Cheveresan 12, Ruiz 83
Mbong 33; da Paixao Alves 36, 72 pen; Montebello 75, 90
FLORIANA: I. Etim Akpan-5, M. Beye-5.5, E. Ruiz-6, K. Keqi-5.5 (63 J Busuttil), U. Arias-6, B. Paiber-6 (84 S. Arab), J. Pisani-5.5, M. Garcia-6, A. Cini-5.5, F. Cheveresan-5.5, T. Fonseca-5.5.
B’KARA: S. Guarnone-6, E. Pepe-6, Y. Yankam-6, L. Montebello-6.5, P. Mbong-6, R. Briffa-6, R. Mbu Alidor-5.5 (50 C. Bonanni), F. Falcone-6 (78 C. Prado), C. Attard-6.5, O. Carniello-6, A. Da Paixao-7.
Referee: Matthew De Gabriele
Yellow Cards: Fonseca, Pepe, Paiber
BOV Player of the Match: Alex da Paixao Alves (Birkirkara)
Birkirkara came from behind to beat Floriana 5-2 and move sixth yesterday, joining Sta Lucia on the 21-point mark, seven behind leaders Sliema Wanderers.
Despite conceding an early goal, Birkirkara reacted well and after scoring two quick-fire goals past the half-hour to turn the score in their favour, sealed the issue with more goals during the second half. For Birkirkara, this was the fifth win in seven matches.
On the other hand, this defeat continues to highlight the period of crisis for the Greens as they have now suffered fourth defeat in five matches. Floriana remain a distant twelve points from the leaders but have a game in hand.
The Greens, eager to bounce back from back-to-back defeats to Sliema and Ħamrun Spartans, made three changes from their last outing as Muhamadou Beye and Flavio Cheveresan were back in the starting eleven along with Brandon Paiber. They replaced Nicola Leone, Jan Busuttil and Ryan Camenzuli.
For Birkirkara, Paul Mbong, Roderick Briffa and Alex da Paixao Alves, who were all included as substitutes in the previous game, were all named in the starting line-up. Briffa was employed on the right flank in lieu of the suspended Kurt Zammit while Mbong and Da Paixao Alves were preferred to Claudio Bonanni and Caio Prado.
The Stripes had the first attempt at goal with Luke Montebello trying his luck with a fine curling shot from the edge of the area ending just wide after just five minutes.
However, Floriana took the lead on 12 minutes when off a cross by Ulises Arias from the left, Cheveresan rose high to head home past goalkeeper Sandro Guarnone.
Birkirkara levelled matters on 33 minutes when off a cross by Cain Attard from the right, the ball reached Mbong who planted the ball past goalkeeper Ini Etim Akpan.
Three minutes later, the Stripes went ahead. Da Paixao Alves received an assist by Yannick Yankam from the left and with a fine rising shot from outside the area, the Brazilian placed the ball in the top left corner.
Just before half-time, Paiber delivered a corner from the left, which was blocked by Guarnone and off the rebound, Matias Garcia’s effort was also blocked by a defender.
Four minutes in the second half, Arias advanced upfield and served Jurgen Pisani whose diagonal shot from the left ended wide. Four minutes later, a solo effort by Kristian Keqi ended with an angled shot which was parried by the Birkirkara goalkeeper.
Birkirkara increased the lead on 72 minutes after they were awarded a penalty when Pisani halted Da Paixao Alves’ fine run on the left, bringing him down inside the area. From the penalty spot, the Brazilian converted.
Three minutes later, Da Paixao Alves sent Montebello through and the latter advanced into the area before hitting low past Akpan.
Seven minutes from time, Floriana reduced the gap when off a corner from the left, a fine volley by Enzo Ruiz gave the Birkirkara goalkeeper no chance.
However, on the 90th, Birkirkara made it 5-2. Caio advanced on the right, passed the ball to Da Paixao Alves and the latter served Montebello, whose angled shot from the left beat the Floriana custodian.