Despite having two players sent off in the dying minutes, Balzan earned a point in a 1-1 draw with their neighbours Lija Athletic

The draw fails to satisfy Balzan as they were aiming for the three points in their bid to climb out of the danger zone, ending up sharing fourth place from the bottom with Floriana.

Lija, on the other hand, remain second from the bottom although they claimed another important point and have a game in hand

Balzan fielded the same team that won the game against Mosta with the exception of Eric MvWoods replacing injured Uros Ljubomirac.

On the other hand, Lija made four changes from their last match which they won against Tarxien. Carl Joseph Cassar, Pedro Luiz Gusso, Erjon Beu, and Gonzalo Virano replaced suspended Valdo Goncalves Alhinho and Clayton Giordimaina, Neil Micallef who was on the substitute bench, and Juan Cruz Gill who was not called for this match

In the 10th minute, Balzan took the lead. ALEKSA ANDREJIC gained possession of Gonzalo Viranoin in midfield, dribbled past two defenders on the run, and slotted past the onrushing goalkeeper Luke Bonnici.

Balzan seemed in control and could have doubled the score in the18th minute when Eric Mc Woods set Michael Johnson but, with only the goalkeeper to beat, his first attempt was blocked with Luke Bonnici’s foot. He took the rebound but his header was parried away to a corner away by the goalkeeper.

In the 27th minute, Vukasin Vraneswas forced to push into a corner a cross-shot from an acute angle by Erjon Beu.

However, in the 31st minute, Lija equalized. Following a miskick in Augustin Loof’s short clearance, CARLOS FLORES took advantage and managed to beat Vucasin Vranes with a low shot.

In the 55th minute, Lija had a good chance to take the lead when Erjon Beu set Fernando Brandon who, from an ideal position, shot the ball wide.

Just before the end of the first half, a direct free-kick taken by Fernando Brandan finished just wide.

Balzan continued to enjoy possession but without creating any serious opportunities although, in the 79th minute, Milan Djuric was unlucky to hit the crossbar from a direct free-kick from the right, with the goalkeeper totally beaten.

Three minutes later, Milan Djuric was sent off by the referee after being cautioned for passing remarks and soon after receiving a second yellow card for sarcastically applauding the match official’s decision.

In the 86th minute substitute, Neil Micallef almost put Lija in the lead as his cross-shot from the left hit the top of the crossbar with Vukasin Vranes turning the ball into a corner.

One minute into the added time, Weverton Gomes Souza was also sent off for Balzan after receiving a second caution, leaving his side with ten men on the pitch.

LIJA A: Luke Bonnici, Carl Joseph Cassar, Pedro Luiz Gusso, Leon Muscat (Neil Micallef 46’), Ismael Borg, Erjon Beu, Fernando Javier Brandan, Walter Omar Serrano, Miguel Jimenez, Gonzalo Virano (Daniel Scerri 75’), Carlos Flores.

BALZAN: Vukasin Vranes, Augustine Loof, Samir Arab, Milan Djuric, Paul Fenech, Eric McWoods (Alfred Effiong 64’), Michael Johnson, Stefan Dimic (Marcus Grima 71’), Weverton Gomes Souza, Aleksa Andrejic, Sean Cipriott (Gary Camilleri 64’).

Referee: Philip Farrugia.

BOV Player of the Match: Paul Fenech.