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Patient Floriana wear down Mosta to keep up pressure on Hibernians

Floriana's Emiliano Callegari charges forward for Floriana against Mosta. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

FLORIANA 2

Fernandes 69og; Reid 90

MOSTA 0

Floriana

G. Kitanov-6, C. Rutjens-6, O. El Hasni (16 E. Callegari-6), Z. Cassar-6, R. Hovsepyan-5, A. Ciolacu-6.5, M. Garcia-5.5(46 J. Busuttil-6.5) B. Paiber-6.5, E Rebenja-5 (65 K. Reid-5), A. Garzia-5 (46 A. Magri Overand-6), R. Camenzuli-6.

Mosta

I. Akpan-6, R. Briffa-5 (73 W. Donkin), G. Acheampong, C. Failla-4, B. Diarra-6 (86 M. Mifsud), T. Farrugia-6, L. Riascos-6, D. Antwi-5 (68 Z. Brincat), R. Morisco-5 (46 R. Fernandes-4), S. Akinbule-5, R. Ekani-5.

Referee: Slobodan Petrovic.

Yellow cards: Camenzuli, Morisco, Callegari, Akinbule, Failla.

Red card: Acheampong (M) 76.

BOV Player of the match: Andrei Ciolacu (Floriana).

Floriana have underlined their title credentials with a hard-fought win over Mosta.

The Greens are indeed an improved side since coach Gianluca Atzori took over.

After coming out unscathed from a series of consecutive direct encounters, winning against Valletta, Birkirkara and Balzan, yesterday’s encounter against the ever-improving Mosta could have proved an acid test.

Yet, the patient Floriana did not fail the test as they netted two late goals through a Raul Fernandes own goal and Kemar Reid to wear down Mosta. 

The game was preceded by a poignant moment as Mosta goalkeeper, formerly of Floriana, Ini Akpan made his way to the section occupied by the Floriana fans and threw over a bouquet of flowers as an appreciation for their support during his time at the Greens club.

The Floriana committee reciprocated the gesture with a memento for his service to the club.

The opening exchanges were dazzling with Mosta looking sharp and hungry.

In fact, the Blues carved out the first good chance after just five minutes when Sunday Akinbule lashed out a shot into the side-netting from Clayton Failla’s audacious 60-metre cross.

Floriana overcame their early uncertainty and started to control proceedings for the rest of the first half.

Oulid El Hasni’s return from suspension lasted only 15 minutes as he limped off after falling heavily on his arm. He was replaced by Emiliano Callegari.

Brandon Paiber fired in early shots for Floriana but his effort on 25 minutes went wide.

On 33 minutes, the swiftness of passes between Ciolacu and Eugeniu Rebenja bemused the Mosta defenders – but after one-two with the Romanian midfielder, the latter lifted a lob over the onrushing Akpan which finished over the bar.  

At half-time, Atzori was forced into his second substitution of the game due to another injury this time sustained by Aleandro Garzia. Adam Magri Overand came on for Garzia.

The Italian mentor took the opportunity to add flair up front with the introduction of Jan Busuttil instead of Matias Garcia. The change worked as Busuttil’s guile sparked the Greens into action.

Akpan had the chance to show his class in front of his former supporters when he first dived to the left to claw away Rebenja’s shot and then went the same way to stop Ciolacu’s rebound.

Yet, Atzori was sufficiently worried to throw on new recruit Kemar Reid.

But the breakthrough finally came when an effort from Ciolacu was inadvertently deflected by Raul Fernandes past Akpan and into the net.

Mosta’s predicament increased on 76 minutes when referee Slobodan Petrovic dismissed Geoffrey Acheampong for a challenge on Ryan Camenzuli.

Floriana sealed the points at the death when Reid scored from close range after Akpan failed to hold his low skimming shot to make the scoreline look cruelly one-sided.

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