Balzan produced a strong second-half comeback to beat Pieta’ Hotspurs 3-2 and maintain their hopes of European football alive.
Early in the first half Pieta stunned Balzan with two picture goals. However, Balzan organised themselves and showed their superiority in the second half, with newly registered player Delvin Chanel Ndinga proving to be their hero with the winning goal.
Balzan re-joined Hibernians on the 33-point mark, one point less than fourth placed Mosta and five points away from third-place Birkirkara. On the other hand Pieta’, despite putting up another brave performance, remain anchored at the bottom of the table with just five points.
Pieta could not have asked for a better start when inside the first minute. ARMEN HOVHANNISYAN stunned goalkeeper Jonathan Debono with a delightful lob from outside the area.
Balzan tried to fight back with Pieta goalkeeper Simone Moschin denying Matheus de Souza on the 5th minute and in the 13th minute he pushed an effort by Aleksa Andrejic away to corner.
In the 23th minute, Armen Hovhannisyan had a very good chance to double the score when after beating his marker, he found Jonathan Debono to deny him.
Nonetheless, in the 28th minute Pieta still managed to double their lead when TAKUMA YAMAGUCHI produced a picture goal. He managed to control a long ball onto his chest before volleying it past goalkeeper Jonathan Debono.
Balzan reacted immediately with an attempt from a freekick taken by Angel Torres but his effort sailed over.
In the 44th minute, Simone Moshin was tested again by attempts from Angel Torres and Nikola Braunovic but the goalkeeper was there to block.
Just before the break, Balzan pulled a goal back. After picking up the ball, ANGEL YESID TORRES QUINONES dribbled past a couple of opponents before letting fly a shot that was deflected onto the crossbar before finishing behind the goalkeeper and past the goal line.
After the break, in an attempt to boost their attack, Balzan made three substitutions. Alexander Satariano, Aleksa Andrejic and Nikola Braunovic were replaced with Bojan Kaljevic, Zak Grech and Delvin Chanel Ndinga.
In the 66th minute, Bojan Kaljevic forced goalkeeper Simone Moschin into action with a long-range freekick.
In the 71st minute, Moschin continued to frustrate Balzan when this time he pushed away an effort by Bogdan Mladenovic.
However, in the 74th minute, Balzan managed to level matters when substitute BOJAN KALJEVIC hit a well-struck freekick into the far post.
Balzan were not happy with a draw and continued pressing. Simone Moschin denied again Bogdan Mladenovic with a brilliant save.
In the 79th minute, following a cross by Zak Grech, substitute Delvin Chanel Ndinga, hit the crossbar with a brilliant curling effort.
In the 81st minute, Moschin could do nothing when DELVIN CHANEL NDINGA was successful with his second curling low drive to beat the the goalkeeper and complete Balzan’s comeback.
BALZAN: Jonathan Debono; Ivan Bozovic, Samir Arab, Marcus Grima, Bogdan Mladenovic, Angel Yesid Torres Quinones, Alexander Satariano (Zak Grech 46’), Nikola Braunovic (Delvin Chanel Ndinga 46’), Momcilo Raso, Matheus Nogureira albuguerque de Soua, Aaleksa Andrejic-6 (Bojan Kaljevic 6) (Adam Bradshaw 84’).
PIETA’ HOTSPURS : Simone Moschin; Samuel Okoh, Clinton Bangura, Ojo AbrahamTemitope, Jake Ghio (Davi Rodrigues Miranda 77’), Terence Agius (Alan David Schembri Wisyamer 90’), Armen Hovhannisyan, Kian Leonardi, Zean Leonardi, Atanda Ganiu Ogungbe, Takuma Yamaguchi.
Referee:Trustin Farrugia Cann.
BOV Player of the Match: Delvin Chanel Ndinga (Balzan).