St. Andrews scored two goals late in the game but suffered a fifth consecutive defeat as they lost to Floriana by the odd goal in five at the National Stadium on Wednesday.
Floriana dominated during the first half but were too relaxed after the break, risking a comeback by the newly-promoted side in the final stages. This was the third consecutive win for the Greens after two wins in the first two matches.
Luis Oliveira made four changes from the team which defeated Naxxar as Matteo Piciollo, Mauricio Villa, Steve Pisani and Simeon Ezeadi replaced Monticelli, Conor Borg, Juninho and Fontanella. For St. Andrews, Wayne Attard opted to start with Kris Calleja in goal, Wade Moodley and Chris De Nguidjol with Diego Rossetto, Kyrian Nwoko and Matthew Guillaumier starting on the bench.
Floriana went close to taking the lead after just two minutes but Manuel Briffa’s long-distance shot hit the upright.
The Greens however took the lead on the 17th minute thanks to a freekick by Filippo Andrea Scozzese who gave goalkeeper Kris Calleja no chance.
Floriana doubled the score on 31 minutes when Matteo Piciollo controlled the ball inside the area, rounding two defenders before hitting in the bottom left corner behind goalkeeper Kris Calleja.
Seven minutes later, Nicolas Chiesa scored the third goal with a fine shot from the left which hit the post before ending at the back of the net.
Kyrian Nwoko pulled one back for St. Andrews on the 76th, heading the ball home following a corner.
Three minutes from time, Chris De Nguidjol reduced the gap even further after taking advantage of a defensive blunder as goalkeeper Calleja Cremona lost possession to the St. Andrews winger and hitting home from close range.
FLORIANA Matthew Calleja Cremona, Manuel Briffa, Steve Bonnici, Filippo Andrea Scozzese (72′ Juninho Cabral), Jurgen Pisani, Clyde Borg (68′ Conor Borg), Simeon Ezeadi, Steve Pisani, Nicolas Chiesa (61′ Firas Aboulezz), Mauricio Villa, Matteo Piciollo.
Subs not used: Tyrone Gauci, Neil Spiteri, Luke Micallef, Mario Fontanella.
Coach: Luis Oliveira
ST. ANDREWS Kris Calleja, Clyde Cumbo, Wade Moodley (59′ Kyrian Nwoko), Michael Johnson, Nicola Andreis, Luca Cosmai (78′ Liam Grech), Nicky Vella Petroni (46′ Matthew Guillaumier), Jordan Williams, Dale Camilleri, Joseph Farrugia, Chris De Nguidjol.
Subs not used: Diego Rossetto, Nick Ghio, Marigen Sehitaj, Matteo Desira Buttigieg.
Coach: Wayne Attard
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Cumbo, Johnson, Conor Borg, De Nguidjol
Scorers: 17′ Filippo Andrea Scozzese, 31′ Matteo Piciollo, 38′ Nicolas Chiesa, 76′ Kyrian Nwoko, 87′ Chris De Nguidjol
BOV Player of the Match: Matteo Piciollo
Meanwhile at the Hibernians Stadium, Tarxien Rainbows bounced back from the narrow defeat to neighbours Hibernians on Sunday as they found no difficulty in beating Naxxar Lions 5-0.
This was the fourth positive result in five matches for Jacques Scerri’s side while for Naxxar, this was the fifth defeat in as many matches.
Julian Azzopardi returned in goal for Naxxar while Gnenegbe was also named in the starting line-up. Tarxien, on the other hand, had three changes with Brandon Muscat, Ayrton Azzopardi and Danilo Meira Santos replacing Timmy Tabone Desira, Manuel Caruana and Luke Montebello.
The Rainbows took an early lead thanks to a goal by Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos on the 10th minute.
Nigerian striker Lucky Omeruo doubled the score on the 24th with a low shot which beat goalkeeper Julian Azzopardi.
Three minutes later, Naxxar were reduced to ten men after David Fenech was sent off for passing remarks to the referee.
One minute from half-time, Tarxien made it 3-0 with a goal by Triston Caruana.
Danilo Meira Santos increased the lead further on the 67th when he received an assist by Roderick Bajada and slotted the ball past Azzopardi.
Luke Montebello sealed the issue with a fifth goal two minutes in added time.
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Blazo Rajovic, Andrew Scicluna, Moise Zady Gnenegbe (58′ Jurgen Debono), Siddoine Oussou, Sead Hadzibulic (46′ Richard Cardozo), Ishmael Grech, David Fenech, Angus Buhagiar (58′ Ryan Gilmour Cassar), Emiliano Lattes, Armando Vieira dos Santos.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Daren Falzon, Duane Bonnici, Isaac McCarthy.
Coach: Stefano Grima
TARXIEN Andrea Cassar, Ebiabowei Baker, Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, Triston Caruana, Brandon Muscat, Danilo Meira Santos, Ayrton Azzopardi, Lucky Omeruo, Carlos Menendez Hevia (46′ Roderick Bajada), Alex da Paixao Alves (66′ Gaetano Gesualdi), Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos (68′ Luke Montebello).
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Manuel Caruana, Timothy Tabone Desira, Daniel Zerafa.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, David Castillo
Additional Assitant Referees: Clayton Pisani, Jude Amin Utulu
Fourth Official: Jurgen Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Fenech, Rajovic, Muscat, Bajada
Red Cards: 27′ David Fenech
Scorers: 10′ Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos, 24′ Lucky Omeruo, 44′ Triston Caruana, 67′ Danilo Meira Santos, 90+2′ Luke Montebello
BOV Player of the Match: Joao Pedro Oliveira Santos