U*BET FA Trophy: Nineteen for Floriana or thirteen for Valletta?

The 73rd edition of the U*BET FA Trophy will be at stake on Sunday evening as eternal rivals Valletta and Floriana cross swords in the final at the National Stadium, kick-off at 17:00.

Besides Sliema Wanderers who won the competition twenty times, Floriana and Valletta are the other two teams who won the FA Trophy most. The Greens triumphed eighteen times and Valletta twelve times. Both teams were on the losing end in FA Trophy finals twelve times.

Valletta, winners of the U*BET FA Trophy last season after defeating Qormi 2-1, eye the Triple Crown. A hat-trick of honours after winning the BOV Super Cup by beating Birkirkara 3-2 after extra-time in August and the BOV Premier League after finishing the season unbeaten.

Winning the FA Trophy would crown an excellent season which saw the team led by Jesmond Zerafa and Nardi Farrugia maintain an impressive unbeaten run starting from the UEFA Europa League qualifiers, the Super Cup, the Premier League and the previous rounds of the FA Trophy.

Beating their rivals in the final would be an extra bonus. The two teams met seven times in FA Trophy finals with the Citizens winning three and Floriana four.

Valletta reached the final after defeating Hibernians in the quarter-finals and Tarxien Rainbows in the semi-finals. In both games, Brazilian striker Denni Rocha Dos Santos scored the all-important goal in extra-time.

Floriana reached the FA Trophy after beating two First Division sides – Lija Athletic 3-0 and Mosta 1-0 after extra-time. In the quarter-finals, the Greens beat Qormi on penalties following a 1-1 draw and finally defeated Birkirkara 2-1 last week in the semi-finals.

For Floriana, winning the trophy would mean winning their first major honour in over a decade after claiming the Super 5 Tournament in season 1997/98. They won the FA Trophy for the last time in 1994 when they defeated Valletta 2-1. Five years ago, the Greens reached the final but lost 0-1 to Hibernians. Last year, the two teams met in the final of the National League 100 Anniversary Cup with the Citizens registering a 3-1 win.

After failing to impress in their Premier League campaigns over the past few years, Floriana did very well this season, finishing second behind champions Valletta. This was the best placing for the boys in Green in sixteen years. A runner-up spot which also meant that they will be returning to European football after a long absence after facing Stabæk IF of Norway in the now-defunct Intertoto Cup in June 2000.

The last time, Floriana defeated Valletta was in August 2007 when they registered a 3-2 win. This year, Valletta beat Floriana twice – 2-0 and 3-0 – with the other two clashes ending in draws.

Valletta vs Floriana in FA Trophy finals
1947 Floriana vs Valletta 3-0
1957 Floriana vs Valletta 2-0
1960 Valletta vs Floriana 3-0
1976 Floriana vs Valletta 2-0
1977 Valletta vs Floriana 1-0
1978 Valletta vs Floriana 3-2
1994 Floriana vs Valletta 2-1

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