Sliema Wanderers claim IZIBET FA Trophy after winning penalty shoot-out

Sliema Wanderers crowned an impressive season as they claimed the 22nd FA Trophy in the history of the club after defeating Old Firm rivals Floriana 4-2 in the final of the IZIBET FA Trophy at the National Stadium on Sunday.

Ironically, this was the third consecutive win on penalties for Sliema, who had defeated Marsaskala 3-0, Balzan 1-0 after extra-time, Mosta on penalties and Birkirkara 1-0 after extra-time in the previous rounds, after winning the FA Trophy against Balzan in 2016 and Valletta in 2009 on penalties.

This win comes at the end of an impressive season for Paul Zammit’s side who secured a spot in the UEFA Conference League thanks to a third place finish in the BOV Premier League after winning promotion from the BOV Challenge League at the end of season 2022/23.

On the other hand, Floriana end the season on a disappointing note as the losing finalists of the FA Trophy after having to settle for the runner-up position in the BOV Premier League.

The two goalkeepers were hardly tested during the first half with the only serious attempt at goal being a Samuel Gomes freekick from the left which was parried by Floriana goalkeeper Nemanja Andrijanic three minutes from the end of the first half.

In the second half, Sliema went close with a Murilo Freire header off a corner from the left on 77 minutes. Four minutes later, Kemar Reid headed high from close range after receiving a cross from the right but on the 90th, Daniil Kondrakov concluded a good move on the left with an assist for Lydon Micallef whose shot from the right was blocked by Andrijanic.

With no goals being scored, the match went into extra-time and twelve minutes in the first half of extra-time, an angled shotby Maksim Valadzko from the left was blocked by goalkeeper Rashid Al Tumi into a corner.

However, Valadzko picked two yellow cards in just over one minute to leave his side playing in ten men for the final eleven minutes. 

Gustavo Alcino missed an incredible opportunity for Sliema when he failed to connect from close range off an assist by Neil Frendo ten minutes in the second half of extra-time. 

One minute in added time, Neil Frendo was sent off for the Wanderers following a dangerous tackle on an opponent. 

The penalty shoot-out therefore had to determine the winner.

Geoffrey Acheampong scored the first penalty for Sliema but Mattia Veselji’s effort was parried by Al Tumi. Mohamed Abdulahi Awad scored the second for the Blues with Ulises Arias scoring for Floriana. Gustavo Alcino’s attempt was blocked by Andrijanic but Sliema maintained the lead as Kemar Reid’s penalty was neutralised by Al Tumi. Lydon Micallef scored Sliema’s third and Carlo Zammit Lonardelli converted for Floriana. Finally Joseph Minala scored the decisive penalty for the Wanderers.

After the game, Malta FA President Bjorn Vassallo presented the trophy to Mark Scerri and Edmond Agius.

Attendance: 3,472

>> Floriana vs Sliema Wanderers match card

>> IZIBET FA Trophy Fixtures & Results

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