Mario Fontanella scored twice as Floriana defeated Birkirkara 2-1 at the National Stadium on Saturday.
A win which puts Floriana in third place, one point ahead of Valletta and two ahead of Birkirkara. The Citizens however have a game in hand.
With Clyde Borg ruled out through suspension, Floriana coach Giovanni Tedesco named Ryan Camenzuli in the starting line-up. On the other hand, Birkirkara had no changes from the team which defeated Gzira.
The Greens took the lead on the 3rd minute when off an assist by Ryan Camenzuli from the left, Mario Fontanella was left unmarked to tap the ball home from close range.
Floriana doubled the score on the 57th minutes. Steve Pisani sent Mario Fontanella through and the Italian striker advanced on the left, beating a defender on the run and rounding the goalkeeper before placing the ball at the back of the net.
One minute in added time, Birkirkara scored a consolation goal thanks to Vito Plut who slotted the ball past the Floriana custodian from close range.
B’KARA Henry Bonello, Edward Herrera (60′ Ryan Scicluna), Christian Bubalovic (59′ Predrag Jovic), Gareth Sciberras, Mislav Andjelkovic, Srdjan Dimitrov, Vito Plut, Nikola Vukanac, Joseph Zerafa, Miguel Angel Alba, Cain Attard.
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Matthew Guillaumier, Edmond Agius, Matteo Desira Buttigieg, James Brincat.
Coach: Nikola Jaros
FLORIANA Justin Haber, Enrico Pepe Enzo Ruiz, Steve Pisani, Ignacio Varela, Sebastian Nayar (60′ Antonio Monticelli), Maurizio Vella, Jurgen Pisani, Alex Cini, Mario Fontanella, Ryan Camenzuli.
Subs not used: Matthew Grech, Conor Borg, Mattia Zarb, Darrell Baldacchino, Jamie Delia, Denilson Borg Castaldi.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Ruiz, Bubalovic, Cini, Varela, Zerafa
BOV Player of the Match: Mario Fontanella
Attendance at the National Stadium: 1,442
Meanwhile at the Hibernians Stadium, Gzira United came from behind to beat St. Andrews 3-2 to move back in tenth place despite Pembroke Athleta’s win over Mosta.
This was the second win in three matches for the Maroons while for St. Andrews, this was the third defeat in four matches.
Gzira had three changes from the team which lost narrowly to Birkirkara as Jacob Borg, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino and Gianmarco Conti replaced Andre White, Carlos Reyna and the suspended Souleymane Diamoutene. On the other hand, St. Andrews welcomed back Joseph Farrugia and had Godwin Mckay also making it to the starting line-up. They replaced Dale Camilleri and Karlo Kesinovic.
St. Andrews went close to taking the lead on the 6th minute with a cross shot by Joseph Farrugia which bounced in front of the goalkeeper who punched the ball onto the posts and into a corner.
However on the 13th minute, they were not to be denied as following shots by Enmy Pena Beltre and Ziga Kastrevec, the ball reached Aidan Friggieri who slotted the ball past Jurgen Borg from close range.
Gzira however levelled matters two minutes in added time when off a cross by Andrew Cohen, Louis Rene Zome flicked the ball home past Jake Galea.
St. Andrews regained the lead five minutes in the second half thanks to an Ivan Paz penalty after referee Philip Farrugia ordered a penalty when Clifford Gatt Baldacchino handled the ball inside the area.
The score was once again draw on the 61st minute as Michael Johnson handled the ball inside the area and from the penalty spot, Andrew Cohen sent the goalkeeper in the wrong direction to make it 2-2
Five minutes from time, Gzira notched the winner as Juan Carlos Corbalan beat the Saints custodian with a powerful shot following a cross from the right.
GZIRA Jurgen Borg, Jacob Borg, Ian Azzopardi, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Andrew Cohen (90+2’ Emerson Amaira), Juan Carlos Corbalan (88’ Zachary Scerri), Moises Avila Perez, Louis Rene Zome, Gianmarco Conti, Antonio de Queiroz Machedo Neto, Ige Abdullahi Adeshina (60’ Carlos Reyna).
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Dyson Falzon, Karl Pulo, Andre White.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
ST. ANDREWS Jake Galea, Enmy Pena Beltre, Felix Udoh, Bong Won Che, Michael Johnson, Nenad Belacevic, Joseph Farrugia, Godwin Mckay (87’ Jacob Walker), Ziga Kastrevec, Ivan Paz, Aidan Friggieri (79’ Kyrian Nwoko).
Subs not used: Dean Sciberras, Liam Grech, Mark Scicluna, Ryan Darmanin, Daniel Brandle.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Peter Abela
Fourth Official: Eman Grech
Yellow Cards: Okon, Gatt Baldacchino, Belacevic, Zome
Scorers: 13’ Aiden Friggieri, 45+2’ Louis Rene Zome, 50’ Ivan Paz, 61’ Andrew Cohen pen, 85’ Juan Carlos Corbalan
BOV Player of the Match: Ivan Paz
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 272
Renato Vella reporting from the Hibernians Stadium