After beating Sliema and losing to Valletta, Balzan suffered their second successive defeat, losing 1 – 2 to Birkirkara. Birkirkara on the other hand won their third consecutive match joining Hibernians on the top of the BOV Premier League table.
However it was not an easy ride for the Birkirkara as Balzan gave a very good account of themselves, but in the end, they had to leave the field empty-handed.
This game, with a good number of chances, started with an early goal by Birkirkara which set the tone for an entertaining encounter.
It took only 92 seconds for Federico Falcone to break the deadlock. Diego Venancio found Luke Montebello unmarked on the left flank who advanced forward with ease, sending a perfect pass for FEDERICO FALCONE, who in turn calmly finished the ball behind goalkeeper Vukasin Vranes.
While Balzan struggled to regain their composure, Birkirkara seemed to build on their early advantage dominating the opening minutes with Montebello being a constant threat.
In the 6th minute, Balzan’s took the first glimpse of goal when Andrejic tested goalkeeper Fernandes with a low drive.
In the 10th minute, Diego Venancio curled in a shot from a free-kick that looked heading for the top corner but finished hitting the side-netting.
From the ensuing corner, Oscar Carniello’s header was cleared off the line by defender Michael Johnson.
As time passed by Birkirkara reduced their rhythm and Balzan enjoyed far greater possession.
Halfway through the first half Birkirkara goalkeeper, Fernandes showed all his worth to intercept a dangerous cross from Aleksa Andrejic.
In the 28th minute, Uros Ljubomirac’s dribbled past three defenders, but his shot was pushed away by goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes.
On the half-hour, Diego Venancio had to leave the pitch injured and was substituted by Ryan Scicluna
In the 39th minute, Balzan players were rewarded for their efforts. Milan Duric squared the ball for MILOS MIJIC who killed it with his sublime first touch, sending the ball high into the top corner past helpless goalkeeper Fernandes.
Balzan’s joy ended in the 46th minute as Birkirkara restored their lead after hesitancy in the Balzan defense. Paul Mbong sent a teasing cross to JEFERSON MACEDO who dribbled past his marker and finished the ball past goalkeeper Vukasin Vranes. Balzan players protested with the referee as they claimed that there was a foul on Paul Fenech before Paul Mbong crossed the ball, but the referee denied their claim.
After the break, Balzan increased their efforts and were still dangerous with goalkeeper Fernandes having to block Sean Cipriott’s drive from a free-kick.
Uros Ljubomirac was a huge influence in midfield as usual and in the 63rd minute, he found Milan Duric whose header flashed past the far post.
Three minutes from time, Alex Da Paixao’s low drive looked destined for the bottom corner but his effort finished just wide.
Balzan could claim that the result was somewhat harsh on them but Birkirkara looked organised and struck when it mattered most.
BALZAN : Vukasin Vranes, Augustine Loof, Samir Arab (79′ Marcus Grima), Milan Djuric, Paul Fenech, Alex da Paixao, Michael Johnson, Uros Ljubomirac, Milos Mijic (79′ Gary Camilleri), Aleksa Andrejic (70′ Bojan Kaljevic), Sean Cipriott (86′ Neil Frendo).
BIRKIRKARA : Daniel Fernandes, Enzo Ruiz, Yannick Yankam, Luke Montebello, Paul Mbong (63′ Leandro Aguirre), Kurt Zammit, Federico Falcone, Cain Attard, Oscar Carniello, Jeferson Macedo (82′ Kilian Bevis), Diego Venancio (25′ Ryan Scicluna).
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Player : Milos Mijic