Floriana and Qormi secured their Premier League status as the Greens beat Naxxar Lions 2-0 and Qormi, despite a 0-2 defeat to Vittoriosa Stars, are still sure of retaining their status as they lie two points ahead of Vittoriosa Stars and three ahead of Naxxar Lions. Since Vittoriosa and Naxxar meet in their final match next week, it is not possible for the two teams to end their commitments on the same number of points with, or leapfrog, Qormi.
At the Hibernians Stadium, Floriana scored twice early in the second half to take home the three points.
Naxxar had their fair share of scoring opportunities during the first half but once the Greens managed to take the lead, they missed a golden opportunity to equalise when they were awarded a penalty but Floriana goalkeeper Sean Mintoff neutralised Daren Falzon’s attempt. Floriana doubled the score, holding the initiative in the remaining minutes.
Both sides were unable to field their best formation as Naxxar lacked Andre Rocha da Silva and the suspended David Alejandro Reano, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro and goalkeeper Julian Azzopardi while Joseph Borg and the suspended Igor Coronado, Brooke Farrugia and Gary Muir were missing for Floriana.
The Lions appealed for a penalty on the 4th minute as Milan Vignjevic appeared to be fouled inside the area by a defender. Floriana replied with a fine curved shot by Diogo Pinheiro which ended over the bar on the 6th. On the 17th, Yuri Martines de Oliveira went close for Naxxar with a shot from just outside the area. A freekick by Diogo Pinheiro was parried by Pecorella on the half-hour.
Ten minutes in the second half, a freekick by Diogo Pinheiro was partially saved by Pecorella and off the rebound, Clyde Borg placed the ball at the back of the net. However the goal was disallowed for the latter’s offside position.
Three minutes later, the Greens were not to be denied when off a cross from the left, John Roland Emeka deflected the ball past the Naxxar goalkeeper to put them ahead.
Naxxar had the opportunity to level matters on 63 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Daren Falzon was brought down inside the area by Andre Scicluna. However Sean Mintoff neutralised Daren Falzon’s efforts, first from the penalty spot and then off the rebound.
The Greens doubled the score on 68 minutes when off an assist by Christian Caruana, Diogo Pinheiro de Sousa slotted the ball past Luke Pecorella.
NAXXAR Luke Pecorella, Raimi Bakare, Victor Bellia, Angus Buhagiar, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Andrew Decesare, Daren Falzon (82′ Duane Bonnici), Thiago Lopez de Souza, Yuri Martines de Oliveira (66′ Terence Scerri), Filip Stojanovic, Milan Vignjevic.
Subs not used: Matteo Farrugia, John Debono, Jurgen Debono, Kurt Drago, Yaron Sammut.
Coach: Winston Muscat
FLORIANA Sean Mintoff, Andre Scicluna, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Steve Pisani, John Roland Emeka (66′ Isaac Galea), Christian Caruana (88′ Jonathan Xerri), Diogo Pinheiro de Sousa, Clyde Borg, Manuel Briffa, Rodrigo Felix Aguiar, Sacha Borg.
Subs not used: Daniel Hanford, Luke Micallef, Darrell Baldacchino, Luca Casha, Matthew Bajada.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, David Castillo
Additional Assistant Referees: Fyodor Zammit, Sandro Spiteri
Fourth Official: Peter Abela
Yellow Cards: C. Caruana, S. Borg, V. Bellia, R. Bakare, A. Scicluna, S. Pisani, D. Falzon
BOV Player of the Match: Christian Caruana
Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
At the National Stadium, two goals in the final three minutes enabled Vittoriosa Stars to beat Qormi 2-0 and move one point ahead of Naxxar Lions with one game to go for the end of Premier League campaign. The Stars take on Naxxar in a decisive clash against relegation next Friday.
Vittoriosa had the first attempt at goal on the 17th minute when Samir Arab’s close-range effort was blocked by Matthew Farrugia after the Qormi rear-guard failed to clear a cross by Guerrero. On the other side of the pitch, Alfred Effiong sped past a defender on the left but his conclusion from outside the area was easily blocked by Mario Muscat. Five minutes from the end of the first half, Torri exchanged the ball with Aguiar with the latter’s attempt from outside the area ending a little bit wide past the upright.
Six minutes in the second half, Jorge Pereira released Leighton Grech on the right but his low diagonal shot ended wide. On the 63rd, Vittoriosa went close with an Oscar Guerrero freekick hitting the crossbar.
Vittoriosa forged ahead three minutes from time when off a corner by Francisco Arriagada Mella, Clive Brincat saw his attempt from close range being blocked by Matthew Farrugia and off the rebound Marcelo Perreira placed the ball at the back of the net
On the 90th, Oscar Guerrero dribbled past Jonathan Bondin and with a low shot, he managed to beat the Qormi goalkeeper.
VITTORIOSA Mario Muscat, Samir Arab (83’ Malcolm Buttigieg), Leonardo Torri (77’ Francisco Arriagada Mella), Carl Sammut (70’ Siraj Arab Eddin), Ousmane Sidibe, Jose Filipe Aguiar, Marcelo Pereira, Oscar Dario Guerrero, Clive Brincat, Luke Vella Critien, Clive Spiteri.
Subs not used: Sean Cini, Michael Camilleri, Ryan Mifsud, Mark Barbara,
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Jonathan Bondin, Alfred Effiong, Duncan Pisani, Emerson Vella (84’ Christian Terrible), Leighton Grech (68’ Lucas Cantoro), Roderick Sammut, Triston Caruana, Owen Bugeja, Raffaele Simone Quintieri, Jorge Pereira da Silva.
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Leonardo Gabrieli, Karl Sciortino, Paolo Danolo, Dylan Pirotta.
Coach: Karel Zeman
Referee: Vitalijs Spasjonnikovs (LAT)
Assistant Referees: Jevgēnijs Morozovs, Valdis Koritko (LAT)
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Quintieri, Torri
Scorers: 87’ Marcelo Pereira, 90’ Oscar Dario Guerrero
BOV Player of the Match: Oscar Guerrero