Europa League - Qualifying Second Round
LinfieldLinfield0Floriana FCFloriana FC1

Europa League: Linfield beaten by Floriana in Windsor qualifier

Floriana end 10-man Linfield's European hopes

Matias Nicolas Garcia's early strike condemned 10-man Linfield to a disappointing 1-0 defeat by Maltese side Floriana in the Europa League qualifier.

Garcia's shot deflected off Ross Larkin and flew into the bottom corner after nine minutes at Windsor Park.

A sluggish and disjointed Linfield side failed to mount a sustained response but they improved in the second half.

Floriana keeper Ini Akpan made two superb saves while Larkin was sent-off for two yellows with 16 minutes left.

David Healy's side impressed despite losing 1-0 to Legia Warsaw in last month's Champions League qualifier but this was a largely tepid display against a resolute Floriana side.

The Maltese champions, who won their national title for the first time in 27 years last season, chalked up just a fifth win in 66 European games thanks mainly to an excellent opening in Belfast.

Threat on the counter

Garcia's goal capped a confident start and Floriana continued to threaten on the counter-attack as Linfield mustered just one shot on target in the first half.

That came 44 minutes in with midfielder Bastien Hery sending his powerful effort straight at Akpan.

Linfield upped the pace on the restart and Akpan produced a great block to deny Stephen Fallon before Hery hooked wide from the follow-up.

Linfield defender Jimmy Callacher is denied by Floriana keeper Ini Akpan
Linfield defender Jimmy Callacher is denied by Floriana keeper Ini Akpan

Floriana now posed only an occasional threat - Venancio fizzed just wide - but they remained organised and firm in defence as the Blues began pushing for an equaliser.

Linfield substitute Andrew Waterworth came close to scoring with his first touch of the game as the striker swivelled and fired over.

Larkin had no complaints for his dismissal on 74 minutes, with his high challenge bringing down Uli Arias as he tried to cover for a mistake by team-mate Ethan Boyle.

Akpan again came to Floriana's rescue in injury time with a wonderful reflex save from Jimmy Callacher's header before Christopher Maginza volleyed wide with Linfield's final chance.

Floriana's reward is a home third-round qualifier against Estonia's Flora Tallinn next Thursday.

Line-ups

Linfield

  • 1Johns
  • 3LarkinBooked at 74mins
  • 24Boyle
  • 15NasseriSubstituted forManzingaat 61'minutes
  • 16ClarkeBooked at 29minsSubstituted forWaterworthat 62'minutes
  • 6CallacherBooked at 72mins
  • 14LaveryBooked at 51mins
  • 20FallonBooked at 20mins
  • 22Mulgrew
  • 21HérySubstituted forKearnsat 78'minutes
  • 31Quinn

Substitutes

  • 2Stafford
  • 7Waterworth
  • 9Manzinga
  • 17Kearns
  • 18McClean
  • 25Pepper
  • 40Moore

Floriana FC

  • 12Akpan
  • 29Dias
  • 6Ruíz
  • 7Venancio da SilvaBooked at 65mins
  • 94Camenzuli
  • 8LeoneBooked at 68mins
  • 17Pisani
  • 9KeqiSubstituted fordos Santos da Silva Cheveresanat 83'minutes
  • 99Fonseca
  • 20GarciaBooked at 59mins
  • 11PaiberSubstituted forAriasat 61'minutesSubstituted forBeyeat 86'minutes

Substitutes

  • 1Cassar
  • 5Beye
  • 10Arias
  • 22Cini
  • 27dos Santos da Silva Cheveresan
  • 30Busuttil
  • 96Agius
Referee:
David Munro

As It Stood

A

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sevilla65011431115
2Apoel Nicosia6312108210
3FK Qarabag6123811-35
4F91 Dudelange6114818-104

B

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Malmö FF632186211
2FC Copenhagen62315419
3Dynamo Kyiv61417707
4Lugano603325-33

C

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Basel6411124813
2Getafe640284412
3FK Krasnodar6303711-49
4Trabzonspor6015311-81

D

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1LASK6411114713
2Sporting6402117412
3PSV Eindhoven6222912-38
4Rosenborg6015311-81

E

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Celtic6411106413
2CFR Cluj640264212
3Lazio620469-36
4Rennes611458-34

F

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Arsenal6321147711
2Frankfurt6303810-29
3Standard Liege6222810-28
4Vitória Guimarães6123710-35

G

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1FC Porto631289-110
2Rangers62318629
3Young Boys62228718
4Feyenoord612379-25

H

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Espanyol6321124811
2Ludogorets6222101008
3Ferencvárosi TC614157-27
4CSKA Moscow612339-65

I

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1KAA Gent6330117412
2Wolfsburg632197211
3Saint-Étienne604268-24
4Oleksandria6033610-43

J

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Istanbul Basaksehir631279-210
2Roma623112669
3B Mgladbach622269-38
4RZ Pellets WAC612378-15

K

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Sporting Braga6420159614
2Wolves6411115613
3Slovan Bratislava61141013-34
4Besiktas6105615-93

L

TeamPWDLFAGDPts
1Man Utd6411102813
2AZ Alkmaar623115879
3Partizan Belgrade6222101008
4FC Astana6105419-153
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