Goals from Bojan Kaljevic and Uros Ljubomirac gave Balzan a winning start as they overcame toothless opponents Naxxar Lions.
Balzan have strengthened their squad with the signings of Serbian right wing Uros Ljubomirac, Brazilian Alex Da Paixao Alves as well as Maltese defenders Jacob Borg and Michael Johnson. Naxxar, on the other hand, had Manolito Micallef, Francesco Serafino, Marco Botta, Ameth Lo and substitute Tristan Nappa Licari making their debut while Daren Falzon made his return after spending last season on loan with Hamrun Spartans and Pembroke Athleta.
Balzan created a hatful of chances and should have won by a landslide. Balzan had more more pace, better technical ability and physicaly they were better than the newly promoted opponents. From the begining of the match it was visible that there was only going to be one winner.
As expected, Balzan dominated from the beginning. Their possession-based game was keeping their opponents pinned back in their own half for long periods.
Balzan had a good opportunity after just two minutes. Ryan Fenech won possession in the midfield area, ran towards goal, and fired a shot from outside the penalty area that went over.
On the 8th minute, Balzan threatened again. Bojan Kaljevic served Paul Fenech and the latter hit a shot that finished wide.
Two minutes later, Uros Ljubomirac received a long ball from Ryan Fenech and hit a shot that was neutralised by Omar Borg.
Balzan had another chance on the 15th minute. Following a corner by Ryan Fenech, the ball fell for Paul Fenech with his powerful drive ending up high.
On the 18th minute, Ryan Fenech tried his luck from a direct free-kick, but his shot was blocked by goalkeeper Omar Borg.
Balzan lost another great opportunity on the 22nd minute. Alex Da Paixo Alves dribbled past two defenders before firing a shot from the edge of the penalty area that ended up just wide.
Balzan insisted and went close once more on the 27th minute. Jacob Borg’s cross was met by Paul Fenech whose effort finished wide.
On the 37th minute, Balzan were unlucky not to open the score when Alfred Effiong received a through ball on the right side of the penalty area and attempted to lob the ball past Omar Borg. However he was denied by the upright.
A minute later, Balzan lost a golden opportunity. Bojan Kaljevic’s shot from distance was parried by Omar Borg. From the rebound, the same player headed over the crossbar from close range.
In an isolated counterattack, Naxxar responded on the 40th minute. Darren Falzon’s diagonal shot that was blocked by goalkeeper Ivan Janjusevic.
Balzan’s efforts paid off on the 42nd minute. From a corner kick taken by Ryan Fenech the ball fell in the path of BOJAN KALJEVIC. This time he kept his composure and managed to place the ball inside the net.
Seven minutes into the second half, Balzan had another attempt on goal. Ryan Fenech sent Uros Ljubomirac through on the right side of the penalty area, but the latter’s low shot was saved by Omar Borg.
On the 57th minute, Balzan doubled the score. Following a good run, Alfred Effiong attempted to place the ball behind Omar Borg, however, his effort was denied by the post. From the rebound, UROS LJUBOMIRAC slotted the ball home.
On the hour mark, Balzan were close to increase the score when Ryan Fenech set Michael Johnson who headed slightly over.
Five minutes later, Bojan Kaljevic hit a low shot from inside the penalty area that sailed marginally wide.
On the 78th minute, Balzan hit the post once more when Bojan Kaljevic saw his shot form a free-kick that hit the upright.
Three minutes from time, Bojan Kaljevic had another attempt from long range shot that went slightly over.
In the additional time, Darren Falzon of Naxxar fired a powerful shot from a free-kick that was well saved by Janjusevic.
Balzan : Ivan Janjusevic, Ryan Fenech, Steve Bezzina, Alex Da Paixao Alves, Paul Fenech, Bojan Kaljevic, Uros Ljubomirac (Jamie Zerafa 83’), Alfred Effiong (Lydon Micallef 63’), Jacob Borg, Bruno Gilio De Oliveira (Elkin Serrano Valero 50’), Michael Johnson
Naxxar Lions : Omar Borg, Angus Buhagiar, Darren Falzon, Francesco Serafino (Gianluca Grima 87’), Manolito Micallef, Duane Bonnici, Marco Botta, Mark Fenech, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Joel Ellul (Tristan Nappa Licari 75’), Ameth Lo
Referee: Clayton Pisani
BOV Player of the Match: Uros Ljubomirac (Balzan)