Balzan failed to keep the pace with Valletta, who beat Gzira, as they left the field empty handed against Hibernians. They were disappointed once again as in the moment of truth they finish in the runner-up position for the second consecutive year.

At the beginning of the game the goal opportunities were few with the first chance coming in the 10th minute from a cross by Ryan Fenech which Michael Johnson finished wide.

Hibernians hit back with a shot by Jackson Lima which finished well over the cross bar.

In the 16th minute Hibernians had the best chance to open the score when goalkeeper Ivan Janjusevic failed to clear and lost a tackle with Jurgen Degabriele who’s shot at an open goal was cleared off the goal line, with extreme difficulty, by Elkin Serrano Valero. The Balzan goalkeeper was also injured in this action, but somehow he struggled to finish the first half.

Balzan hit back on the 23rd minute when Steve Bezzina delivered a cross, from the left, towards Bojan Kaljevic whose header finished slightly over.

On the half hour Jurgen Degabriele served Joseph Mbong who dribbled his way into the area but his weak shot was easily saved by Ivan Janjusevic.

Just before the break a powerful shot by Johan Bezzina was blocked by Bojan Kaljevic who had to be assisted by Balzan’s medical staff.

After the break Balzan made a forced substitution, replacing injured goalkeeper Ivan Janjusevic with Sean Mintoff.

Alfred Effiong created the first chance of the second half, but his effort finished wide.

Hibernians broke the deadlock on the 56th minute. Following a corner taken by Jackson Lima, Rodolfo Soares headed the ball towards CLAYTON FAILLA who, from close range, headed the ball home.

This goal shocked Balzan and made their game a complete uphill. They opted to push forward but Hibernians were dangerous in the counter attacks.

In the 73rd minute, Alfred Effiong sent a cross from the right that finished into the path of Alex da Paixao Alves whose shot ended just over the crossbar.

In the 86th minute, Johann Bezzina’s powerful shot from a distance forced a great save from goalkeeper Sean Mintoff.

Balzan pushed hard in the latter stages of the match, but could not find a way past the dense Hibernians defence.

HIBERNIANS : Andrew Hogg, Marcelo Dias, Rui da Gracia Gomes, Andrei Agius, Clayton Failla, Rodolfo Soares, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Dunstan Vella (Conner Zammit 81′), Johann Bezzina, Jurgen Degabriele (Arlindo Oliveira Neto 85′), Joseph Mbong (Martin Kreuzriegler 68′).

BALZAN : Ivan Janjusevic (Sean Mintoff 46′), Bojan Kaljevic, Ivan Bozovic, Alex da Paixao Avles, Elkin Serrano Valero, Paul Fenech, Ryan Fenech (Siraj Arab Eddin 60′), Steve Bezzina, Alfred Effiong, Michael Johnson, Milos Lepovic (Justin Grioli 73′).

Referee: Glen Tonna

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