caseres headed a free-kick towards goal just to be denied by the Italian goalkeeper.
Valletta’s only chance of the game dropped to the feet of Mario Fontanella who fired wide from a tight angle as the Greens managed to make their pressure count on the 38th minute.
Malta U-21 fullback Adam Magri Overend whipped in a cross into the box to which Arias connected as he lobbed the ball over Guarnone to break the deadlock.
In the second half, Valletta were looking to up their ante with Curjuric trying his luck from the edge of the area but Georgi Kitanov diverted his effort into a corner.
From the resultant free-kick, Christian Gauci headed the ball over the bar.
Past the hour mark, Floriana coach Gianluca Atzori handed a debut to Mattia Veselji who almost left an immediate impact as he threatened Guarnone with an effort from right inside the box.
Twenty minutes from time, substitute Brandon Paiber hit a strike towards goal but Valletta’s Guarnone denied him to keep the Citizens in the game.
Shaun Dimech squandered a chance to level terms when he saw his close-range header sail over the bar.
Nonetheless, Floriana remained the better team on the field with Veselji coming close to double the score just to see Guarnone block his header.
Adding more woes to Valletta was Gauci’s red card, minutes after he was shown a yellow card. From the resultant set-piece, Paiber’s shot was initially blocked before the Maltese international fired the rebound towards the far corner with Guarnone producing a wonderful save to divert it into another corner.
For Valletta, it was Fontanella who threatened again but his effort was blocked by Kitanov of Floriana.
Valletta coach Mendes was forced to replace goalkeeper Guarnone with Yenz Cini after the Italian looked to have suffered a muscle injury late in the game.
Floriana made sure of the win when Daniel Agius, with his first touch of the game, fired into the far corner from a tight angle before Ryan Camenzuli wrapped up the victory with their third goal after darting into the box before firing past Cini.
Source: Times of Malta
Photo credits: Domenic Aquilina
VALLETTA: A. Guarnone (82 Y. Cini); R. Camilleri (68 S. Dimech), T. Caruana (82 K. Tulimieri), J. Arthur, C. Gauci, E. Pena Beltre, J. Zerafa (46 M. Sansone), I. Curjuric; C. Prado, M. Fontanella; L. Campos (68 E. Sala).
FLORIANA: G. Kitanov; A. Magri Overend (86 A. Garzia), C. Rutjens, Z. Cassar, A. Caseres (86 D. Agius), K. Keqi (63 M. Veselji), J. Arias (67 B. Paiber), M. Garcia, E. Callegari, J. Busuttil, R. Camenzuli.
Scorers: 38′ Arias, 88′ D. Agius, 90′ R. Camenzuli
Referee: M. De Gabriele
Yellow Cards: C. Rutjens, A. Garcia, M. Veselji (F), J. Zerafa, C. Gauci (V)
Man of the Match: A. Guarnone (V)