Watch: Ten-man Floriana hold Valletta

Watch: Ten-man Floriana hold Valletta

Video: Mark Zammit Cordina

FLORIANA       1

Ruiz 75

VALLETTA        1

Piciollo 10

Valletta's title aspirations were handed a blow when they were held to a 1-1 draw against a ten-man Floriana at the National Stadium.

The Citizens started strongly and took the lead after 10 minutes.

Miguel Alba dispossessed the dithering Emerson Marcelina and played in Kyrian Nwoko who sent a low cross towards the Argentine who opted to leave it for the sprinting Matteo Piciollo who fired home.

The Greens looked rattled and they tried to get back into contention.

On 20 minutes, Valletta goalkeeper Henry Bonello came to his team’s rescue when he denied a certain equaliser.

Vella’s inswinger was nodded down by Pepe into the path of Sebastian Nayar who incredibly shot into Bonello from two metres out before Valletta cleared.

On 35 minutes, Alba hit a shot from the distance that finished past the upright.

Six minutes from the break, Floriana protested for a penalty when Vella looked to have been brought down in the area by Pena Beltre but referee Alan Mario Sant waved play on and booked the Greens winger for simulation.

Tensions flared a minute from the break when the referee failed to sanction Alba for a rough challenge on Jurgen Pisani with the Floriana defender reacting by spitting at the Argentine midfielder.

Referee Sant brandished the red card to Pisa much to chargrin of the Greens clan.

On the restart, Floriana tried to hold the initiative but it was Valletta who threatened on 55 minutes. Malano released Piciollo who hit a firm drive that finished just wide.

At the other end, Bonello dived at full stretch to keep out Fontanella’s header.

On 63 minutes, Malano picked up a short clearance but his drive flashed wide.

Valletta thought they had doubled their lead on 67 minutes when Alba’s shot came off the post and Piciollo fired home the rebound.

However, the ‘goal’ was annulled as Kyrian Nwoko was in an offside position.

More woes followed for the Citizens as in their next attack Floriana equalised.

They were awarded a free-kick and Vella’s inswinger was met by Enzo Ruiz who headed past Bonello, albeit the Greens defender looked in an offside position.

Valletta soon threw more men forward and 12 minutes from time, Ini Akpan came to his team’s rescue when he somehow tipped over Malano’s header which looked destined for the top corner.

The Citizens continued to pile up the pressure but the Greens held on for a point.

BOV Player of the match Sebastian Nayar (Floriana).

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