Balzan retained the top place in the BOV Premier League after defeating St. Andrews 3 – 1.
Balzan remained unbeaten in their last 13 league matches, since ironically they lost thier only game to opponents St Andrews way back in August.
In the first half Balzan struggled against a solid St Andrews defence. However things turned out in Balzan’s favour as St Andrews missed a great chance to take the lead after 11 minutes when they were awarded a penalty, which goalkeeper Mintoff saved and then they themselves were awarded a late first half penalty which broke the deadlock. Balzan added two more goals in the second half which eased their way to victory, with St Andrews scoring a consolation goal, deep in the added time.
The first opportunity of the match came to Balzan in the 3rd minute. Alex Da Paixao Alves (Lekao) saw his shot blocked and finishing into a corner.
On the 11th minute St Andrews reacted and following a fast break by Kemar Reid they were awarded a penalty, after he was brought down by Bruno Gilio de Oliveira inside the penalty area. However, Joseph Farrugia’s feeble shot from the penalty spot was saved by Sean Mintoff without much difficulty.
On the other end Matthew Calleja Cremona save a couple of attempts by Lekao and Justin Grioli.
Sean Mintoff was on the alert once more on the 19th minute as he managed to neutralise a Jacob Walker’s effort from distance.
Balzan replied on the half hour mark. Uros Ljubomirac fired a low shot from close range that forced Matthew Calleja Cremona to make a good save. From the rebound Lekao saw his effort cleared away to safety by Liam Grech.
On the 35th minute, Balzan went close again. Ryan Fenech sent a dangerous cross in the direction of Bojan Kaljevic who failed to connect.
Balzan’s efforts paid off just before half time. Tristan Grant floored Lekao inside the penalty area and the referee awarded a penalty. From the penalty spot, BOJAN KALJEVIC made no mistake.
In the second Balzan replaced Ryan Fenech with Alfred Effiong in a bid to increase the punch in front. This gave fruit as after 5 minutes they doubled the score. Following a cross by Lekao, Bojan Kaljevic saw his header hitting the post. The rebound fell into the path of ALFRED EFFIONG’s who quickly finished off past Calleja Cremona.
Suddenly St Andrews were find it very hard to cope with their opponents and injury to Atkinson complicated matters further.
On the 58th minute goalkeeper Calleja Cremona was called to block Lekao’s shot.
On the other end, three minutes later Balzan keeper Mintoff was forced to make a good save over a direct free-kick by Joseph Farrugia.
In the 70th minute Bojan Kaljevic reached for Ljubomirac’s cross before the Joseph Farrugia, but failed finish home.
Balzan sealed the issue on the 77th minute. BOJAN KALJEVIC headed home his second goal after receiving a perfect pass, from the right, from Lekao.
In added time, St. Andrews scored a consolation goal thanks to a stunning shot from the right by MISAEL MIRANDA GOMEZ which gave goalkeeper Sean Mintoff no chance.
BALZAN : Sean Mintoff, Steve Bezzina, Alex da Paixao Alves, Elkin Serrano Valero, Uros Ljubomirac, Ryan Fenech (Alfred Effiong 46′), Bojan Kaljevic, Paul Fenech, Milos Lepovic (Jamie Zerafa 64′), Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, Justin Grioli (Jacob Borg 74′).
ST. ANDREWS : Matthew Calleja Cremona, Liam Grech, Adrian Borg, Misael Miranda Gomez, Kemar Reid, Marcus Grima, Joseph Farrugia, Matthew Gauci, Kevaughn Atkinson (Alexander Satariano 56′), Jacob Walker (Ricardo Martin 77′), Tristan Grant.
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
BOV Player of the Match: Alex da Paixao Alves (Lekao)