2020 finished in the worst possible way for the Greens as after going up one goal, were played off the pitch by a rampant Birkirkara side who put five goals past the Greens.
This is now the fourth defeat in the last five matches and this now puts the Greens twelve points behind the leaders albeit with a match in hand.
Coach Potenza made three changes from the previous outing as Moustapha Beye, Flavio Cheveresan and Brandon Paiber replaced Nicola Leone, Jan Busuttil and the injured Ryan Camenzuli respectively.
The first effort came from B’Kara when Luke Montebello put his curling shot just wide after five minutes.
The Greens got more into the game and took the lead on 12 minutes when following a fine move, Uli Arias crossed from the left and Flavio Cheveresan rose above the defense to put the ball past the B’Kara custodian.
The Greens were now holding the initiative and pressed forward to double the advantage but against the run of play B’Kara drew on 33 minutes when from a low cross from the right, the defence was unable to clear and Mbong was on the end of the cross to slot the ball in.
Three minutes later the Stripes struck again and it was a beauty of a goal when Da Paixao after receiving just outside the area let go a screamer in the top left corner which gave no chance to Akpan.
Just before half time the Greens went close as Paiber’s corner was block by Guarnone and Garcia’s rebound effort was blocked by a defender.
The Greens entered the second half more determined and four minutes in, Arias served Pisani whose shot ended just wide and four minutes later a Keqi tried his luck but his shot was saved by the B’Kara goalkeeper.
With the Greens pushing forward they were exposed on 72 minutes as from a counterattack Pisani upended Da Paixao giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot, which penalty was duly converted by Da Paixao.
This looked to rattle the Greens and three minutes later the defence was all over the place as Da Paixao sent Montebello through who scored to make it four for B’Kara. The Greens tried to muster a response and seven minutes from time Ruiz put the ball past the B’Kara goalkeeper with a fine volley following a corner.
The game was truly over at the stroke of 90 minutes when Caio and Da Paixao combined with the latter serving Montebello to make it a personal double and five for his team.
It was a disappointing end to what has been a historic season and the Greens have a lot of work to do if they want to rediscover the form that last year enabled them to win the championship.
Man of the Match as chosen by journalists was Birkirkara’s Alex da Paixao Alves.
FLORIANA FC Starting XI; Ini Akpan, Moustapha Beye, Enzo Ruiz, Kristian Keqi (63′ Jan Busuttil), Uli Arias, Brandon Paiber (84′ Siraj Arab), Jurgen Pisani, Matias Garcia, Alex Cini, Flavio Cheveresan, Tiago Fonseca.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Daniel Agius, Ayrton Azzopardi, Kieron Azzopardi, Aleandro Garzia.
Coach: Vincenzo Potenza
Goals: 12′ Flavio Cheveresan, 33′ Paul Mbong, 36′ 72′ (pen) Alex da Paixao, 75′ 90′ Luke Montebello.
BOV Man of the Match: Alex da Paixao Alves (Birkirkara).