General Category

Final showdown on Sunday between rivals Valletta and Floriana

Published: Fri 13 May 2022, 21:32
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2021/22 Izibet FA Trophy Final
Valletta v Floriana – 15.05.2022 (17.00 hrs) – National Stadium

On Sunday, eternal rivals Valletta and Floriana will bring an end to the Maltese football season 2021/22, the first one in three years which actually will be played to an end. The previous two were abandoned due to the measurements taken around the Covid-19 pandemic. Not only the Premier Division, lower senior leagues and youth leagues were affected, but also the FA Trophy, which was not played to and end the past two years. Pieta’ Hotspurs, Valletta, Floriana Hibernians were not able to play their Semi-Final matches during the 2019/20 edition, while last season, the season was abandoned before the four Quarter-Final encounters. That means that in fact Valletta played in the last FA Trophy Final, that of edition 2018/19, which was a memorable one as Balzan managed to win their first major silverware by beating the Citizens on penalties after a spectacular 4-4 draw after extra time.

While Valletta’s performances were at times disappointing, with the team ending up in the Play-Out group after the regular phase, Floriana’s campaign was generally a positive one with an unexpected runners-up spot in the Premier Division as reward for their wonderful season. The Greens challenged with Hibernians for the Championship title until the very end and could give their season another memorable accolade by beating Valletta in the FA Trophy final on Sunday night. However, stiff opposition is expected from Valletta, who are in fine shape during the last six weeks, finishing on top of the Play-Out Group and beating Santa Lucia in the Izibet FA Trophy Semi-Finals last Tuesday. The team of coach Danilo Doncic could save their season by winning the Trophy competition, which will give the Lilywhites a place in the qualification round of the UEFA Europa Conference League. Gzira United will be tensed spectators, as a Floriana win would give the Maroons another European Cup birth this summer.

This will be Valletta’s 29th FA Trophy final, winning the coveted Cup 14 previous times. Floriana won the Trophy 20 times from their 32 Finals reached in their illustrious past. Both teams met each other 26 times in the history of the FA Trophy, which is including eight Finals. Floriana won five of these, against three for Valletta. The last time both teams met in the FA Trophy was in the memorable 2010/11 Final, which was won by Floriana thanks to a wonderful Ivan Woods free-kick a few minutes before the end.

In the BOV Premier Division this season, Floriana won both matches against Valletta, 3-0 in the 1st round and 2-0 in the 2nd round. The only match between the two neighbours last season was also won by Floriana (3-0), which means the last time Valletta beat Floriana was on 2 February 2020 (1-0). Looking at the last ten mutual encounters Floriana won four, Valletta three while three matches ended in a draw, fairly balanced.

Valletta will be boosted by the availability of influential Croatian midfielder Ivan Curjuric, who returns from suspension. Defender Jean Borg, who missed both Santa Lucia encounters, is a doubtful starter. Kemar Reid, who opened the score for Floriana against Hibernians in the Semi-Final last Wednesday night, is suspended after his double yellow caution minutes after his goal. Attacker Kristian Keqi must pass a late fitness test but could be available for selection for Gianluca Atzori’s 20-man squad.

Valletta – road to the Final
1R Marsaskala 5-0
2R Tarxien Rainbows 5-1
QF Marsaxlokk 3-0
SF Santa Lucia 1-0

Floriana – road to the Final
1R Ghajnsielem 1-0
2R St George's 2-0
QF Birkirkara 3-1
SF Hibernians 2-1

The eight previous Valletta v Floriana FA Trophy Finals
1946/47 Floriana 3 Valletta 0
1956/57 Floriana 2 Valletta 0
1959/60 Valletta 3 Floriana 0
1975/76 Floriana 2 Valletta 0 (match abandoned, result allowed to stand)
1976/77 Valletta 1 Floriana 0
1977/78 Valletta 3 Floriana 2
1993/94 Floriana 2 Valletta 1
2010/11 Floriana 1 Valletta 0

All previous winners of the FA Trophy
1934-1935 Sliema Wanderers FC
1935-1936 Sliema Wanderers FC
1936-1937 Sliema Wanderers FC
1937-1938 Floriana FC
1938-1939 Melita FC
1939-1940 Sliema Wanderers FC
1944-1945 Floriana Athletic FC
1945-1946 Sliema Athletic FC
1946-1947 Floriana FC
1947-1948 Sliema Wanderers FC
1948-1949 Floriana FC
1949-1950 Floriana FC
1950-1951 Sliema Wanderers FC
1951-1952 Sliema Wanderers FC
1952-1953 Floriana FC
1953-1954 Floriana FC
1954-1955 Floriana FC
1955-1956 Sliema Wanderers FC
1956-1957 Floriana FC
1957-1958 Floriana FC
1958-1959 Sliema Wanderers FC
1959-1960 Valletta FC
1960-1961 Floriana FC
1961-1962 Hibernians FC
1962-1963 Sliema Wanderers FC
1963-1964 Valletta FC
1964-1965 Sliema Wanderers FC
1965-1966 Floriana FC
1966-1967 Floriana FC
1967-1968 Sliema Wanderers FC
1968-1969 Sliema Wanderers FC
1969-1970 Hibernians FC
1970-1971 Hibernians FC
1971-1972 Floriana FC
1972-1973 Gzira United FC
1973-1974 Sliema Wanderers FC
1974-1975 Valletta FC
1975-1976 Floriana FC
1976-1977 Valletta FC
1977-1978 Valletta FC
1978-1979 Sliema Wanderers FC
1979-1980 Hibernians FC
1980-1981 Floriana FC
1981-1982 Hibernians FC
1982-1983 Hamrun Spartans FC
1983-1984 Hamrun Spartans FC
1984-1985 Zurrieq FC
1985-1986 Rabat Ajax FC
1986-1987 Hamrun Spartans FC
1987-1988 Hamrun Spartans FC
1988-1989 Hamrun Spartans FC
1989-1990 Sliema Wanderers FC
1990-1991 Valletta FC
1991-1992 Hamrun Spartans FC
1992-1993 Floriana FC
1993-1994 Floriana FC
1994-1995 Valletta FC
1995-1996 Valletta FC
1996-1997 Valletta FC
1997-1998 Hibernians FC
1998-1999 Valletta FC
1999-2000 Sliema Wanderers FC
2000-2001 Valletta FC
2001-2002 Birkirkara FC
2002-2003 Birkirkara FC
2003-2004 Sliema Wanderers FC
2004-2005 Birkirkara FC
2005-2006 Hibernians FC
2006-2007 Hibernians FC
2007-2008 Birkirkara FC
2008-2009 Sliema Wanderers FC
2009-2010 Valletta FC
2010-2011 Floriana FC
2011-2012 Hibernians FC
2012-2013 Hibernians FC
2013-2014 Valletta FC
2014-2015 Birkirkara FC
2015-2016 Sliema Wanderers FC
2016-2017 Floriana FC
2017-2018 Valletta FC
2018-2019 Balzan FC
2019-2020 Competition started but discontinued
2020-2021 Competition started but discontinued

Club call
Sliema Wanderers FC – 21 wins
Floriana FC – 20
Valletta FC– 14
Hibernians FC -10
Hamrun Spartans FC – 6
Birkirkara FC – 5
Melita FC, Gzira United FC, Zurrieq FC, Rabat Ajax FC and Balzan FC – 1