Floriana have started their title defence with a 2-1 resilient and commanding win against Gzira right at the death at the National Stadium in Ta’ Qali.
With the Greens having played in Belfast only 48 hours before, Coach Enzo Potenza opted to rest a number of players also in lieu of the important game against FC Flora coming up on Thursday in the Europa League 3rd Qualifying.
Gzira started off well when off a Sacha Borg cross the ball met Jefferson with his header cleared off the line by Ruiz.
The Greens settled well and took the lead on the 14th minute and what a goal it was. A freekick was awarded 25 metres from goal and Enzo Ruiz stepped up to unleash an unstoppable shot in the top corner that beat Gzira goalkeeper Justin Haber to put the Green up 1-0.
However, the Maroons hit back and equalised on the 25th minute of the game when Martin Davis recovered the ball in the middle of the pitch and advanced in the area where he served to rushing Amadou Samb who put the ball past Cassar to even the proceedings.
Just before the break, Gzira almost went ahead when Jefferson pounced on a loose ball in the box but his effort well over Cassar’s goal.
Gzira started well after the restart when Steve Borg sent the ball wide from a Mendoza corner and on 57 minutes Jefferson headed wide from close range.
Coach Potenza put in Diego Venancio shortly after and the Greens started dictating proceedings from hereinafter.
On 67 minutes Flavinho went just inches wide following a cross from Venancio and on 73 minutes Flavinho went close again when his solo effort went just wide of Haber.
Nine minutes from time a Diego Venancio freekick prompted an excellent save from Haber who had to dive at full stretch to keep the ball out of his net.
Haber could do nothing however on 87 minutes when Floriana produced a counterattacking masterclass when Venancio picked out Camenzuli on the left who sped past his marker and served Flavinho with a low cross who nabbed home the winner to the delight of the Floriana bench to record a great victory and start the title defense in style.
Next up for the Greens the Europa League 3rd Qualifying Round vs FC Flora of Estonia on Thursday 24th September at the National Stadium in Ta’ Qali. Kick-off at 1900hrs.
FLORIANA FC Starting XI; Andrea Cassar, Moustapha Beye, Enzo Ruiz, Nicola Leone, Kristian Keqi (64′ Ryan Camenzuli), Jurgen Pisani, Matias Garcia, Alex Cini, Flavio Cheveresan, Jan Busuttil (90+2′ Brandon Paiber), Daniel Agius (56′ Diego Venancio).
Subs not used: Justin Spiteri, Kieron Azzopardi, Kurt Theuma, Aleandro Garzia.
Coach: Vincenzo Potenza
Goals: Ruiz 13’, Samb 22’, Flavinho 87’
BOV Man of the Match: Jackson Mendoza (Gzira).