Friday 4th November 2016 – Balzan dropped another two points as they were held in a 1-1 draw by Sliema Wanderers. With this draw Balzan ensures they retain the top spot for at least another two weeks.
Highlights of Friday's 1-1 draw with Sliema which ended our first round commitments with Balzan in the leading pack.There's a long way to go yet – COME ON BOYS !#ForzaBalzan #iml #bet90 #joma #powerade
Posted by Balzan F.C. on Sunday, November 6, 2016
Balzan had to do without suspended Alfred Effiong, Lydon Micallef, Elkin Serrano Valero and goalkeeper Chris Cassar while they welcomed back, on the reserve benches, injured Anderson De Barros and Ryan Fenech, On the other end, Sliema had four changes from their last game as Stefano Bianciardi, Peter Xuereb, Denni Rocha dos Santos and John Mintoff replaced injured Mark Scerri, Wisdom Salmon, Gabriel Aquilina and Ryan Spiteri.
It was a fair result in an evenly balanced game in which Balzan showed the best ideas in the first half while Sliema came back strongly in the second during which they equalised. However on the 78th minute, the game was overshadowed by a serious injury to Balzan forward Abdelkarim Nafti.
In the first half, most of the play was held in midfield with Balzan having a couple of chances through Abdelkarim Nafti, Matteo Piciollo and Kaljevic, which none of them found the target.
Sliema threatened first on the 10th minute when Mattias Muccardi’s fine effort from the edge of the area, ended just wide of target.
Soon after, at the other end, goalkeeper Glenn Zammit had to rush out of his place to clear ahead of the advancing Bojan Kaljevic.
In the 14th minute, Nafti’s shot was too central and easy prey for Glenn Zammit.
In the 18th minute, Matteo Piciollo attempted a shot at goal from an acute angle but his shot finished wide.
Balzan had another good chance on 24 minutes, but Kaljevic hit weakly from an ideal position and Zammit could save with ease
In the 31st minute Alan da Silva Souza went close as his shot, from a distance, finished inches away from home.
Three minutes later, on the other side a shot form a distance by Matias Muccardi finished just over the bar.
Balzan took the lead on the a minute before half time when Paul Fenech set BOJAN KALJEVIC who in turn managed to beat goalkeeper Glenn Zammit with a powerful shot from outside the area, with the ball hitting the crossbar before finishing at the back of the net.
In the second half, Sliema came out in search for an equalizer. They put everything in front and forced Balzan to defend and operate with counterattacks.
In the 52nd minute, Balzan goalkeeper ivan Janjusevic denied Sliema the equaliser when he pushed away Marko Potezica’s dangerous strike.
On the hour a free-kick taken by Denni Dos Santos drifted past the defensive wall but the ball finished harmlessly past the upright.
A minute later, Jean Paul Farrugia headed narrowly wide after connected a corner-kick taken by Denni Dos Santos.
However in the 62nd minute Sliema equalised when Ivan Janjusevic turned into a corner a powerful drive by Peter Xuereb. Following the resulting corner from the left, Denni Dos Santos sent a cross which Mathias Muchardi connected and headed home past Janjusevic.
Sliema insisted but found it hard to penetrate the dense Balzan defence.
On the 79th minute, Balzan could have regained the lead when, following a cross from the right by Paul Fenech, Abdelkarim Nafti anticipated the goalkeeper Glenn Zammit but was unlucky to hit the foot of the post with the ball eventually being cleared by the defence.
In this incident, Nafti was injured seriously so much so that an ambulance entered the pitch near the goalpost which took him to hospital.
Till the end, both sets of defences never yielded an inch as the two teams appeared content with the result.
SLIEMA WANDERERS :Glenn Zammit, Alex Muscat (Ryan Spiteri 71′), Gary Muir, Roger de Souza Villas Boas, Stefano Bianciardi, John Mintoff, Mathias Muchardi (Gabriel Aquilina 78′), Marko Potezica, Peter Xuereb, Jean Paul Farrugia (Milos Galin 90′), Denni Rocha dos Santos.
BALZAN : Ivan Janjusevic, Paul Fenech, Samir Arab, Bojan Kalevic, Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, Steve Bezzina, Clive Brincat, Abdelkarim Nafti (Terence Agius 85′), Dylan Grima (Anderson Francisco de Barros 48′), Matteo Piciollo (Paul Lapira 90+2′), Alan da Silva Souza.