Match Report: Floriana FC 1 – Hibernians FC 1

The Greens produced a much improved performance and were unlucky not to get the full three points against high fliers Hibs.

Following some good pressure from the opponents in the second half, the Greens were unlucky not to equalise just before half time and in the second half there was only one team on the pitch and following the Keqi equaliser the momentum was with the Greens who could not translate it into the winning goal.

Coach John Buttigieg made four changes from the team that lost heavily to Gzira with Andrea Cassar, Jan Busuttil, Jurgen Pisani and Marcelo Dias drafted into the starting XI instead of Ini Akpan, Brandon Paiber, Alex Cini and Moustapha Beye respectively.

Hibs looked to have the upperhand in the opening minutes as ex-Tiago Fonseca had a long range shot saved by Cassar after 10 minutes. This was the prelude to the goal ten minutes later when Malta international Dunstan Vella after receiving from Grech went past Venancio and hit a great shot in the top corner to give his team the lead.

The game became more balanced with no side threatening until the end of the half when a Dias cross was met by Keqi with his header going past Calleja Cremona only to see the ball hit the crossbar.

After the break the Greens looked renergised and following the inclusion of Paiber took control of midfield and started dominating the game.

On 58 minutes a deserved equaliser when Paiber fed Cheveresan who passed the ball to Keqi who hit a first time left footed shot that flew into the opposite top corner.

Two minutes later it was Keqi again who through on goal but his angled shot finished just wide of the post.

Floriana continued to press forward and almost stole it right at the death when a Siraj Arab counterattack brought out a super save by Calleja Cremona to deny the Green the full three points.

In the end it was a much needed improved performance from the Greens who showed some of the old tenacity and never die attitude which was lacking in the last few games.

Man of the Match as voted by journalists was Hibs’ Dunstan Vella. The Greens are back in action on Wednesday 27th January at 2100hrs at the Centenary Stadium to face Lija Athletics to recuperate the last game from the first round.

FLORIANA FC Starting XI;  Andrea Cassar, Diego Venancio (54′ Brandon Paiber), Nicola Leone, Kristian Keqi, Uli Arias, Jurgen Pisani, Flavio Cheveresan, Marcelo Dias, Jan Busuttil (76′ Siraj Arab), Ryan Camenzuli.

Subs not used: Ini Akpan, Mattias Formosa, Alex Cini, Kurt Theuma, Daniel Agius.

Coach: John Buttigieg

Goals: 20′ Dunstan Vella, 58′ Kristian Keqi.

BOV Man of the Match: Dunstan Vella (Hibs).

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