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Floriana enjoy upper hand over Valletta in head-to-head meetings in FA Trophy finals

Manolito Micallef (centre) lifts the FA Trophy after Floriana beat Valletta 1-0 in 2011. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Floriana and Valletta will meet in a highly-anticipated FA Trophy final tomorrow. This will be the ninth time that the neighbouring rivals will face off in the Cup final. Valhmor Camilleri looks at the previous finals featuring the two sides…

May 15, 1947 – Stadium, Gżira

Floriana vs Valletta      3-0

Valletta were favourites to beat Floriana.

The Greens, however, could never be underestimated. As they had done before in the past, they rose up to the occasion and swept Valletta off their feet.

The match had barely started when Galea opened the score for Valletta.

In football, especially in cup finals, the team who scores first wins half of the battle.

Valletta were thrown off their game and, although they gave their share to a very entertaining game, they never fully recovered from that early setback.

In the second half, Valletta pressed hard for the equaliser but in the space of two minutes Galea scored two more goals and the Trophy went to Floriana.

Once again, as in the case of the League and Cassar Cup, Valletta were pipped of the prize at the last hurdle.

June 9, 1957 – Stadium, Gżira

Floriana vs Valletta      2-0

Lady Luck turned its face against Valletta in the FA Trophy final.

Enjoying most of the play and with Floriana almost out of the count, the Citizens received two KO blows in as many minutes.

Valletta dominated the game from start to finish. They seemed to have the measure of the Greens’ defence. With Alamango in goal never sure of himself, it seemed to be only a matter of time before the Greens’ fort would succumb.

Then with only 20 minutes left, a lob by Freddie Vella James was flicked by Lolly Borg to Tony Cauchi. The centre forward, failing to hold the ball, played it with his hands into the net.

Needless to say, Valletta protested vehemently but the referee stuck to his decision.

Two minutes later, Żarenu Alamango passed into the middle for Lolly Borg to tap into the net.

June 16, 1960 – Stadium, Gżira

Valletta vs Floriana     3-0

Floriana seemed to have risen to the occasion in this final, which was controlled by Italian referee Giuseppe Adami.

The Greens gave Valletta a battering. However, when Valletta scored against the run of play, Floriana’s play lost impetus.

Valletta were now all over their opponents and they coasted home to a comfortable 3-0 victory.

This victory brought to an end a greatest season in Valletta’s history which also saw them secure the league title.

June 6, 1976 – Stadium, Gżira

Floriana vs Valletta      2-0

For the first time in the history of the competition, the FA Trophy final, between Valletta and Floriana was abandoned and the winner was decided on the Council’s table.

The final was kicked off in an atmosphere rich with good spirits. Floriana showed the best touches and by half-time they were already leading 2-0.

Up to this time everything was moving along smoothly, but during the rest period, some supporters from the Valletta side started a fight which soon erupted in a free-for-all between the supporters and the police.

The second half was started amidst scenes reminiscent of the Mile End era. Stones rained onto the pitch.

Although referee Charles Scerri did his utmost to keep the game going, he had to stop play three times before he was finally forced to abandon the match.

May 29, 1977 – Stadium, Gżira

Valletta vs Floriana     1-0

The match was a keen affair with no quarter asked for or given. There was very little difference between the two teams. The only thing that tipped the scales in favour of Valletta was the presence of Leonard Farrugia.

The tiny Valletta striker put on a grand performance, scoring the goal which broke Floriana’s 37-match unbeaten record.

Floriana went on the warpath right from the very beginning.

During the first half and most of the second, they roared and raged around Valletta’s penalty area. The latter were forced back, but, after weathering a continuous barrage on their fort, they broke away and scored the goal which gave them the trophy.

June 4, 1978 – Stadium, Gżira

Valletta vs Floriana     3-2

Valletta proved that their league victory was no fluke when they beat Floriana 3-2 in the FA Trophy final.

This game was one of the most dramatic in the history of the competition. Up to a quarter-of-an-hour from the end, Floriana were leading 2-0.

Their supporters were already celebrating when two goals by Agius and another by Giglio turned the tables in favour of the champions.

One can only imagine the joy of the City supporters when the referee sounded the final whistle. Festivities in the capital went on until the early hours of the morning.

May 22, 1994 – National Stadium

Floriana vs Valletta      2-1

The final was a highly-charged game. Floriana opened strongly and after 17 minutes, Albert Busuttil had already put them in front.

Valletta reacted immediately and right before half-time, Gilbert Agius levelled the score.

In the second period, Valletta increased their efforts but Floriana repelled all their attempts.

The Greens held on grimly and with the minutes ticking away, extra-time seemed unavoidable.

Then, three minutes from the end, Dennis Cauchi, sent in a fierce shot which glanced off Agius before ending into the net past goalkeeper Galea.

It was a dramatic winner which sent the City fans home in despair and gave Floriana the FA Trophy for a record 18th time.

May 23, 2011 – National Stadium

Floriana vs Valletta      1-0

Forced to live in the shadow of their neighbours from the capital for much of the past two decades, the Greens enjoyed a reversal of fortunes as they eked out a 1-0 victory over Valletta to lift the FA Trophy for the 19th time.

A combative encounter looked to be heading for extra-time as, with only two minutes left, the score was still goalless.

As all inside the stadium readied themselves for an additional 30 minutes, Floriana procured a free-kick in a dangerous position just outside the semi-circle and Ivan Woods let fly a stinging drive that grazed Ian Azzopardi’s face and wrong-footed Andrew Hogg in goal.

As the ball whizzed into the net, the delirious Floriana players ran towards their fans who were in a state of ecstasy.

With only added time left, the Greens managed to fend off Valletta’s late efforts to secure the Trophy.

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