SPARTANS, GREENS END IN A 1-1 DRAW
Hamrun Spartans 1 (Jake Grech 30’)
Floriana 1 (Nicolas Chiesa 50’)
A keenly contested match ended with the sharing of points. The game developed in a tight contest in no quarter was given as both sets of players fought for every ball.
They may have not been too many shots at goal but the tussles for the ball were always lively.
Hamrun Spartans’ flying start came to fruition on the half hour mark. Enrico Pepe sent Haruna Garba crashing to end Hamrun’s first serious venture towards the Floriana penalty area. Jake Grech’s free-kick went into the wall but the ball was deemed to have come off Enzo Ruiz’s hand inside the penalty side and from the spot kick Grech shot his team into the lead.
For a moment, Hamrun tried to drive home that early impetus. Garba was almost through soon after but Justin Haber dived at his feet to block the Nigerian forward’s effort to knock in the ball.
Towards, the end of the first half, Mario Fontanella headed the ball towards Nicolas Chiesa who did the impossible, knocking the ball over the bar with goal at his mercy.
Giovanni Tedesco brought in Amadou Samb at the start of the second half, a substitution intended to give more mobility to the Floriana attacking line. The second half opened up excellent prospect for them.
Inside the second minute, Ruiz glanced in a header off a corner by Steve Pisani, which landed wide of the far post. Yet, he pranced back to level matters seven minutes later. Steve Pisani prodded the ball towards the nippy midfielder who expertly rounded his marker to drive low into the net.
The goal came at the right psychological moment as Tedesco’s troops started breathing freely. The Greens looked more compact now moving forward.
On 56 minutes, Justin Haber stretched into an excellent diving save on Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza. Hamrun were somehow tempted to hold on to a draw but Floriana’s forward moving momentum nevertheless left them no option but to operate on the counter-attack.
But Floriana were now enjoying more possession. The ball was played wide to Jurgen Pisani whose measured low cross from the right had Chiesa connecting to it with a volley. The ball eluded Cassar but Glenn Azzopardi was on the right spot to clear off the line.
The Spartans’ confidence resurfaced five minutes from time and Grech ran briskly through to meet a long ball from midfield but dragged his effort wide.
HAMRUN SPARTANS FORMATION David Cassar, Philip Chircop, Glenn Azzopardi, Haruna Zambuk Garba , Sergio Raphael Dos Anjos, Luke Sciberras, Nanapere Saturday (90+2’ Patrick Jean Teixeira Maia), Leandro Wallace Motta Dos Santos (61’ Massimiliano Giusti), Jake Grech, Jorge Mesqueu Neto, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (74’ Darren Falzon)
Subs: Matthew Farrugia, Luke Grech, Mark Anthony Borg, Trevor Cilia,
Coach: Steve D’Amato
FLORIANA FORMATION Justin Haber, Antonio Monticelli,(77’ Brooke Farrugia )Enrico Pepe, Enzo Ruiz, Steve Pisani, Maurizio Vella (46’ Amadou Samb), Jurgen Pisani, Alex Cini, Nicolas Chiesa, Mario Fontanella, Ryan Camenzuli (78’ Clyde Borg).
Subs not used: Matthew Grech, Andre Scicluna, Mattia Zarb, Daniel Agius.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant referees: Edward Spiteri, Mitchell Scerri
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Monticelli, Garba, Falzon
Scorers: 30’ Jake Grech pen, 50’ Nicolas Chiesa
BOV Player of the Match: Nicolas Chiesa
Attendance at the National Stadium: 926