Gzira United returned to winning ways as they defeated Balzan 2 – 0 at the Centenary Stadium.
This was another disappointing result for Balzan as they have gone eight matches without a win, leaving them with twelve points in the red zone and hoping to turn the tables in order to avoid an unexpected relegation battle.
A goal by Jefferson de Assis in the first half and another in the second half by Riccardo Correa Duarte enabled Gzira U to earn three valuable points to reach twenty-one points.
In the 2nd minute, Gżira United could have already opened the score when Raphael Kooh Sohna received a through ball from Riccardo Correa Duarte but he missed the target.
Although in the early stages Balzan looked more confident on the ball and had more possession, it was Gzira who came close through a long-range effort by Riccardo Correa Duarte which finished just wide.
In the 26th minute, Balzan protested for possible handling of the ball by a Gzira player however the referee let play go on. Following this incident, as play continued, Gzira managed to open the score when a powerful shot from the edge of the area by JEFFERSON DE ASSIS was deflected past the Balzan goalkeeper Vukasin Vranes.
Minutes later, Balzan coach Mark Miller was given the marching orders for excessive protests over the referee’s decisions.
In the 40th minute, Sean Cipriott was unlucky when he came close to level matters as his first-time attempt, with his back to the post, was only to be denied by the crossbar.
Just before half-time, Martin Davis dribbled past a defender and served unmarked Ricardo Correa Duarte inside the box but the latter’s attempt was headed off the goal line by Augustine Loof.
Balzan had the first attempt after the break when Augustine Loof’s header failed to find the net.
Moments later, Jefferson de Assis came close to double the score when following a cross by Martin Davis he saw his effort hit the crossbar.
In the 58th minute, Raphael Kooh Sohna tried his luck with a long-range shot that finished over the bar.
Balzan replied through a direct free-kick by Steven Pisani but goalkeeper Justin Haber was there to clear the danger.
However, in the 72nd minute, Gżira sealed the issue when in a solo effort, after dribbling past a couple of defenders, RICARDO CORREA DUARTE hit low, from outside the box, with the ball finishing home past goalkeeper Vukasin Vranes.
BALZAN :Vukasin Vranes, Augustine Loof, Samir Arab (Pedro Mota de Lima 68′), Paul Fenech (Adam Bradshaw 82′) Steven Pisani (Neil Frendo 81′), Michael Johnson (Gary Camilleri 46′), Alfred Effiong, Uros Ljubomirac (Eric McWoods 81′), Stefan Dimic, Sean Cipriott, Moussa Kamara.
GZIRA : Justin Haber, Gabriel Bohrer Mentz, Steve Borg, Nikolai Muscat (Andrew Cohen 88′ Martin Davis (Omar Elouni 88′), Nevin Portelli (Dexter Xuereb 46′), Jackson Mendoza, Ricardo Correa Duarte, Sacha Borg, Jefferson de Assis (Amadou Samb 84′), Raphael Kooh Sohna (Clyde Borg 74′).
Referee: Darryl Agius
BOV Player of the Match: Ricardo Correa Duarte