Floriana moved three points away from securing their Premier League status as they made an impressive comeback from two goals down to beat Qormi 4-2.
Qormi seemed heading towards a comfortable win after taking a two-goal lead despite a good start for Floriana. However after the break, the Greens, with Steve Pisani in excellent form, scored four to take home the three points.
Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA
Kris Thackray, Leighton Grech, Steve Wellman and Steve Sultana were missing for Qormi while Thomas Paris and Carl Tremarco were unavailable for Floriana.
The Greens could have taken the lead on the 3rd minute when off a Steve Pisani cross from the right, Igor Coronado’s diving header hit the crossbar with Matthew Farrugia beaten. Five minutes later, Floriana were awarded a penalty after Igor Coronado was brought down inside the area. However his effort was partially saved by Matthew Farrugia and Steve Pisani’s conclusion off the rebound was cleared off the goal line by a defender.
Qormi managed to take the lead on the 14th minute when off a cross by Moises Avila Perez, Alfred Effiong headed the ball home past goalkeeper Tony Warner.
The Yellow Blacks doubled the score on the 40th when Sacha Borg handled the ball inside the area. Referee Trustin Farrugia Cann ordered a penalty and Moises Avila Perez made no mistake from the penalty spot.
In stoppage time, Pisani and Coronado had close-range attempts blocked by Qormi defenders.
Seven minutes in the second half, Igor Coronado pulled one back for Floriana with a powerful drive from outside the area which gave goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia no chance.
On the 57th, Coronado concluded a good move with a shot from outside the area ending just wide.
Floriana levelled matters on the 64th when off a cross by Clyde Borg, Steve Pisani beat Farrugia with an angled shot from the left.
To make matters worse for Qormi, Luke Sciberras received a second yellow card on the 69th minute and was therefore sent off by referee Trustin Farrugia Cann.
The Greens took full advantage and forged ahead on the 73rd minute thanks to a rising shot by Clyde Borg, who exchanged the ball with Pisani, which beat goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia after rounding the goalkeeper.
Two minutes from time, an Igor Coronado freekick scraped past the post.
Steve Pisani sealed the issue with a fourth goal five minutes from time, beating the Qormi goalkeeper with a low shot following a good run on the right flank.
Steve Pisani was voted BOV Player of the Match.
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Roderick Sammut, Alfred Effiong, Joseph Chetcuti, Moises Avila Perez, Luke Sciberras, Matthew Gauci (77’ Matthew Bartolo), Edison Bilbao Zarate, Duncan Pisani (66’ Alessio Cassar), Jonathan Bondin, Christian Cassar (61’ Shamison Zammit).
Subs not used: Steve Baldacchino, Gilmore Azzopardi, Triston Caruana, Dylan Pirotta.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Asst. Coach: Joe Brincat
FLORIANA Tony Warner, Sacha Borg, Owen Bugeja, Gary Roberts, Kane Farrugia, Udo Nwoko (56’ Mark Spiteri), Trevor Cilia (88’ Luca Casha), Clyde Borg, Joseph Borg, Steve Pisani, Igor Coronado (90’ Isaac Galea).
Subs not used: Jonathan Debono, Brooke Farrugia, Francesco Guzman, Luke Scorfna
Coach: Iain Brunskill
Asst. Coach: Gary Howard
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Thomas Debono, Sammy Attard
Fourth official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Nwoko, Sciberras, S. Borg
Red Cards: 69’ Luke Sciberras
Scorers: 14′ Alfred Effiong (Q); 40′ Moises Avila Perez pen (Q); 52′ Igor Coronado (F); 64’ Steve Pisani (F); 73’ Clyde Borg (F); 85′ Steve Pisani (F)
Photos: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA
Meanwhile a goal by Ivan Woods enabled Sliema Wanderers to move alone in third place as they registered a narrow win over Mosta.
Apart from Henry Bonello, also missing for Sliema were Ariel Laudisi, Miguel Ciantar and Andrew Decesare. Mosta, on the other hand, lacked Steve Chiemeka.
Referee Alan Mario Sant had to stop the game on the 34th minute due to a floodlight failure. The game resumed nine minutes later.
The Wanderers had an edge over their opponents going close with attempts by Alex Muscat and Ivan Woods towards the end of the first half.
Early in the second half, Shaun Bajada concluded wide off an inviting cross by Clifford Gatt Baldacchino. A Mark Scerri header was neutralised by Jeffrey Farrugia off a cross by Ian Zammit. Alex Muscat then missed a good opportunity, when served by Mark Scerri, as he had a shot from inside the area blocked by Farrugia.
Jeffrey Farrugia performed a great save on Paltemio Barbetti on the 64th minutes, turning his shot from the edge of the area into a corner. Muchardi then released Ivan Woods on the right and the latter’s effort was deflected into a corner. From the resulting corner, Luigi Ruggiero hit wide.
The Wanderers maintained the pressure and a powerful shot by Matias Muchardi just missed the target.
Sliema finally managed to break the deadlock on 70 minutes when a close-range shot by Ian Zammit was blocked by the Mosta goalkeeper and off the rebound, Ivan Woods placed the ball at the back of the net.
Jeffrey Farrugia performed another good save on the 75th minute, turning into a corner a Luigi Ruggiero effort. On the 90th, shots by Ian Zammit and Stanley Ohawuchi were once again blocked by the Mosta goalkeeper.
In added time, Sliema were awarded a penalty after Tyrone Farrugia floored Ian Zammit inside the area. However Zammit’s effort from the penalty spot was parried by the Mosta goalkeeper.
Jeffrey Farrugia was voted BOV Player of the Match.
MOSTA Jeffrey Farrugia, Ferdinando Apap, Tyrone Farrugia, Bryan Agius (72’ Jonathan Bajada), Mano Micallef (68’ Steve Bezzina), Danail Mitev, Kurt Magro, Alex Cini, Carlos Campagnoli (83’ Ryan Grech), Fabio Vignaroli, Chikwadu Bruno Mbonu.
Subs not used: Noel Attard, Giancarlo Sammut, Kurt Zammit.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Asst. Coach: Mark Vella
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Alex Muscat, Paltemio Barbetti, John Mintoff, Mark Scerri, Ian Zammit, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Ivan Woods (86′ Beppe Muscat), Shaun Bajada (60’ Luigi Ruggiero), Matias Muchardi (69’ Stanley Ohawuchi), Stefano Bianciardi.
Subs not used: James Abela, Luca Martinelli, Alain Faccini, Josef Mifsud.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
Asst. Coach: Jojo Bajada
Goalkeepers’ Coach: Roderick Agius
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Mitchell Scerri
Fourth official: Chris Lautier
Yellow Cards: Bajada, Mbonu
Scorers: 70’ Ivan Woods