Sunday 19th February 2017 : Ten man Tarxien vaulted over Balzan, six minutes into stoppage time of extra-time to seize a place in the FA Trophy semi-final this afternoon.
Tarxien soaked up the pressure and punished Balzan’s flat-out approach when Samir Arab bundled in that late and fateful own goal.
The first action of note came from Tarxien inside the first five minutes when Daniel Ponce delivered an inviting cross from the right, Nilsson’s movement unhinged the Balzan defence as the ball ran clear to Baker at the far post but the Nigerian defender failed to make any contact with the ball.
Not long afterwards, an exquisite interchange between Alan da Silva Souza and Paul Fenech culminated with the latter driving a shot that had goal written all over it but Andrea Cassar managed to get a touch to the ball and blocked it.
Just when it seemed that Tarxien had weathered the storm, Balzan broke the deadlock two minutes from half-time. Kaljevic powered clear on the right before guiding a pass towards the advancing LYDON MICALLEF, but as Cassar dashed off his line, Baker slid in to intercept the ball but he only managed to roll it into his own net.
The Rainbows pushed forward in search of an equaliser after the change of ends. That was delivered when Alex de Paixo Alves ran across the edge of the penalty area before releasing the running Nilsson who was brought down by Samir Arab in the box and the referee promptly pointed to the spot. TRISTON CARUANA sent a low shot into the bottom-left corner of the net.
From hero, Caruana turned to zero, as he was expelled 14 minutes from time after picking up a second card for a foul on Milos Lepovic.
As the game drifted into its final stages, Balzan again piled on the pressure but the game went into extra-time.
Balzan now seized control and Paul Fenech made inroads on the right before laying the ball to Piciollo who saw his low shot blocked by Cassar after 104 minutes.
When the second half of extra-time started, Cassar pulled off another superb save from Alfred Effiong’s high-riser after being served by Abdelakrim Nafti’s intelligent back-heel.
But Tarxien struck on 114 minutes. The danger came from the right as Nilsson powered a shot towards goal and Samir Arab skewed the ball over the stranded Janjusevic and into his own net for an agonising last-gasp own goal.
Cassar further endeared himself to the Tarxien fans with a last save from Bojan Kaljevic’s scorcher.