It seemed as though Ħamrun were set for a comfortable win when they had a two-goal lead up to the end of the first half. In the second half, Balzan had other intentions as they took the initiative in their hands and came from behind to level matters. However, Hamrun kept fighting till the end and it was Seydou Doumbia who had the final say when firing home the winner.

This negative result, against the high flying Hamrun, was another disappointment for Balzan despite a galant display, especially in the second half.

For this game, Balzan could not field regular players Milan Duric, Weverton Gomes Souza, and Sean Cipriott, all three serving a game suspension, while they welcomed back Moussa Sanoh from injury.

Ħamrun Spartans came out to a fast start and after only four minutes of play, they took the lead. Karl Micallef set FRANKLIN SASERE who managed to beat goalkeeper Vukasin Vranes with a dipping header which finished into the top corner of the net.

In the 11th minute, Balzan were unlucky not to equalise. Following an erratic clearance by goalkeeper Emmanuel Bartolo, with the rebound falling into Uros Ljubomirac path who in turn tried to lob the ball over the goalkeeper but his effort slammed off the bar much to the relief of Hamrun players.

Gradually, the Spartans regained control of the match and in the 23rd minute, they doubled their lead. In a solo effort, JOSEPH MBONG unleashed a powerful drive from a distance which finished in the top corner of the net, giving no chance to Balzan goalkeeper Vukasin Vranes.

In the 30th minute, following an inswinger by Uros Ljubomirac, the ball fell to Stefan Dimic whose effort was denied by goalkeeper Emmanuel Bartolo.

Two minutes from the break, Ħamrun came close to increase the lead. In a swift counterattack, Joseph Mbong served Jorge Ailton Soares who was denied by Vukasin Vranes.

Just before the half-time whistle, Matthew Guillaumier picked up a short rebound, dribbled a defender, but his shot ended just wide.

In the second half, Balzan came out better and after two minutes they managed to reduce the score when a cross-shot by ALEKSA ANDREJIC completely took goalkeeper Bartolo by surprise with the ball hitting the upright before finishing into the net.

In the 55th minute Aleksa Andreijic came close to an equaliser but his swerving shot finished just over.

In the 58th minute, Seydou Doumbia, who had just replaced Marcelina, stole possession in midfield and served Ailton Jorge Soares on a run, who in turn set Predag Djordjeivic whose effort was denied by goalkeeper Vranes.

In the 68th minute, Ailton Jorge Soares was unlucky to see his inswinger scrape the bar before finishing wide.

A minute later, Predag Djordjevic nodded the ball towards Darko Gojkovic who headed just wide.

However, it was Balzan who struck again in the 76th minute when in a swift break, substitute ALFRED EFFIONG dribbled his way and with Emmanuel Bartolo charging out of his goal he managed to beat him with a low shot from just outside the area

But the Spartans refused to throw in the towel and six minutes from time Predag Djordjevic sent the ball into the path of SEYDOU DOUBBIA who controlled the ball and shot home from close range.

In the stoppage time, Franklin Sasere tried his luck when he raced clear but with Vukasin Vranes out of goal he was denied by Paul Fenech.


HAMRUN: Manuel Bartolo, Darko Gojkovic, Matthew Guillaumier, Joseph Mbong, Ailton Jorge dos Santos Soares, Franklin Sasere (Ige Abdullahi Adeshina 87’), Elkin Serrano Valero, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Predrag Djordjevic, Karl Micallef, Emerson Marcelina (Seydou Doumbia 57′).

BALZAN:Vukasin Vranes, Augustine Loof, Marcus Grima (Moussa Kamara 75’), Samir Arab, Paul Fenech, Steve Bezzina (Alfred Effiong 71’), Michael David Johnson, Uros Ljubomirac, Stefan Dimic, Moussa Sanoh, Aleksa Andrejic.

Referee: Emanuel Grech

BOV Player of the Match: Joseph Mbong