Saturday 12th February 2017: Balzan lost their last game of the second round against Sliema Wanderers 1 – 2 and finished losing the first place in the table to Hibernians.
Balzan had two changes from the team which defeated Hamrun as Ivan Janjusevic and Matteo Piciollo were replaced with Christian Cassar, Clive Brincat while they had to do without suspended Dylan Grima and injured Abdelkarim Nafti. On the other hand, Sliema had Stefano Bianciardi and Wisdom Salomon replacing Gabriel Aquilina and Mandinho.
Balzan started well and came close after nine minutes. Matteo Piciollo fed Bojan Kaljevic who dribbled past his marker and his low drive was palmed to a corner by goalkeeper Giuseppe Sarao.
In the 12th minute, Sliema tried to respond as Frank Temile’s cross was connected by Riccardo Correa but he headed wide.
Balzan had another chance when Matteo Picciollo tried his luck but goalkeeper Correa was there to save.
However, in the 37th minute, Sliema in their first real attempt to goal managed to take the lead. Salomon Wisdom passed the ball to Frank Temile and off the latter’s assist JEAN PAUL FARRUGIA managed to beat goalkeeper Christian Cassar from close range.
Balzan came out in the second half looking for an equaliser and were close on the 47th minute when a direct free-kick taken by Ryan Fenech forced a good save from Giuseppe Sarao.
Balzan managed to equalize four minutes later when, off a dipping cross from the left by Alan Da Silva Souza, BOJAN KALJEVIC headed into the top far corner past goalkeeper Sarao.
On the 55th minute, Alan Da Silva Souza dribbled his way past a couple of defenders on the right but instead of passing to his team-mates who were in a better position opted to shoot but goalkeeper Sarao was there to save.
In the 78th minute, goalkeeper Giuseppe Sarao came to Sliema’s rescue when he showed great reflexes to keep out an effort from very close range by Alfred Effiong.
Despite their insistence Balzan paid dearly for their lost chances. Against the way of play, in the 82nd minute, Sliema notched the winning goal. In an isolated counter attack, off an assist by Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte from the left, substitute Ryan Spiteri finished the ball past goalkeeper Christian Cassar.