In a rather controversial match, with Balzan finishing the match playing with nine players, Mario Fontanella scored two penalties, one in each half to hand Valletta another victory.
It was a hard-fought victory for Valletta, who despite enjoying much of the initiative they struggled to convert their scoring chances into goals.
For Valletta, this was the eleventh consecutive positive result which puts them on top the BOV Premier League table level with Floriana. Balzan, on the other hand, suffered a second defeat in three matches to remain in the middle of the table.
Balzan made four changes to the team that drew against Birkirkara as Steven Pisani, Samir Arab, Paul Fenech and Alfred Effiong started instead of Dale Camilleri, Steve Bezzina, Ricardo Correa and Luke Montebello. On the other hand, Valletta welcomed back Santiago Malano coming from injury who was preferred to Triston Caruana.
Kampjonat Premier: Valletta Football Club 3-1 Balzan F.C.
Posted by L-ARGUMENT on Sunday, February 9, 2020
The first attempt came to Bojan Kaljevic in the 8th minute when his fierce central shot that was blocked by goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski.
Balzan hit back five minutes later when Alfred Effiong fired a shot from outside the penalty area that sailed wide.
In the 18th minute Bojan Kaljevic missed a golden opportunity when, following a corner kick taken by Nicholas Pulis, he shot well over the bar from close range.
In the 21st minute, Arthur Faria Machado dribbled past a couple of defenders before serving Alfred Effiong whose shot was saved by goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
Minutes later another effort from Alfred Effiong was luckily blocked by defender Steve Borg.
In the 32rd minute Valletta opened the score from a controversial penalty. A free-kick taken by Bojan Kaljevic hit the wall and fell into the path of Steve Borg, who incidentally was in an offside position. Kristijan Naumovski rushed forward and cleared the ball with Steve Borg rolling over him. However, the referee judged the goalkeeper’s actions to be irregular and signalled for a penalty. From the penalty spot MARIO FONTANELLA made no mistake.
Balzan’s reaction came late in the first half with a shot by Uros Ljubomirac which was saved by goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
However in stoppage time Balzan levelled matters when from a corner, taken by Steven Pisani, IVAN BOZOVIC headed past Henry Bonello on the far post.
In the second half Valletta came out on the offensive. A shot by Bojan Kaljevic forced a good save by Naumovski. However Balzan were always ready to counter attack, even though both teams were very erratic in their final pass.
Valletta lost a great chance in the 63rd minute. Miguel Angel Alba delivered a cross towards Mario Fontanella who headed the ball marginally wide.
In the 67th minute Mario Fontanella missed a good opportunity when he shot incredibly wide after being set by Bojan Kaljevic.
Two minutes later Kristijan Naumovski blocked a cross-shot by Mario Fontanella.
In the 78th minute, there was a second controversial decision by the referee when he decided to award another penalty to Valletta. He adjudged that goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski floored Mario Fontanella when he was was put through in the box by Shaun Dimech. A decision which brought harsh protests by the Balzan players. Ljubomirac was given a straight red for objecting aggressively to his decision and goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski was shown a second yellow.
When all calmed down, in the 81st minute, MARIO FONTANELLA took the penalty and did not fail to beat substitute goalkeeper Sean Mintoff.
Balzan did not throw the towel and although with nine men they almost levelled matters. In the 89th minute substitute Adeseyi Adekoya missed an incredible opportunity when, with only the goalkeeper to beat, his shot scraped the post.
However in stoppage time Valletta settled matters when Jhony Moises Barrios sent a low cross from the left towards MARIO FONTANELLA who made no mistake to seal his hat trick from close range.
VALLETTA : Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Santiago Malano (Miguel Angel Alba 56’), Bojan Kaljevic, Matteo Piciollo (Jhony Moises Cano Barrios 65’), Shaun Dimech, Jean Borg, Enmy Pena Beltre, Nicholas Pulis, Mario Fontanella (Joseph Zerafa 90’).
BALZAN : Kristijan Naumovski, Nenad Sljivic, Steve Pisani, Michael Johnson, Paul Fenech, Alfred Effiong (Dale Camilleri 70’), Uros Ljubomirac, Ivan Bozovic, Stefan Dimic (Sean Mintoff gk 78’), Arthur Faria Machado (Adeseyi Shinobu Adekoya 52’), Samir Arab.
Referee: Philip Farrugia
BOV Player of the Match: Mario Fontanella