Imanol Iriberri gave Hibernians an early lead but Balzan equalised before the interval through Steve Pisani stunner. Seven minutes from time, Hibernians were awarded a penalty which Imanol Iriberri converted and which proved to be the winner.
For this game Balzan had to do without suspended Nenad Sljivic, serving his third match suspension, while suspended Ricardo Correa was replaced by Arthur Faria Machado. On the other end Hibernians preferred Matthew Calleja Cremona between the goalposts instead of Marko Jovicic while Ferdinando Apap replaced Timothy Tabone Desira in the starting line-up.
Kampjonat Premier: Hibernians 2-1 Balzan F.C.
Posted by L-ARGUMENT on Sunday, November 24, 2019
In this highly contested game, play was more or less balanced in the first half and the result of 1-1 was fair.
Hibernians took an early lead as in the 8th minute when off a corner from the right taken by Jake Grech, unmarked IMANOL IRIBERRI rose high to head home.
Balzan tried hard to get back into the picture though they were finding it hard to penetrate the compact Hibernians defence and test goalie Calleja Cremona seriously.
In the 19th minute, Balzan had their first attempt through an Arthur Faria Machado direct free kick which ending just over the bar
In the 26th minute, Hibernians threatened with an Imanol Iriberri effort from the right which was deflected by Michael Johnson who almost committed an own goal in a bid to clear to safety, with the ball ending just over the bar.
Heavy rainfall which hit the round for around ten minutes slowed down the game’s momentum. However in the 39th minute, Balzan managed to equalise when, following an assist by Uros Ljubomirac, a powerful drive by STEVEN PISANI from outside the area gave goalkeeper Matthew Calleja Cremona no chance, with the ball finishing at the top left corner of the net.
In added time, Hibernians went close when off a cross from the left by Jake Grech, Imanol Iriberri headed the ball into the direction of Ferdinando Apap whose header from close-range finished just over the bar, though the referee whistled for a foul on goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski.
Hibernians held the iniative after the break and two minutes in the second half, Joseph Mbong served Jake Grech whose shot from the right was blocked by goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski.
In the 57th minute, off a cross from the left by Gabi Izquier, Imanol Iriberri’s low shot was partially saved by Kristijan Naumovski with the ball being cleared into a corner by a defender. From the resulting corner taken by Leonardo Nanni, Andrei Agius headed wide.
In 65th minute, Balzan were awarded an indirect free-kick inside the area after Calleja Cremona handled the ball following a back pass. The free-kick taken Andrija Majdevac was deflected by a defender onto the crossbar and into a corner.
In the 74th minute, substitute Alfred Effiong set Majdevac on the left. The latter dribbled his way into the area, but his effort was saved by goalkeeper Matthew Calleja Cremona.
10 minutes from time, Andrija Majdevac went close once again when he concluded a good move on the left with his low shot being turned into a corner by goalkeeper Matthew Calleja Cremona.
However three minutes later, Hibernians notched the winner when they were awarded a penalty after substitute Jens Wemmer was judged to be fouled inside the area by substitute Ryan Scicluna and from the penalty spot IMANOL IRIBERRI made no mistake.
In added time, Hibernians could have extended the lead when in a counter attack, Terence Groothusen served Jurgen Degabriele who rounded the goalkeeper but his conclusion was blocked by Augustine Loof.
HIBERNIANS: Matthew Calleja Cremona, Ferdinando Apap, Marcio Leonardo Barbosa da Silveira, Joseph Mbong, Jake Grech (Jurgen Degabriele 81′), Bjorn Kristensen, Dunstan Vella, Gabriel Izquier, Andrei Agius, Leonardo Nanni (Jens Wimmer 74’), Imanol Iriberri (Terrence Groothusen 88’).
BALZAN: Kristijan Naumovski, Augustine Loof, Aleksandar Kosoric, Steve Pisani, Steve Bezzina, Michael Johnson, Paul Fenech, Uros Ljubomirac, Stefan Dimic ( Alfred Effiong 72’), Arthur Faria Machado (Ryan Scicluna 81′), Andrija Majdevac.
Referee: Emauel Grech
BOV Player of the Match: Jake Grech
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