Gżira U revived their hopes of securing a place to play in the Europa Conference League as they produced a clinical display to overcome rivals Balzan.

With this win, Gżira United regained the third place in the standings on 45 points. But with only one match to go they have still work to do as they need to preserve their placing on the final day of the season as they are only two points ahead of Hibernians, Mosta and Balzan.

In their final match, Gzira take on Zebbug Rangers, Balzan face Birkirkara, Hibernians take on Floriana and Mosta meet Santa Lucia.

It was far from an easy win for Gzira, but once they took the lead through Jefferson, with the aid of Balzan goalkeeper Jonathan Debono, they continued to grow in stature and early in the second half they sealed the issue with a goal by Toni Kolega.

It was Balzan who took the first oportunity to goal. In the 14th minute, Angel Yesid Torres Quinones won a free-kick just outside the area, picked himself up and let fly a spectacular inswinger that stamped the cross bar with goalkeeper Darijan Zarkov beaten.

Balzan kept pushing forward and were unlucky again when, in 22nd minute, goalkeeper Darijan Zarkov dived full stretch to keep out a long range strike by Paul Fenech and from the rebound Matheus Nogureira Albuguerque de Sousa found the the goalkeeper alert to deny him.

However, against the run of play in the 33rd minute, Gżira United took the lead. JEFFERSON DE ASSIS received a pass inside the area and hit a harmles looking shot that goalkeeper Jonathan Debono could easily block but the ball slipped through his hands and the ball rolled slowly over the goal line.

This setback shifted the balance of the match as Balzan never really recovered. They tried to get themselves back into the match but their couple of efforts from the edge of the area finished well off target.

Gżira U started the second half in some style as they managed to double their lead in the 49th minute. Marcelo Dias broke through on the right and sent a low cross into the path of Jefferson de Assis who failed to connect but the ball reached unmarked TONI KOLEGA who had the easiest of tasks to finish the ball into an empty net.

Gżira U continue to show the better ideas and in the 70th minute goalkeeper Jonathan Debono came to his team’s rescue when he produced a good save to keep out Jackson Mendoza’s shot.

In the 72nd minute, Angel Yesid Torres Quinones managed to find some space on the edge of the Gżira area but his shot finished just over.

Fourteen minutes from time, Jonathan Debono produced another reflex save when he somehow kept out Jefferson’s header from close distance.

At the other end, it was the turn of Darijan Zarkov to pull off a fine save to keep the ball out after Toni Kolega inadvertently deviated the ball towards his own goal.

BALZAN: Jonathan Debono, Samir Arab, Marcus Grima (Alexander Satariano 53′), Paul Fenech, Angel Yesid Torres Quinones, Nikola Zerjal, Nikola Braunovic (Benjamin Hili 83′), Momcilo Raso, Matheus Nogureira Albuguerque de Sousa (Bogdan Mladenovic 65′), Aleksa Andrejic (Delvin Chanel Ndinga 53′), Bojan Kaljevic.

GZIRA U: Darijan Zarkov, Gabriel Bohrer, Luke Tabone, Steven Pisani (Andrew Borg 88′), Zachary Scerri, Marcelo Dias, Luis Carlos Riascos (Jose Costa Silva Ewertton 73′), Toni Kolega, Marko Cosic, Jefferson De Assis (Brooklyn Borg 92′), Jackson Mendoza.

Referee: Fyodor Zammit

BOV player of the game : Toni Kolega (Gżira U)