Balzan rescued a late point against Ħamrun Spartans due to a penalty incident which came four minutes from time when following a shot by Samir Arab the ball was handled by substitute Ige Adeshina.
Apart from controversial ending, the match developed into an entertaining and tactical football alternating with swinging play which often ended with hot action in the penalty areas.
It was a game which could so easily have gone both sides and the end result is a fair outcome.
Hamrun made three changes after their last game which they lost to Birkirkara. Ige Adeshina and Imanol Iriberri made way for Darren Borg and Predrag Djordevic while their goalkeeper Pablo Guillermo Sanchez was replaced by Jonathan Debono. On the other side, Balzan had to do without the suspended defender Moussa Kamara.
In the opening minutes, Ħamrun assumed control with Predag Djordjevic taking over in midfield, with Joseph Mbong and Juan Corbalan attacking from deep at every opportunity.
In the 15th minute, Hamrun took the lead as PREDAG DJORDJEVIC dashed into the box to connect to Joseph Mbong’s short pass and fired the ball into the far corner.
After conceding this goal, Balzan increased their effort but they only looked like scoring from sporadic moves.
In the 21st minute, Balzan were forced to replace their goalkeeper Sean Mintoff, who had to leave the pitch through injury, with his substitute Vukasin Vranes. Despite this setback, they continued to threaten.
In the 26th minute, Eric McWoods sent a cross from the left but young striker Suleiman Jalu failed to connect, when in front of goal.
Four minutes from half-time, Balzan were rewarded for their efforts. Following a corner taken by Steven Pisani, MICHAEL JOHNSON rose unmarked to direct a header past helpless Jonathan Debono.
In the 44th minute, Michael Johnson rescued his team by clearing Marcelo Barbosa’s effort off the line. From the rebound, Predag Djordjevic shot incredibly wide in front of goal.
After the break, Balzan had a good chance when a cross-shot by Mc Woods’s across the face of goal was missed by both Suleiman Jalu and Weverton Gomes Souza.
In the 48th minute, a powerful shot from 20 metres by Paul Fenech was palmed over the crossbar by Jonathan Debono.
In the 63rd minute, Hamrun started to look more likely to snatch a winner when they replaced Franklin Sasere with Imanol Iriberri.
Two minutes later, Hamrun increased their power in front when they introduced Ailton Jorge Soares in the place of Marcelo Barbosa Junior.
In the 67th minute, Hamrun went in front for the second time, when from a cross by Matthew Guillaumier, PREDAG DJORDJEVIC lost his marker to finish with a header past goalkeeper Vukasin Vranes.
Having established some degree of dominance, Ħamrun bombarded the Balzan goal.
In the 71st minute, Imanol Iriberri’s effort brought full-stretch save from Vukasin Vranes.
Minutes later a cushioned ball by Ailton Jorge Soares reached Joseph Mbong unmarked at the far post but his shot, from close range, finished wide.
Balzan insisted largely with midfielders Paul Fenech and Steven Pisani feeding the forwards, teasing the Ħamrun defenders.
In the 81st minute, Eric Mc Woods sensed a half chance and his shot on the turn brought a fine save from Jonathan Debono.
Four minutes from time, substitute Ige Adeshina handled the ball in the area and the referee signalled a penalty. AUGUSTINE LOOF did not fail to bring the score level from the spot.
BALZAN :Sean Mintoff (Vukasin Vranes 22’), Augustine Loof, Samir Arab, Paul Fenech, Eric McWoods, Steve Pisani, Steve Bezzina (William Donkin 84’), Michael Johnson, Uros Ljubomirac, Suleiman Jalu, Weverton Souza Gomes (Alfred Effiong 72’).
HAMRUN S : Jonathan Debono, Matthew Guillaumier, Joseph Mbong, Franklin Sasere (Imanol Iriberri 63’), Elkin Serrano, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Predrag Djordjevic (Ige Adeshina 80’), Karl Micallef, Marcelo Barbosa Junior (Ailton Jorge Soares 66’), Emerson Marcelina, Darren Borg.
Referee: Philip Farrugia
BOV Player of the Match: Predrag Djordjevic