Akpan saves three penalties as Floriana beat Birkirkara after penalty shoot-out

Floriana secured a place in the semi-finals of the FA Trophy after defeating in-form Birkirkara on penalties in the quarter-finals at the National Stadium on Sunday.

The Greens therefore join Hibernians, Valletta and First Division side Pieta’ Hotspurs in the final four.

Floriana goalkeeper Ini Etim Akpan was the hero for the Greens in the penalty shoot-out as he saved the penalties by Isaac Ntow, Yannick Yankam and Diego Capel.

Meanwhile in a quiet first half, Akpan performed a good save on a Matthew Guillaumier freekick on the 6th minute, turning the ball into a corner. 

Three minutes from the end of the first half, following a corner by Matthew Guillaumier, Oscar Carniello’s fine header was parried by Akpan.

The Stripes managed to break the deadlock on the hour thanks to a direct freekick by Claudio Bonanni which beat the Floriana custodian.

Off a cross by Jurgen Pisani from the left, Marcelo Dias hit just wide from inside the area on 66 minutes.

However, on 74 minutes, Kristian Keqi released Jurgen Pisani on the left and off the latter’s cross, substitute Augusto Rene Caseres, who had just replaced Marcelo Dias, placed the ball at the back of the net after the Birkirkara rear-guard failed to clear the ball into safety.

The game went into extra-time and two minutes in the first half, off a cross by Caio Henrique from the left, an overhead kick by Falcone was tipped into a corner by Akpan.

No goals were scored and therefore the penalty shoot-out had to decide the issue.

Kristian Keqi scored the first penalty for Floriana, Isaac Ntow’s penalty was parried by Akpan; Enzo Ruiz hit the crossbar, Matthew Guillaumier levelled matters for Birkirkara; Jan Busuttil’s penalty was neutralised by Hogg, Yannick Yankam was also saved by Akpan; Tiago Adan Fonseca scored to put Floriana 3-2 ahead while Diego Capel’s penalty was neutralised by Akpan; Terence Vella made no mistake to put Floriana in the semi-finals.

FLORIANA Ini Etim Akpan, Moustapha Beye, Enzo Ruiz, Clyde Borg (69’ Jan Busuttil), Kristian Keqi, Jurgen Pisani, Matias Nicolas Garcia, Alex Cini (120+2′ Terence Vella), Marcelo Dias (73’ Augusto Rene Caseres), Ryan Camenzuli, Tiago Adan Fonseca.

B’KARA Andrew Hogg, Enrico Pepe, Matthew Guillaumier, Paul Mbong (78’ Roderick Briffa), Yannick Yankam, Federico Falcone, Cain Attard, Claudio Bonanni (120′ Ryan Fenech), Caio Henrique Prado Rocha (109′ Diego Angel Capel Trinidad), Oscar Matias Carniello, Isaac Toah Ntow.

Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Mark Ciantar
Fourth Official: Emanuel Grech
Yellow Cards: Dias, Beye, Keqi, Vella
Attendance: 2,010