Match Details
Season :
Date :
17th September 2020
Competition :
Europa League
Venue :
Windsor Park
Referee :
David Munro
Floriana FC Scorer :
Garcia 9'
Linfield Yellow Cards :
Clarke, Lavery, Larkin X2
Linfield Red Card :
Larkin 73'
Linfield Team :
Chris Johns (GK), Ethan Boyle, Jimmy Callacher, Ross Larkin, Matthew Clarke (Christy Manzinga 60'), Stephen Fallon, Jamie Mulgrew (C), Bastien Hery (Daniel Kearns 77'), Navid Nasseri (Andy Waterworth 60'),Niall Quinn, Shayne Lavery
Linfield Subs not used :
Moore, Stafford, Pepper, McClean
Linfield did everything but score and paid the ultimate price in their UEFA Europa League Second Round Qualifier behind closed doors against Floriana at Windsor Park this evening as Garcia’s deflected shot early on turned out to be the winner.

After a bright start, the visitors took the lead on nine minutes. The Maltese champions looked dangerous every time the ball was turned over and it was a well-worked opener as they typically worked it quickly, hitting target man Tiago Adam Fonseca with his back to goal and he teed up Matias Nicolas Garcia whose low shot from 20 yards was deflected into the bottom corner.

The Blues reacted in a positive manner, winning a series of set-pieces before Niall Quinn’s whipped free-kick to the back post was hit into the side netting by the back-peddling Jimmy Callacher.

Linfield’s best spell of the first half came at the tail end of it. Firstly, Jamie Mulgrew burst past two men with a drop of the shoulder before slipping it to Navid Nasseri who had space to turn on the edge of the box and his shot from 20 yards was saved by the Nigerian visiting goalkeeper. Navid Nasseri’s corner was flapped at by the visiting goalkeeper and Ethan Boyle headed wide from the next corner.

The Blues went in trailing at half-time after a frustrating first half where the visitors defended well and broke so slickly when they turned the ball over. Linfield were not near their best in the opening 45.

Half Time: Linfield 0 – 1 Floriana

Linfield’s start to the second half was so much better. Shayne Lavery instantly threatened when he ran inwards from the left channel to make something out of nothing, forcing the goalkeeper into a smart save. Soon after, it really should have been 1-1. Lavery’s deflected shot fell for Fallon inside the box and his shot was well saved before Bastien Hery fired wide of the upright with the goal at his mercy.

David Healy changed things on the hour. Niall Quinn dropped into left back as Linfield went two up top as Andy Waterworth came on, and Christy Manzinga replaced Navid Nasseri on the left. This almost paid dividends instantly as Andy Waterworth turned and saw his shot deflected over. From the resulting corner, Bastien Hery headed just wide of the post.

An already tough task got even tougher on 73 minutes when Linfield were reduced to ten men. Defender Ross Larkin was given a second yellow when he was forced into a challenge as Ethan Boyle’s rash attempted clearance forced the defender to take down the onrushing striker who was otherwise through on goal.

The Blues produced a late onslaught despite being down to ten men and many will still wonder how the ball didn’t go in at the death. Linfield bodies were queuing up in the box as shot after shot was blocked on the goalmouth and then Christy Manzinga acrobatically fired over Shayne Lavery’s cross from close range. A disappointing result and ultimately missed chances came back to haunt Linfield who dominated the second half.

Full Time: Linfield 0 – 1 Floriana

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