GŻIRA UNITED 1
FLORIANA: G. Kitanov-6; A. Magri Overend-6.5 (88 A. Garzia); C. Rutjens-6 (60 E. Callegari-6); O. El Hasni-6.5; Z. Cassar-6.5; K. Keqi-5 (46 E. Rebenja-6); J. Arias-7; A. Ciolacu-6.5; B. Paiber-7; R. Camenzuli-7; D. Agius-5 (46 J. Busuttil-7.5).
GŻIRA UNITED: J. Haber-7.5; G. Bohrer-6.5; L. Tabone; N. Muscat-6; S. Pisani-6; Z. Scerri-6; Y. Messias-6 (61 M. Davis); C. Gauci-7 (72 Maxuell); T. Espindola-6 (55 N. Portelli-0); Jefferson-5; J. Mendoza-6.5.
Referee Fyodor Zammit.
Yellow cards Tabone, Arias, Jefferson, Paiber, El Hasni, Pisani.
Red card Luke Tabone 54 (Gżira United).
BOV Player of the Match Yuri Messias (Gżira United).
Missed penalty Kristian Keqi 8 (Floriana).
A Ryan Camenzuli strike two minutes from time handed Floriana a crucial 2-1 victory over Gżira United to boost their top-six hopes.
The Greens were trailing by one goal after the opening 45 minutes but two goals in the closing stages of the second half propelled them into third place on 13 points.
On the other hand, this was the third defeat for Gżira who are currently out of the top six, as they sit eighth on nine points.
Gżira United made their intentions clear from the start with a couple of quick chances from Jefferson, but the Brazilian failed to capitalise on both occasions.
Nonetheless, the Maroons still managed to break the deadlock early in the game when in the fifth minute, they pounced on a loose ball in the midfield with Yuri Messias making his way into the box before slotting past Floriana’s goalkeeper.
Moments later though, Floriana were given a chance to level terms when Luke Tabone floored Kristian Keqi with the match official awarding a penalty to the Greens.
However, Keqi failed to convert from the penalty spot as his effort was kept at bay by Justin Haber.
Substitute Jan Busuttil almost left an immediate impact in the second half, when he latched onto Brandon Paiber’s through ball but his effort hit the outside of the goal.
On the 54th minute mark, Gżira were down to ten men when defender Tabone was given the marching orders after being shown a second yellow card for his foul on Andrei Ciolacu.
This boosted Floriana’s chances of levelling terms which they almost did four minutes later when Jose Arias headed from point-blank range just to see Gabriel Bohrer deny him on the goal line.
The Greens came close to finding an equaliser when Oualid El Hasni’s effort from the penalty area struck the woodwork before being cleared out by the Gżira players.
At the other end of the field, Jefferson tried a personal effort from the edge of the area but Kitanov was alert to avert the danger.
Floriana managed to make their pressure count on minute 78 when Arias sent a through ball towards Ciolacu and the Moldovan forward struck the ball past Haber for his second league goal.
Arias came close to putting Floriana in front but his header went wide as the Greens were now pushing for the lead in the final part of the game.
Five minutes from time, Busuttil tried his luck from the edge of the area but could not beat Haber with his low drive.
Yet, Haber could do nothing about Camenzuli’s long-range shot which hit the back of the net on the 88th minute, handing Floriana three precious points.