Balzan managed to beat Sliema Wanderers 3 – 1 and are now, in fourth place, on level points with the Sliema W together with Hamrun S.
Following the draw with Hamrun in their last league outing, Balzan made three changes as Steve Bezzina, Harry Ascroft and Milos Lepovic were replaced by Michael Johnson, Ivan Bozovic and Sean Cipriott. On the other end, following the the last game win of Sliema over Qormi, Kurt Shaw, Goran Adamovic, Mark Scerri and Frank Temile were preferred to Jonathan Pearson, Ryan Fenech, Kilian Amehi and Younes Marzouk.
Highlights of our hard fought 3-1 win vs Sliema…👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼Please come support our boys on Thursday battle out the Super Cup Final vs Valletta at Ta’Qali kicking off at 3pm#ForzaBalzan
Posted by Balzan F.C. on Saturday, December 8, 2018
The first half was mostly quite as a lot of midfield play ensued, with neither side showing creativity. Both defenses were on top of their opposing strikers. Balzan took a lot of time to settle down, allowing Sliema to take the initiative but in the second half, they woke up to their responsibilities and threatened to take the lead on more than one occasion.
On the 11th minute, Sliema created the first chance of the match. From a free-kick, Matias Muchardi unleashed a powerful shot that forced an excellent save from goalkeeper Steve Sultana.
Nine minutes later, a Jefferson de Assis low effort was neutralised by Sultana.
Balzan reacted and on the 37th minute, Alex Da Paixao Alves (Lecao) drilled a low shot from distance that was neutralised by goalkeeper Jake Galea.
Two minutes from half-time Lecao threatened Sliema again when his powerful shot that was parried by Jake Galea.
In the 43rd minute, Jake Galea blocked a fine effort Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes (Kadu), direct from a corner from the left.
On the brink of half-time, Balzan were unlucky not to open the score when Sean Cipriott fired a shot from distance that stamped off the upright.
Two minutes into the second half, Sliema forged ahead. MATIAS MUCHARDI managed to slot the ball past Balzan goalkeeper Steve Sultana with a well-taken direct free-kick from the edge of the box on the left.
At first, the referee was about to disallow the goal after the assistant referee signaled an infringement but eventually, to the joy of the Sliema players and supporters, the referee pointed to the center spot.
Two minutes later, Sliema went close to doubling the score when a Frank Temile’s effort from outside the area, just missed the target.
Balzan were back in the match in the 68th minute when they drew level. Following a corner taken by Kadu, a melee ensued in the Sliema box and after the defense failed twice to clear finally ALFRED EFFIONG finished the ball inside the net, from close range.
Seven minutes from time, Balzan made it 2-1. Following another corner from the right by Kadu, which created havoc inside the area, MICHAEL JOHNSON was in the right place to head the ball home.
On the 89th minute Balzan sealed the issue with a third goal. In a swift counter attack, Kadu released Alfred Effiong on the left and who in turn set ANDRIJA MADJEVAC whose low shot was deflected by Michele Sansone, ending at the back of the net.
SLIEMA : Jake Galea, Matias Muchardi, Kurt Shaw, Mark Scerri, Jefferson de Assis, Nii Nortey Ashong, Frank Temile, Michele Sansone, Claudio Pani, Goran Adamovic, Stefano Bianciardi.
BALZAN: Steve Sultana, Justin Grioli, Nenad Sljivic (Dale Camilleri 90’), Alex da Paixao Alves (Siraj Arab Eddin 91’), Michael Johnson, Alfred Effiong, Uros Ljubomirac, Ivan Bozovic, Elkin Serrano, Carlos Eduardo de Fiori Mendes, Sean Cipriott (Andrija Majdevac 52’).
Referee: Philip Farrugia
BOV Player of the Match: Matias Muchardi