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Birkirkara held to draw by Floriana

Birkirkara's Cain Attard moves past Floriana's Ryan Camenzuli. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

BIRKIRKARA            1        

Falcone 46

FLORIANA        1         

Keqi 39

BIRKIRKARA: D. Fernandes-5.5, E. Ruiz-6.5, Y. Yankam-5.5 (66 L. Aguirre), L. Montebello-5.5 (77 R. Scicluna), C. Bonanni-5.5, P. Mbong-5.5, K. Zammit-6.5, F. Falcone-6.5, C. Attard-6, O. Carniello-5.5, J. Macedo-6 (77 K. Bevis).

FLORIANA: G. Kitanov-6, A. Magri Overend-5.5 (84 A. Garzia), C. Rutjens-5.5, Z. Cassar-5.5, A. Caseres-6 (66 A. Ciolacu), K. Keqi-6.5 (66 M. Veselji), U. Arias-5.5, M. Garcia-5.5, E. Callegari-5.5, J. Busuttil-5.5 (66 B. Paiber), R. Camenzuli-6 (84 D. Agius).

Referee: Alex Johnson

Yellow Cards: Caseres, Busuttil, Yankam, Garcia

BOV Player of the Match: Federico Falcone

Birkirkara dropped their first points of this season as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Floriana on Sunday.

The Stripes, therefore, failed to keep pace with leaders Hibernians who now enjoy a two-point lead over Andre Paus’ side. Floriana, on the other hand, remain unbeaten with their third draw in four matches.

The game was a balanced affair that saw the Greens take the lead late in the first half and the Stripes levelling matters on the restart.

Floriana coach Gianluca Atzori named an unchanged side from the win over Valletta. Birkirkara, on the other hand, welcomed back Claudio Bonanni after serving a one-match ban. The Italian midfielder replaced the injured Diego Venancio. 

The Stripes went in search of an early goal, going close with a Jeferson Macedo cross-shot from the right which was turned into a corner by Floriana custodian Georgi Kitanov.

On 14 minutes, Federico Falcone, served by Macedo from the right, had a low shot from inside the area neutralised by Kitanov.  Seconds later, Ryan Camenzuli concluded a solo effort with a powerful drive which was turned into a corner by Daniel Fernandes. Kristian Keqi then tried his luck with a shot from the edge of the area but Fernandes saved his attempt on 19 minutes.  

Christian Rutjens headed high off a cross by Camenzuli from the left on 32 minutes for Floriana. Six minutes later, Birkirkara replied with a Bonanni freekick which ended wide.

Floriana forged ahead on 39 minutes. The Birkirkara rear-guard failed to clear to safety a cross by Caseres from the right and Kristian Keqi hit home past goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes.

Birkirkara restored equilibrium one minute into the second half. Macedo concluded a good run on the right flank with an assist for Federico Falcone who flicked the ball in style past the Floriana goalkeeper.

Paul Mbong could have put Birkirkara ahead on 63 minutes but his fine effort from outside the area was tipped into a corner by the Floriana goalkeeper. Twelve minutes later, Cain Attard had an angled shot from the right neutralised by Kitanov.

Seven minutes from time, substitute Leandro Aguirre almost notched the winner but his first-time effort from outside the area hit the crossbar.

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