A goal on the hour by Arthur Faria Machado helped Balzan to beat Gudja U and return to winning form.

For this game Balzan had to do without suspended midfielder Paul Fenech, and injured Uros Ljubomirac and Andrija Majdevac, while their regular goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski was missing from the line-up and hiss place taken by Sean Mintoff. On the other end Gudja had all players at their disposal but, from their last game, made two changes to the team as Allan Ricardo Miranda and Llywelyn Cremona were preferred to Zack Cassar and Alexandre Santana.

Balzan had an edge over their opponents throughout the game and once they managed to take the lead, they never seemed in danger of dropping any points.



In the first half most of the play was held in midfield, with neither side creating any clear-cut chances. In the early stages Balzan took the initiative in midfield and put everything on the attack though they never threatened seriously to score. Gudja came back into the match and started sharing the exchanges, but found it really tough to get past a well organised Balzan defence.

In the second half play improved a little, but Balzan perhaps merited to score what proved to be the winner as they showed more initiative than their opponents who only pressed hard to obtain an equaliser in the last 10 minutes.

Balzan had the first attempt to goal after just five minutes when Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte tested goalkeeper Timothy Aquilina with a free kick from the right.

In the 12th minute, Justin Grioli sent a cross to Gabriel Mensah who made his way into the box but his effort passed across goal with nobody to connect.

In the 15th minute, at the other end, Steven Pisani served Ricardo Correa whose effort was blocked to a corner by Juan Andres Bolanos and two minutes after another good effort by Correa was blocked by goalkeeper Timothy Aquilina, with the ball then being cleared to a corner.

In the 18th minute, from another cross by Correa, Augustine Loof saw his header finishing against the side netting.

In the 21st minute, from another Correa cross, Alfred Effiong saw his first timer blocked by a defender to corner.

Balzan went close again in the 25th minute, Stefan Dimic tried his luck from outside the area, but his shot finished over the bar.

In the 31st minute, Balzan goalkeeper Sean Mintoff did well to rush out of his place to clear the ball as Gabriel Mensah threatened to make the most of a bad defensive clearance.

Eight minutes from the end of the first half, an angled shot by Ricardo Correa was saved by Timothy Aquilina.

The second half started on a slow note and in the 56th minute Stefan Dimic received a long ball from Ivan Bozovic and advanced into the Gudja area only to see goalkeeper Timothy Aquilina block his effort.

Balzan managed to break the deadlock on the hour when Ivan Bozovic released Alfred Effiong on the right who in turn rounded a defender and sent a low cross to ARTHUR FARIA who controlled the ball well and managed to beat goalkeeper Timothy Aquilina.

Balzan went close again on the 66th minute when Ricardo Correa hit a powerful shot from distance that was palmed by Timothy Aquilina.

In the 79th minute, Steven Pisani tried his luck with a free-kick from distance, but his effort was parried by the goalkeeper.

In the 86th minute Gudja protested for a penalty when Juan Andres Bolanos was floored by Nenad Sljivic inside the penalty area. However, the referee waved play on.

In the final minutes, Gudja threw everything in attack to try and save a point, but Balzan were solid at the back and goalkeeper Sean Mintoff was never seriously threatened.

BALZAN : Sean Mintoff, Augustine Loof, Aleksandar Kosoric, Nenad Sljivic, Steven Pisani, Steven Bezzina, Alfred Effiong, Ivan Bozovic, Stefan Dimic, Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte (Ryan Scicluna 78’ ), Arthur Faria Machado (Zachary Karl Grech 88’ ).

GUDJA U: Timothy Aquilina, Jonathan Bondin, Dylan Grima (Tariq Al Mahrooqi 64’ ), Rundell Renold Winchester, Gabriel Mensah (Peter Paul Sammut 83’ ), Anderson De Barros, Hubert Vella, Llywelyn Cremona (Miguel Antonio Jimenez 72’ ), Juan Andres Bolanos, Justin Grioli, Allan Ricardo Miranda.

Referee: Stefan Pace

BOV Player of the Match: Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte