Fatal mistakes punish Birkirkara

by Ayrton Galea - 15th April 2012
Birkirkara FC
Premier League

National Stadium

15/04/2012 - 15:00
Floriana FC

Two fatal mistakes sunk Birkirkara, despite dominating for long stretches, and Floriana managed to beat Birkirkara with a 2-1 score.

It was a match that saw Birkirkara with the same fighting spirit that was seen in the last matches. But luck was not on our side and Floriana brought Birkirkara's seven matches unbeaten run to an end. This defeat puts Birkirkara in the fourth place, one point behind Floriana.

Mr. Paul Zammit made only one change from the last match against Balzan Youths, as Shaun Bajada replaced Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza.

Before kick-off, a one minute of silence was held in memory of the Livorno midfielder Piermario Morosini, who yesterday collapsed on the pitch during a second division game at Pescara, and was later pronounced dead.

The First Half

In the First Half Birkirkara dominated right from the start, incredibly losing two chances in the very few minutes. They continued to press for the opening goal. However, against the run of play, two fast counter attacks from Floriana, following Birkirkara losing possession in the middle of the field saw Floriana taking a two goal lead.

In the first minute, Shola Shodiya missed a golden chance from close range following a fine cross by Shaun Bajada.

Just two minutes later, following a blunder by the Floriana defenders when they failed to clear the danger, Jorge Santos Silva hit wide from a close range.

On the 20th minute, Shola Shodiya released Jorge Santos Silva whose powerful shot was blocked by a defender and turned into a corner kick. From the corner kick, Shaun Bajada served Angus Buhagiar whose cross was headed wide by Rodrigo Pereira.

Another dangerous shot by Shola Shodiya on the 22nd minute was also blocked by a defender and turned into a corner kick.

On the half hour mark, a direct free-kick by Pablo Doffo for Floriana was turned by Reuben Gauci into a corner kick.

Against the run of the play, Floriana took the lead on the 32nd minute. Birkirkara lost possession in the middle of the field, and Oname Sodje beat Reuben Gauci from a close range who celebrated the goal in front of the Birkirkara bench, and suprisingly enough he was not cautioned.

Birkirkara almost equalised on the 33rd minute when Manual Bartolo's bad clearance saw Shaun Bajada's shot ending wide by inches.

A deja-vu for Birkirkara happened just three minutes later. On the 35th minute, another ball was lost in the middle of the field, and Floriana made a fast counter-attack, releasing Oname Sodje who beat the goalkeeper with a fine shot from inside the box.

With Birkirkara failing to make a reply, the first half ended with Floriana having a comfortable two-goal lead.

The Second Half

Birkirkara's reaction was immediate as they pulled one back just two minutes into the second half. Birkirkara continued to press and search for the equaliser. However, with some opportunities wasted and lack of luck, the score remained the same.

Mr. Paul Zammit made two substitutions in the half time interval as Shaun Bajada and Rodrigo Pereira were replaced with Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza and Moises Avila Perez.

Just a few moments after the start of the second half, Sodje exchanged the ball with Andrei Grabowski whose diagonal shot was turned into a corner.

Moises left his mark after just two minutes since he entered the in the pitch, when Manuel Bartolo failed to hold the ball and the Spanish Striker slotted home to score his 13th goal of the season.

Birkirkara were unlucky not to equalise on the 53rd minute, when Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza had two consecutive attempts being blocked, first by Manuel Bartolo, and then from a defender on the score-line.

Birkirkara continued to dominate and on the 55th minute, a fine shot by Moises Avila Perez from the edge of the area ended wide.

With Floriana continuously under pressure, Floriana's Head Coach Mr. Joe Brincat made the first substitution on the 57th minute, as Thomas Paris was replaced by defender Tyrone Farrugia.

On the hour mark, a direct long distance free-kick by Pablo Doffo was difficultly turned into a corner by Reuben Gauci.

Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza failed to hit from an ideal position on the 63rd minute following a perfect cross by Jorge Santos Silva.

Birkirkara suffered a big drawback as on the 65th minute, as Jorge Santos Silva suffered an injury and was stretchered off, and he was replaced with Alan Tabone. This loss decreased a lot Birkirkara's strength in the forward line, and they found it difficult to penetrate, although still remaining the best team on the pitch.

Ryan Scicluna was unlucky not to score the equalising goal on the 68th minute, when his powerful low shot was turned into corner kick by Manuel Bartolo.

Floriana almost scored the third goal, once again against the run of play, when on the 69th minute, Grabowski rounded Gauci but his diagonal shot ended wide.

Following a foul by Ivan Woods on Angus Buhagiar on the 75th minute, Clyde Borg kicked the ball outside of the pitch, and the referee had no other option then to show a yellow card to Clyde, for wasting time. As this was his second booking, he was given marching orders, and Floriana had to play the rest of the match with ten players.

A shot by Angus Buhagiar on the 76th minute ended over, and two minutes later, another shot this time by Shola Shodiya ended wide.

In the second substitution for Floriana, Andre Grabowski was replaced by Brooke Farrugia on the 80th minute.

Birkirkara continued to search for the equalising goal and on the 82nd minute, a long distance shot by Rowen Muscat ended over.

On the 89th minute, Birkirkara could again have scored the equalising goal when Shola Shodiya served Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza in the box but his close range effort ended wide.

In the last substitution for Floriana, Oname Sodje was replaced with Alandson Da Silva in the first of three minutes of added time.

With no time remaining for Birkirkara, the full time whistle found Birkirkara conceding the first defeat in eight matches, back to the fourth position. One point behin Floriana with just four matches to go.

Next Week, Birkirkara will be involved in a very difficult match against the leaders Valletta.

Oname Sodje was voted as the BOV player of the match.

BIRKIRKARA: Reuben Gauci, Angus Buhagiar, Nikola Vukanac, Rodrigo Pereira (45' Moises Avila Perez), Joseph Zerafa, Gareth Sciberras, Rowen Muscat, Shaun Bajada (45' Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza), Ryan Scicluna, Jorge Santos Silva (65' Alan Tabone), Shola Shodiya.

FLORIANA: Manuel Bartolo, Duncan Pisani, Manolito Micallef, Eric Akato, Owen Bugeja, Pablo Doffo, Ivan Woods, Thomas Paris (57' Tyrone Farrugia), Andre Grabowski (80' Brooke Farrugia), Clyde Borg, Oname Sodje (91' Alandson Da Silva)

Scorers: 32, 35' - Oname Sodje (Floriana), 47' - Moises Avila Perez (Birkirkara)

Yellow Cards: Clyde Borg, Ivan Woods (Floriana), Ryan Scicluna, Shola Shodiya (Birkirkara)

Red Cards: Clyde Borg (Floriana)

Man of the match: Oname Sodje (Floriana)

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