Despite that Balzan were two goals up in the first 15 minutes they had to wait till the last five minutes to make sure of a win, as Lija reduced the gap just before the end of the first half and in the second half they tried hard to equalize in order to force the game into extra time.
Balzan took the lead on the 11th minute when Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes (Cadu) received the ball in the box but his low shot was partially saved by goalkeeper Jonathan Martinelli. The rebound fell into ALEX DA PAIXAO ALVES’s path whose shot finished into the back of the net, after being deviated by Daniel Scerri.
Three minutes later, Balzan doubled the score. Bojan Kaljevic sent a cross from the left and found UROS LJUBOMIRAC who made no mistake to beat the goalkeeper with a spectacular first time shot.
Lija went close on the 17th minute when Erjon Beu’s shot hit the side netting.
A minute later, following a corner kick taken by Cadu, Michael Johnson’s shot was turned into a corner by goalkeeper Martinelli.
Lija pulled one back just before the stroke of half time when Elkin Serrano handled the ball, judged just outside the box by the referee. From the resulting direct free kick, AARON SAMMUT stunned goalkeeper Ivan Janjusevic when he curled his shot over the wall, with the ball finishing into the net.
In the second half, Lija came out in search of an equalizer. Short of the hour they threatened through Kei Hirose whose long range shot was saved without difficulty by Janjusevic.
In the 68th minute, the referee was booed by the Lija supporters when he surprisingly showed a yellow card to goalkeeper Jonathan Martinelli, after rushing out of his charge to head the ball away, in a tackle with Cadu.
Lija almost scored an equaliser when after a good run into the box by Hysa Vilfor, the ball fell to Erjon Beu, but his shot was blocked in time by Milos Lepovic.
Balzan sealed the issue with a third goal on the 84th minute when Siraj Arab advanced into the area and crossed low, past a couple of defenders and the goalkeeper, for CARLOS EDUARDO DE FIORI MENDES who slotted the ball into an empty net.
LIJA ATHLETIC FC : Jonathan Martinelli, Carl Cassar (McAllister Clinch 46′), Leon Muscat (Patrick Borg 46′), Daniel Scerri, Erjon Beu, Aaron Sammut, Ryan Sammut (Raphael Alain Kooh Sona 71′), Ousmane Sidibe, Vilfor Hysa, Leejoe Schembri, Kei Hirose.
BALZAN FC : Ivan Janjusevic, Clive Brincat (Jamie Zerafa 69′), Justin Grioli, Uros Ljubomirac, Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Bojan Kaljevic (Siraj Eddin Arab 55′), Milos Lepovic, Paul Fenech (Fabio Attard 89′), Michael Johnson, Carlos Eduardo de Fiori Mendes, Alex Da Paixao Alves.
Referee: Indrit Myrtja (ALB)
Assistant Referees: Astrit Mahmuti, Dojando Myftari (ALB)
Fourth Official: Kreshnik Barjamaj (ALB)