Matchday 04: Valletta 0 Floriana 1
A late goal from Kemar Reid handed bragging rights to Floriana FC as the Greens edged neighbours Valletta 1-0 at the National Stadium.
The first derby between these two neighbouring rivals left much to be desired as scoring chances were few and far between and a stalemate looked the most natural result.
But Floriana managed to turn the match in their favour with a well-taken strike from Reid that earned them their second win of the season.
Floriana were off to a fast start and after only 23 seconds Adam Magri Overend raced past two Valletta defenders before hitting a firm drive that was pushed away by Alessandro Guarnone.
Valletta responded on 15 minutes when Kylian Bevis stole the ball from Emiliano Callegari but his volley finished just over.
Chances remained few and far between and on 28 minutes Enmy Pena Beltre thought he won a penalty when he fell under the challenge of Oualid El Hasni but referee Trustin Farrugia Cann waved off his claims and booked him for simulation.
Both teams looked more concerned on keeping a good defensive set-up than pushing men forward as the match fell into a lull of goal-mouth action.
Mattia Veselji tried his luck from the distance but Guarnone was alert to block.
On the restart, Valletta started to push more men forward with Floriana struggling to come out of their own half.
Floriana coach Gianluca Atzori tried to reshuffle his pack when he roped in Andrea Ciolacu, Aleandro Garcia and James Scicluna as he looked to inject more energy into his team.
On the other hand, Flavio Cheveresan replaced Jean Marie Ngong.
But despite these changes neither side managed to create any sort of scoring opportunity.
Fourteen minutes from time, Bevis charged inside the Floriana area but he fired the ball well over.
Floriana finally threatened ten minutes from time when Guarnone showed great reflexes to push over Scicluna’s shot.
At the other end, the Valletta fans shouted ‘penalty’ when Cheveresan raced clear and fell under the challenge of Rutjens but the referee waved play on.
When it looked as though the match would end in a draw, Floriana struck.
Ciolacu lobbed the ball into the path of the sprinting Reid who sped inside the area and slotted the ball past Guarnone.
Source: Times of Malta, Photo credits: Domenic Aquilina
VALLETTA: A. Guarnone, E. Ruiz, J. Borg, T. Caruana(79 L. Cremona), S. Dimech, C. Gauci (87 A. Zammit), E. Pena Beltre, K. Bradley, J.M. Nong (67 F. Cheveresan), E. Sala, K. Bevis.
FLORIANA: G. Kitanov, A. Magri Overend, C. Rutjens, O. El Hasni (82 E. Hershkovich), M. Veselji (51 A. Garcia-6), K. Reid (89 O. Spiteri), F. Juarez, M. Garcia, C. Zammit Lonardelli (51 J. Scicluna-6), L. Trillo (51 A. Ciolacu-6.5), E. Callegari.
Referee: T. Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: E. Pena Beltre, C. Gauci, T. Caruana, E. Sala (V), F. Juarez (F).
Scorers: K. Reied (F).
Man of the Match: A. Magri Overenc (F).