Floriana and Birkirkara shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the National Stadium on Friday.
It was a fair result as the Greens showed great determination, especially during the second half, after the Stripes had taken the lead mid-way through the first half. This draw puts Birkirkara in joint-second place with Hibernians and Floriana on level points with Valletta in fourth place but the Paolites and the Citizens have a game in hand.
With Mislav Andjelkovic still ruled out injured, Drazen Besek maintained his faith in the same team which lost to Hibernians on Sunday. On the other hand, Floriana coach Giovanni Tedesco, on his return after serving a four-match ban, named Enzo Ruiz and Alex Cini in the starting line-up instead of Clyde Borg and Amadou Samb.
Bikirkara took the lead on the 17th minute when off a corner from the right by Srdjan Dimitrov, Vito Plut hit hard past Haber.
Thirteen minutes in the second half, Floriana had an excellent opportunity to equalise when off an inviting cross by Fontanella from the right, Ignacio Varela’s low shot was blocked by the goalkeeper and off the rebound, Jurgen Pisani’s effort hit the foot of the post before being cleared into safety.
Two minutes later, the Greens equalised thanks to a Nicolas Chiesa header off a cross from the left by Jurgen Pisani.
FLORIANA Justin Haber, Andre Scicluna (46′ Ignacio Varela), Enrico Pepe, Enzo Ruiz, Steve Pisani, Maurizio Vella (52′ Brooke Farrugia), Jurgen Pisani, Alex Cini, Nicolas Chiesa, Mario Fontanella, Ryan Camenzuli.
Subs not used: Matthew Grech, Jake Davies, Mattia Zarb, Gustavo Franca Amadio,, Daniel Agius.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
B’KARA Miroslav Korpic, Christian Bubalovic, Gareth Sciberras, Rowen Muscat (85′ Matthew Guillaumier), Srdjan Dimitrov (59′ Shaun Bajada), Vito Plut, Nikola Vukanac, Frank Temile, Joseph Zerafa, Cain Attard, Ryan Scicluna (67′ James Brincat).
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Matteo Desira Buttigieg, Predrag Jovic, Steve Bonnici.
Coach: Drazen Besek
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Sammy Attard
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Muscat, Chiesa, Pepe
BOV Player of the Match: Ryan Camenzuli