Floriana were in fine form as they extended their positive run to seven matches, defeating Balzan 3-1 at the National Stadium to move to just three points behind Balzan who are now in second place following the Paolites’ win over Mosta.
The Greens had an edge over their opponents and took a deserved lead and the dismissal of Alan da Silva Souza made thing easier for Giovanni Tedesco’s side.
Balzan had two changes from the team which defeated Pembroke as Bruno Giglio de Oliveira and Alfred Effiong replaced Steve Bezzina and Matteo Piciollo. Floriana, on the other hand, had Alex Cini and Steve Pisani replaced Andre Scicluna and the suspended Maurizio Vella.
Floriana took the lead on the 29th minute when off a Steve Pisani corner, Ignacio Varela headed the ball home past goalkeeper Janjusevic.
To make matters worse for Balzan, Alan da Silva Souza was sent off for Balzan for hitting Ryan Camenzuli.
Five minutes in the second half, Floriana doubled the score thanks to Amadou Samb whose header off a Steve Pisani corner from the right bounced onto a defender and into the net.
The Greens made it 3-0 on the 56th minute thanks to Jurgen Pisani who hit home from close range following a freekick by Steve Pisani.
Balzan reduced the gap on the 65th minute thanks to an own goal with a shot deflected by Enzo Ruiz past Justin Haber following a cross from the right.
BALZAN Ivan Janjusevic, Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, Samir Arab, Bojan Kaljevic, Elkin Serrano Valero, Clive Brincat (85′ Paul Lapira), Anderson Francisco de Barros (60′ Ryan Fenech), Abdelkarim Nafti (46′ Lydon Micallef), Alfred Effiong, Dylan Grima, Alan da Silva Souza.
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Jamie Zerafa, Terence Agius, Sean Cipriott.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
FLORIANA Justin Haber, Enrico Pepe, Enzo Ruiz, Steve Pisani, Clyde Borg, Ignacio Varela, Jurgen Pisani, Alex Cini, Amadou Samb (80′ Gustavo Amadio), Nicolas Chiesa, Ryan Camenzuli.
Subs not used: Matthew Grech, Andre Scicluna, Jake Davies, Antonio Monticelli, Mattia Zarb, Daniel Agius.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, David Castillo
Fourth Official: Eman Grech
Yellow Cards: De, Brincat, Serrano, Effiong, Grima, Varela
BOV Player of the Match: Steve Pisani
Attendance at the National Stadium: 946
Meanwhile at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Hibernians moved two points ahead of Balzan thanks to a 2-0 win over Mosta at the Victor Tedesco Stadium.
This was the sixth consecutive win for the Paolites. On the other hand, Mosta remain joint-second from bottom and have now gone eight games without a win.
Both coaches made wholesale changes from their last outings. Mosta had six changes from the team which drew with Valletta as Manuel Bartolo, Chinatu Francis Onwudinjo, Dany Djoufack, Jaroslav Repa, Kyle Frendo and Martin Vlcek replaced Emerson Vella, Lucky Oseghale and the suspended Adrian Caruana and Dexter Xuereb. Hibs coach Mark Miller made five changes from the team which defeated Sliema in their last league game as Conner Zammit, Dunstan Vella, Joseph Mbong, Kyle O’Brien and new signing Michael Shaddock replaced Rodolfo Soares, Timothy Tabone Desira, Andrew Cohen and the suspended Jackson Lima and Bjorn Kristensen.
The Paolites took the lead on the 23rd minute when they were awarded a penalty by referee Philip Farrugia after Kurt Magro handled the ball inside the area an from the penalty spot, Jurgen Degabriele converted.
Mosta were reduced to ten men on the 77th as Chinatu Francis Onwudinjo was sent off following a rough tackle on Mbong.
Six minutes later, Hibs sealed the issue with a second goal when off a Johann Bezzina freekick, Manuel Bartolo blocked his attempt but the ball reached Jonathan Pearson who scored from close range.
MOSTA Emanuel Bartolo, Zachary Brincat (88’ Nicholas Farrugia), Francis Onwudinjo Chinatu, Kurt Magro, Tristan Anthony Grant, Dany Djoufack, Jaroslav Repa, Chevaughn Mclaren (63’ Luca Martinelli), Kyle Frendo, Njongo Priso Doding, Martin Vlcek
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Neil Frendo, Emerson Vella, Luke Galea, Jurgen Grech.
Coach: Jojo Bajada
HIBS Andrew Hogg, Rodolfo Suarez, Marcelo Dias, Conner Zammit, Kylie O’Brien, (77’ Jonathan Pearson), Joseph Mbong (88’ Juan Manuel Varea), Michael Shaddock (66’ Renan Pimenta Telles), Jurgen Degabriele, Dunstan Vella, Andrei Agius, Johann Bezzina
Subs not used: Rudy Briffa, Ben Caruana, Daniel Buckle, Kieran Xuereb.
Coach: Mark Miller
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Djoufack, Magro, Bezzina O’Brien, Frendo, Bartolo, Brincat
Scorers: 23’ Jurgen Degabriele (pen), 83′ Jonathan Pearson
Red Cards: 77’ Francis Onwudinjo Chinatu
BOV Player of the Match: Jurgen Degabriele
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 688