Gzira United moved once again three points clear of Mosta and Pembroke Athleta as they staged a brilliant second half comeback to beat Floriana 4-3 at the National Stadium.
For the Greens, this was a highly disappointing result following the 1-3 defeat to Sliema Wanderers last week. A second consecutive defeat which leaves them four points behind rivals Valletta who lie in third place.
Gzira had two changes from the team which lost to Hibernians as Jurgen Borg and Antonio de Queiroz Machedo Neto replaced Mauro Boerchio and Gianmarco Conti. Floriana lacked the suspended Enzo Ruiz. New signing Sebastian Nayar was named in the starting line-up along with Antonio Monticelli, Jurgen Pisani and Amadou Samb. These replaced Ruiz, Clyde Borg, Steve Pisani and Maurizio Vella from the team which lost to Sliema.
Floriana managed to take the lead three minutes from the end of the first half when off an assist from the right by Amadou Samb, Ignacio Varela slotted the ball past goalkeeper Jurgen Borg.
Two minutes in the second half, Gzira leveled matters when off a cross by Ian Azzopardi from the left, Louis Rene Zome served Ige Abdullahi Adeshina who slotted past Haber.
The Maroons forged ahead three minutes later thanks to a direct free kick by Ian Azzopardi which gave goalkeeper Justin Haber no chance.
Gzira added another on the 57th thanks to Juan Carlos Corbalan who concluded a solo effort on the right with a diagonal shot which beat the Floriana custodian.
Louis Rene Zome added another goal on the 69th minute when his powerful drive from the left hit the upright, the ball bounced onto Haber and into the net.
Floriana reduced the gap on the 79th minute thanks to Ryan Camenzuli who lobbed the ball over Borg from outside the area following a short clearance off a Steve Pisani free kick.
Mario Fontanella scored a third goal for Floriana on the 90th minute when his penalty, after being brought down by the goalkeeper inside the area, was partially saved by goalkeeper Jurgen Borg but hit home off the rebound.
GZIRA Jurgen Borg, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Ian Azzopardi, Souleymane Diamoutene, Jonathan Bondin (64′ Jacob Borg), Juan Carlos Corbolan, Moises Avila Perez, Louis Rene Zome, Zachary Scerri, Antonio De Queiroz Machedo Neto (90′ Emerson Amaira), Ige Abdullahi Adeshina (90′ Andrè White).
Subs not used: JeanPierre Vella, Miguel Balzan, Karl Pulo, Salvatore Grixti.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
FLORIANA Justin Haber, Antonio Monticelli, Enrico Pepe, Ignacio Varela, Sebastian Nayar (61′ Steve Pisani), Jurgen Pisani, Alex Cini, Amadou Samb (90′ Mattia Zarb), Nicolas Chiesa (70′ Clyde Borg), Mario Fontanella, Ryan Camenzuli.
Subs not used: Matthew Grech, Andre Scicluna, Jake Davies, Conor Borg.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
Referee: Matthew Degabriele
Assistant Referees Jurgen Spiteri, Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Etienne Mangion
Yellow Cards: Corbalan, Tony, Varela, Cini, Monticelli
Scorers: 42′ Ignacio Varela, 47′ Ige Abdullahi Adeshina, 50′ Ian Azzopardi, 57′ Juan Carlos Corbalan, 69′ Louis Rene Zome, 79′ Ryan Camenzuli, 90′ Mario Fontanella
BOV Player of the Match: Louis Rene Zome