Following two consecutive draws against Valletta and Floriana, leaders Balzan made an important win over neighbours Lija Athletic taking them three points clear over second placed Valletta, as the game between other challengers Valletta and Birkirkara finished in a goaless draw.
From there last encounter in the Trophy quarter final against Lija A, Balzan had to do without suspended Elkin Serrano, regular goalkeeper Ivan Janjusevic, midfielders Ryan Fenech and Paul Fenech, defenders Steve Bezzina and Michael Johnson and striker Bojan Kaljevic. On the other hand Lija welcomed back goalkeeper Luke Bonnici while Patrick Borg and Mc Allister Clinch returned back in defence.
Balzan came out lively and in the 4th minute they won a free-kick just outside the Lija area but the direct shot by Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes (Cadu) was tipped into a corner by the goalkeeper Luke Bonnici.
In the 12th minute, a shot by Milos Lepovic finished hitting the side netting.
Two minutes later Erjon Beu tried his luck from some distance but his shot was easliy saved by Balzan goalkeeper Sean Mintoff.
A minute later the same player backheeled the ball narrowly wide, following a Lee Joe Schembri cross from the right.
On the 24th minute, an insidous cross by Alex da Paixao Alves (Lekao) was palmed out by goalkeeper Bonnici and as the ball fell to Siraj Eddin Arab, he played it towards the middle for Milos Lepovic who missed the target.
Three minutes later, Lekao crossed another ball over the top of Lija’s defence, which was headed by Uros Ljubomirac but the keeper denied him with a good save.
Balzan broke the stalemate past the half hour mark, when ALFRED EFFIONG profited from an erratic clearance from Ousmane Sidibe and made his way towards goal before chipping the ball over onrushing goalkeeper Luke Bonnici.
Balzan’s brisk start in the second half could have established a more comfortable lead,when a dangerous Siraj Eddin Arab cut-back cross was cleared to safety by Ousmane Sidibe.
In the 51st minute, goalkeeper Bonnici was providential to turn into corner, with an outstretched leg, a shot by Lekao after being served by Cadu.
Balzan increased the score on the hour mark. Following a diagonal pass by Milos Lepovic, Lekao once again dribbled his way into the box, past a couple of defenders, before being brought down by Lee Joe Schembri. The referee awarded a penalty which was converted by CARLOS EDUARDO DE FIORI MENDES.
On the 71st minute, Balzan made it 3–0 sealing the issue. Alfred Effiong dribbled his way past a couple of defenders and served SIRAJ EDDIN ARAB on the right, who advanced into the box showing great footwork and hit a low angled shot past goalkeeper Bonnici.
LIJA ATHLETIC : Luke Bonnici, McAllister Clinch (Dylan Agius 81′), Patrick Borg, Daniel Scerri, Leejoe Schembri, Aaron Sammut, Vilfor Hysa (Raphael Kooh Sohna 53′), Ousmane Sidibe, Kei Hirose, Erjon Beu, Ryan Sammut (Gabriel Borg 75′).
BALZAN : Sean Mintoff, Uros Ljubomirac, Alfred Effiong (Jamie Zerafa 76′), Harry Ascroft, Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, Ivan Bozovic, Milos Lepovic (Clive Brincat 73′), Siraj Arab Eddin, Alex da Paixao Alves, Justin Grioli (Fabio Attard 86′), Carlos Eduardo de Fiori Mendes.
Referee: Darryl Agius
BOV Player of the Match: Alex da Paixao Alves