Santa Lucia moved to just one point behind Balzan as they registered a narrow win in a direct clash between the two teams lying second and third from bottom in the BOV Premier League table.

Both teams knowing that they will be playing in the Relegation Pool needed the three points in their bid to stay away from relegation. However, it was Santa Lucia who claimed the three points at stake to move to just one point behind Balzan and ten ahead of bottom-placed Sliema Wanderers.

For this game Balzan, coming from a 0-1 defeat to Hibernians, preferred goalkeeper Jake Galea from Vukasin Vranes and Nikola Gulan replaced the suspended Michael Johnson while Santa Lucia, replaced suspended Andre Prates with James Zerafa.

The first-round match between these two sides ended in a 3-3 draw.

The first attempt at goal came, in the 4th minute, from Balzan when an effort from outside the area by Milan Djuric was partially blocked by Santa Lucia goalkeeper Justin Haber, who managed to block again Bojan Kaljevic’s shot off the rebound.

Santa Lucia replied with two attempts. In the 6th minute, an angled shot by Meghon Valpoort was parried by Jake Galea and two minutes later, off a free kick taken by Patrick Silva Mota, the Balzan goalkeeper performed a good save on a Lorenzo Soares Fonseca header.

Jake Galea was again prominent in the 23rd minute with a save on a long-distance shot by Gianmarco Conti.

In the 38th minute, Balzan threatened once again with a diagonal shot by Milos Mijic diagonal shot which scraped past the post.

The two teams continued to share the exchanges during the second half with the lack of scoring opportunities.

In the 51st minute, Aleksa Andrejic saw his shot from outside the area ending over the bar.

On the hour, Santa Lucia missed a good opportunity as Gianmarco Conti sent Vito Plut through on the left but when he was about to conclude he stumbled on the ball.

In a swift Balzan counter-attack, Aleksa Andrejic served by Bojan Kaljevic who tested Justin Haber with a good shot from inside the area.

When the game was heading for a goalless draw, in the 90th minute, Santa Lucia scored the all-important goal as substitute ALAN DA SILVA SOUZA received the ball in midfield and advanced before beating Jake Galea with a fine rising shot.

BALZAN: Jake Galea, Milan Djuric, Paul Fenech, Nikola Gulan (Augustine Loof 36’), Uros Ljubomirac, Milos Zlatkovic, Gary Camilleri (Marcus Grima 88’), Milos Mijic, Aleksa Andrejic, Bojan Kaljevic (Alvin Kevin Daniels 69’), Sean Cipriott (Neil Frendo 69’).

SANTA LUCIA: Justin Haber, Jurgen Pisani, Nicholas Pulis, Gianmarco Conti-6, Patrick Silva Mota (Jan Tanti 79’), Vito Plut, Meghon Davidy Ayrton Valpoort, Vitor Luiz Prestes Filho, Jamie Zerafa (Alan Da Silva Souza 65’), Dexter Xuereb, Lorenzo Yoel Soares Fonseca.

Referee: Matthew De Gabriele

BOV Player of the Match: Justin Haber (Santa Lucia)