Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Floriana upstage Old Firm rivals Sliema to win FA Trophy
May 21, 2017
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FLORIANA                      2
SLIEMA WANDERERS   0

(HT 1-0)

 

Floriana are in seventh heaven. Pitched in a winner-takes-all confrontation with Old Firm rivals Sliema Wanderers in the final of the FA Trophy, Floriana emerged on top after beating the Blues 2-0 at the National Stadium to win the coveted cup competition for the 20th time in their history and secure a berth in next season's Europa League.


Floriana, led by Italian coach Giovanni Tedesco, looked the more organised side for much of the final but Sliema Wanderers squandered a great chance to equalise after falling behind to Enzo Ruiz’s early goal before Clyde Borg sealed their success in stoppage time.

 

Before kick-off, a minute’s silence was observed in memory of Ronnie Cocks, the former Sliema Wanderers and Malta captain who died last Tuesday aged 73.

 

Fans of both teams broke into applause to salute the memory of Cocks, regarded as one of the greats of Maltese football.

 

When the game started, Floriana struck after just three minutes.

 

A looping free-kick from the left by Maurizio Vella sailed into the box and defender Enzo Ruiz rose high to head the ball past Sliema goalkeeper Giuseppe Sarao.

 

During a tense first half, Floriana showed the better ideas and created some good scoring opportunities through Mario Fontanella, who drove marginally wide after nipping behind the Sliema defence on 33 minutes, a Nicolas Chiesa free-kick on 36 minutes and an effort by Ignacio Varela moments later.

 

After the break, on 53 minutes, a shot from Floriana midfielder Sebastian Nayar from just outside the box was well saved by Sarao. 

 

Sliema increased the pressure during the first 20 minutes of the second half but found it hard to penetrate the Floriana defence.

 

On 64 minutes, Floriana found the net again but the ‘goal’ was ruled to be offside.

 

Ten minutes later, Sliema’s John Mintoff, who had replaced Denni in the first half, just missed target with a diagonal shot.

 

Floriana’s Steve Pisani had an opportunity to secure the win for his team with a shot from just outside the box on 80 minutes.

 

A minute later, Sliema striker Jean-Paul Farrugia came face to face with Floriana goalkeeper Justin Haber but missed.

 

With two minutes on the clock, Sliema wasted a glorious opportunity to equalise when Farrugia, unmarked in front of goal, headed wide from a Frank Temile cross.

 

Deep into stoppage time, Floriana midfielder Borg sent his team-mates and the club fans into ecstasy when he broke on the counter, advanced into the box and hit a low shot past Sarao.

 

When referee Glen Tonna blew the final whistle, Floriana kickstarted their celebrations which reached a climax when Norman Darmanin Demajo, the Malta FA President, presented the new FA Trophy cup to Nicolas Chiesa, the captain of Floriana.

 

The classic final on Saturday brought to an end the 2016/17 domestic football season. It was the 15th time these two heavyweights had met in the final, a replica of the very first cup clash in 1935.

 

Back then, it was Sliema Wanderers who lifted the first ever FA Trophy with a 4-0 win over their eternal rivals. The last time both teams met in the final was in 1993 when Floriana hammwered the Blues 5-0.

 

FLORIANA
Justin Haber, Andrè Scicluna, Enrico Pepe, Enzo Ruiz, Ryan Camenzuli, Nicolas Chiesa © (Clyde Borg 86’), Sebastian Nayar, Steve Pisani, Maurizio Vella (Alex Cini 71’), Marco Fontanella, Ignacio Varela.

 

SLIEMA WANDERERS
Giuseppe Sarao, Alex Muscat ©, Jonathan Pearson, Stefano Bianciardi, Leonardo Incorvaia (Peter Xuereb 66’), Matias Muchardi (Ryan Spiteri 82), Mark Scerri, Ricardo Correa, Frank Temile, Jean-Paul Farrugia, Denni Dos Santos (John Mintoff 32’).

 

Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant referees: Alan Camilleri and Jurgen Spiteri
Additional Assistant Referees: Fyodor Zammit and Mario Apap
Fourth Official: Peter Abela
 

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