Balzan collected three precious points in a bid to challenge for a top-six finish when they defeated Valletta 2-1. This win puts Balzan’s side just a point behind Valletta, with Balzan having a game in hand.

Balzan had one change from their last outing against Santa Lucia as Milos Mijic was replaced by Marcus Grima. On the other hand, Valletta welcomed back Ivan Curjuric and Mario Fontanella while Joseph Zerafa was also included with the first eleven on the line-up.

Although Valletta created a couple of good chances early in the game, it was Balzan that took the lead. Early in the second half, Balzan missed a number of goal-scoring opportunities with Valletta leveling the score. However, Balzan managed to restore the lead late in the game.

Balzan had the first chance to goal in the 6th minute, when a free-kick taken by Milan Duric was connected by Bojan Kaljevic but his header finished over the crossbar.

Valletta took the initiative in the early stages, and in the 7th minute they were unlucky as, following a cross by Tulimieri from the right, Mario Fontanella hit the crossbar with a scissors kick.

In the 20th minute, Mario Fontanella received a pass by Shaun Dimech from the right but as he tried to dribble the goalkeeper, the ball was palmed away by Jake Galea.

In the 26th minute, Balzan took the lead. Uros Ljubomirac sent Bojan Kaljevic through on the right and the latter served the unmarked ALEKSA ANDREJIC who slotted the ball past goalkeeper Alessandro Guarnone.

In the 39th minute, goalkeeper Alessandro Guarnone was providential to save an effort by Marcus Grima and a few minutes later he came out of his posts to anticipate Aleska Andrejic.

Two minutes from the end of the first half, Valletta went close with a powerful shot by Ivan Curjuric which ended just wide.

Balzan came out more determined in the opening minutes of the second half and in the 49th minute, Bojan Kaljevic served Uros Ljubomirac from the right but his goal-bound effort was blocked by defender Ryan Camilleri.

Four minutes later a low shot by Aleksa Andrejic scraped past the upright.

In the 64th minute, Valletta managed to equalise. Haris Dilaver and Sean Cipriott collided just outside the area and MARIO FONTANELLA pounced on the loose ball and managed to beat goalkeeper Jake Galea with a fine curling shot.

After this goal, Valletta increased their confidence and in the 76th minute, Caio Prado served Shaun Dimech whose fine shot was turned into a corner in style by goalkeeper Jake Galea.

In the 84th minute, Balzan had another good chance when their substitute Suleiman Jalu’s effort from outside the area was partially saved by Alessandro Guarnone with the ball being cleared into a corner by Ryan Camilleri before Aleksa Andrejic could reach.

From the resulting corner, Balzan notched the winner. Alex da Paixao delivered the corner from the left, Ivan Curjuric headed the ball out of the area and PAUL FENECH’s first time effort beat the Valletta goalkeeper Alessandro Guarnone.


BALZAN: Jake Galea, Augustine Loof, Marcus Grima, Milan Djuric (Alex Da Paixao Alves 72’), Paul Fenech, Uros Ljubomirac (Neil Frendo 83’), Milos Zlatkovic, Gary Camilleri, Aleksa Andrejic (Adam Bradshaw 90’), Bojan Kaljevic (Suleiman Jalu 83’), Sean Cipriott.

VALLETTA: Alessandro Guarnone, Jean Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Triston Caruana (Michele Sansone 55’), James Arthur (Lucas Campos 55’), Shaun Dimech, Joseph Zerafa (Caio Prado 73’), Ivan Curjuric, Eslit Sala, Mario Fontanella, Kevin Tulimieri (Haris Dilaver 55’).

Referee: Philip Farrugia

BOV Player of the Match: Aleksa Andrejic (Balzan)