Floriana FC 1 vs 2 Gudja United FC
Floriana produced a below-par performance on Saturday afternoon as they were defeated by Gudja United at the Centenary Stadium.
Needing a victory to go three points clear at the top of the standings to put pressure on Valletta ahead of today’s crucial encounter with Birkirkara, Floriana enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but they lacked flair and punch in the final third, never mind their positional deficiencies plaguing their midfield.
The absence of Diego Venancio, Floriana’s central cog in their midfield machine, compelled Vincenzo Potenza to reshape his team. Ulises Arias dropped back to form a tandem with Matias Garcia in front of the back four.
Floriana tried to enhance their element of unpredictability in their attack by swapping the positions of Stefano D’Agostino and Jan Busuttil behind the main pivot Tiago Fonesca.
In Gudja’s formation, the absence of Anderson was compensated for by Llywelyn Cremona as Josef Mansueto also elected to omit Nivaldo from his first XI in favor of Miguel Jimenez.
Floriana looked likely to take the lead as they forced the early pressure. But a solid Gudja’s rearguard closed all avenues to goal.
Past the quarter of the hour mark, Floriana went ahead. The Greens played the ball along the byline on the left, towards Marcelo Dias, in came the cross for Garcia to head past Glenn Zammit.
For some time there was a dearth of action, only broken just before half-time when Cremona ran through but his shot was too central to trouble Ini Akpan, the Floriana goalkeeper.
Exchanges did not brighten up after the break as there was hardly a sniff of goal, except for an Akpan blocking save on Winchester after a slip by the Floriana defense.
Gudja started shedding off their submissiveness and midway through the second period Enzo Ruiz glanced a header into his own net from a cross by Justin Grioli.
The cold shower for Floriana come in the 70th minute when Jimenez advanced through the middle channel before producing a perfectly-flighted shot that soared into the top corner of the net.
Floriana threw caution to the wind but their late enterprise proved fruitless against an organized Gudja rearguard.
(Source; Times of Malta)
FLORIANA FC Starting XI; Ini Etim Akpan, Enzo Ruiz, Kristian Keqi, Ulises Arias, Stefano D’Agostino, Jurgen Pisani, Matias Nicolas Garcia, Alex Cini (76′ Terence Vella), Marcelo Dias, Jan Busuttil (57′ Bradley Sciberras)(82′ Clyde Borg), Tiago Adan Fonseca.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Isaac Galea, Mattias Formosa, Aleandro Garzia.
Coach: Vincenzo Potenza
Asst. Coach: Darren Anton Vella