Floriana extended their positive run as they defeated St. Andrews 4-1 at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Saturday.
For St. Andrews, this was the first defeat after three positive results. However they ended the game in eight men after having two players sent off and losing another injured late in the game.
The Greens had three changes from the team which defeated Pembroke as Justin Haber, Andre Scicluna and Amadou Samb replaced Matthew Grech, Steve Pisani and the suspended Mario Fontanella. Nenad Belacevic, on the other hand, replaced the suspended Dale Camilleri for St. Andrews. With coach Danilo Doncic ruled out through suspension, leading the Saints from the bench was Nenad Veselji.
Floriana took the lead on the 4th minute thanks to Ignacio Varela whose low shot from outside the area beat goalkeeper Jake Galea.
St. Andrews equalised on the 17th minute when off a Joseph Farrugia freekick, Karlo Kesinovic’s low shot from the left beat goalkeeper Justin Haber despite Jurgen Pisani’s desperate attempt to clear the ball into safety.
Five minutes from the end of the first half, Floriana were awarded a penalty after Michael Johnson handled the ball inside the area following a cross from the right by Ryan Camenzuli; Johnson was dismissed by the referee as this was his second yellow card and from the penalty spot, Nicola Chiesa converted.
Just before half-time, Floriana extended the lead once again through Ignacio Varela whose header off an Enrico Pepe freekick beat the St. Andrews custodian.
Four minutes in the second half, it was St. Andrews’ turn to be awarded a penalty after Kyrian Nwoko was floored by Chiesa but Joseph Farrugia hit high from the penalty spot.
Floriana made it 4-1 on the 54th when off a cross by Amadou Samb from the left, Nicolas Chiesa slotted the ball past goalkeeper Jake Galea.
Eight minutes from time, the Saints were reduced to nine men as Karlo Kesinovic received two yellow cards in just six minutes.
In the final minutes, St. Andrews lost Nenad Belacevic injured and since they had already performed the three substitutions, they ended the game in eight men.
FLORIANA Justin Haber, Andre Scicluna, Enrico Pepe, Enzo Ruiz (52′ Steve Pisani), Clyde Borg, Ignacio Varela, Maurizio Vella, Jurgen Pisani, Amadou Samb (72′ Gustavo Amadio), Nicolas Chiesa (84′ Alex Cini), Ryan Camenzuli.
Subs not used: Matthew Grech, Mattia Zarb, Brooke Farrugia, Daniel Agius.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
ST. ANDREWS Jake Galea, Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre, Bong Won Che, Karlo Kesinovic, Michael Johnson, Felix Udoh Okon, Godwin Mckay (61′ Ivan Paz), Joseph Farrugia, Nenad Belacevic, Ziga Kastrevec (85′ Liam Grech), Kyrian Nwoko (78′ Ryan Darmanin).
Subs not used: Dean Sciberas, Mark Scicluna, Ryan Sammut, Jacob Walker.
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Christopher Francalanza, Christopher Azzopardi
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Vella, Johnson, Chiesa, Ruiz, Borg, Kesinovic, Belacevic
Red Cards: 40′ Michael Johnson, 82′ Karlo Kesinovic
BOV Player of the Match: Nicolas Chiesa
Meanwhile in a match at the National Stadium, Gzira United suffered a sixth consecutive defeat as they lost 0-2 to Hamrun Spartans.
The Spartans therefore returned to winning ways after losing to Valletta and Hibernians in their last two outings.
Hamrun had three changes from the team which lost to Hibernians as Luis Vergara Rodrigues, Patrick Teixeiera Maia and Massimiliano Giusti replaced Christian Maldini, Mark Anthony Borg and Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza. The Maroons, on the other hand, had Andre White and new signing Ricardo Correa replacing Clifford Gatt Baldacchino and Karl Pulo.
Following a goalless first half, the Spartans took the lead on the 58th thanks to a header by Jorge Mesqueu Neto off a cross from the left by Leandro Motta.
Hamrun doubled the score three minutes from time with a goal by Jake Grech following a counter-attack for the Spartans.
GZIRA Mauro Boerchio, Rafael Ledesma, Gianmarco Conti, Antonio de Queiroz Machedo Neto, Juan Carlos Corbalan (88′ John Nwoba), Andre White, Momodou Salieu Jallow, Jonathan Bondin (64′ Yanis Tonna), Zachary Scerri (88′ Jacob Borg), Souleymane Diamoutene, Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte.
Subs not used: Jamie Azzopardi, Brendon Micallef, Salvatore Grixti, Karl Pulo.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
HAMRUN David Cassar, Luis Miguel Vergara Rodrigues, Philip Chircop, Luke Sciberras, Jorge Mesqueu Neto (87′ Mark Anthony Borg), Massimiliano Giusti (64′ Saturday Nanapere), Luke Grech, Leandro Wallace Motta dos Santos (89′ Trevor Cilia), Jake Grech, Sergio Raphael dos Anjos Raphael, Patrick Jean Teixeira Maia.
Subs not used: Lyden Moore, Glenn Azzopardi, Daniel Debono, Daren Falzon.
Assistant Coach: Jonathan Holland
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Glen Tonna
Yellow Cards: Patrick Teixeira, Scerri, Diamoutene, Jorginho, Jallow, Nwoba, Correa
BOV Player of the Match: Jake Grech