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FA Trophy

First-half goals see Floriana oust Hibs and set up final showdown with Valletta

Floriana striker Kemar Reid (right) is tackled by Ali Diakite. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

FLORIANA         2           

Reid 27, Busuttil 45

HIBERNIANS    1           

Domoraud 87

FLORIANA

G. Kitanov, A. Magri Overend, C. Rutjens, O. El Hasni, Z. Cassar (36 R. Camenzuli), K. Reid, U. Arias (79 A. Ciolacu), M. Garcia (85 R. Hovsepyan), B. Paiber, E. Callegari, J. Busuttil (79 D. Agius).

HIBERNIANS

M. Calleja Cremona, F. Apap (55 A. Muniz), L. Almeida, J. Grech, J. Degabriele, D. Vella, Z. Grech (39 H. Oliveira), T. Aldama (75 W. Domoraud), A. Agius, G. Izquier, A. Diakite (55 Raphael)(75 J. Zerafa).

Referee: Ishmael Barbara.

Yellow cards: Reid, Apap, Kitanov, Almeida.

Red card: Reid (F) 29.

Despite playing for over an hour in ten men, Floriana defeated champions Hibernians 2-1 to secure a place in the final of the Izibet FA Trophy, setting up a clash with eternal rivals Valletta.

It was a deserved win for the Greens, who now hope to win the FA Trophy for the twenty-first time in the history of the club, to make up for the disappointment of missing out on the title.

The Greens were the better side throughout the 90 minutes and although they had a player sent off, they did not lose their composure and remained the better side.

On the other hand, more was expected from the Paolites who failed to take advantage of the dismissal of Kemar Reid that left them with more than an hour with a player more.

The Paolites had the first attempt at goal after minutes when Jurgen Degabriele rounded Christian Rutjens, testing goalkeeper Georgi Kitanov with a shot from the edge of the area but the Floriana custodian turned the ball into a corner.

The Greens replied a minute later with a rising shot by Reid who received a through pass and rounded a defender but his conclusion ended high. 

On 16 minutes, a goal-bound shot by Ulises Arias was blocked into a corner by Ferdinando Apap.

Floriana managed to take the lead on 27 minutes.

Following a throw-in by Matias Garcia, Kemar Reid rounded Andrei Agius and entered the area from the right and with an angled shot he slotted the ball past Calleja Cremona.

However, the Jamaican forward, who had just been cautioned a few minutes earlier, received a second yellow card as he ran past the Hibs substitute bench making a gesture to silence the fans.

The Greens threatened once again with a Ulises Arias effort when served by Magri Overend, on 41 minutes and two minutes later, Brandon Paiber hit a rising shot that ended wide.

Three minutes into the added time, the Greens doubled the score.

Ryan Camenzuli served Jan Busuttil on the left and the latter rounded a defender before beating Calleja Cremona with a perfect lob from the edge of the area.

In the second half, Hibernians were expected to go all out in search of a goal that would have put pressure on the Greens but Gianluca Atzori’s boys remained comfortably in command.

In fact, on 74 minutes, Camenzuli pounced on a through ball on the left flank and after entering the area, his close-range effort was blocked by Calleja Cremona. Paiber took the rebound but concluded wide from outside the area.

Hibs replied with a powerful shot from outside the area by Jake Grech which was neutralised by Kitanov a minute later.

A well-taken freekick by substitute Alvaro Muniz Cegarra was parried by Kitanov on 82 minutes.

Three minutes from time, Hibernians pulled one back. Muniz delivered a fine cross from the right and another substitute, Wilfried Domoraud, headed home.

This goal filled the Paolites with courage and two minutes later, Degabriele went close with a shot ending just over the bar, off a cross by Izquier from the left.

However, in the remaining minutes of added time, the Greens held on to the narrow lead to secure a place in Sunday’s final.  

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