Although the Valletta team was the better side, Balzan defended well and made it hard for them to penetrate.

Balzan did create scoring opportunities that could have led to a positive result from the game, leaving them feeling that the scoreline does not reflect justice for their efforts.

The first chance of the game came to Uros Ljubomirac when in the 13th minute he headed just over the bar.

In the 15th minute, Bojan Kaljevic tried his luck from the edge of the area but failed to find the target.

Although Valletta was in control of the game for the first half-hour, their forwards struggled to create goalmouth chances as found a well-organised Balzan defense with their goalkeeper Vukasin Vranes never in action.

On the half-hour goalkeeper, Alessandro Guarnone saved over a central shot by defender Michael Johnson.

From this action, following a swift Valletta counter-attack, the players protested for a yellow card for an adjudged foul by Augustine Loof on Mario Fontanella, but the referee signaled to continue playing.

In the 34th minute, goalkeeper Alessandro Guarnone was forced again into action when Milan Duric tried his luck from a distance but he was denied by him.

Nonetheless, in the 43rd minute, Valletta broke the deadlock. Ivan Curjuric sent a through ball which found LUCAS RIBEIRO CAMPOS in the area but it seemed that Balzan’s defender Augustine Loof, in an attempt to clear the ball into safety, finished the ball into his own net. However, the goal was registered to Campos.

In the added time of the first half, Ivan Curjuric tried to double the score for Valletta with a well-weighted free-kick but Vukasin Vranes was on the alert and saved well.

In the second half Balzan replaced Milan Duric and Bojan Kaljevic with Marcus Grima for more stability in the midfield and Alex da Paixao Alves for more pace upfront in an attempt to level terms. This replacement proved fruitful as Balzan took control of the game throughout the second half.

At the restart, Uros Ljubomirac immediately threatened with a strike from outside the area but it was not enough to beat the goalkeeper.

In the 54th minute, Balzan thought they had equalised when Alex da Paixao Alves was fouled outside the area and the referee let the play go on with the ball falling to Aleks Andrejic who found the net from close-range. But while Aleksa Andrejic was considered in an offside position, referee Fyodor Zammit halted the advantage and awarded Balzan a free-kick from the previous Joseph Zerafa foul on Alex da Paixao Alves.

Following the freekick, Aleksa Andrejic could not direct the resulting free-kick into the net with Valletta remaining in the lead.

In the 75th minute, Caio Prado cut inside and tried to beat Vukasin Vranes on the near post but his effort flashed wide.

In the added time of the second half, Milan Jurdik could have doubled Valletta’s lead but his effort was blocked by Vukasin Vranes.

VALLETTA : Alessandro Guarnone, Ryan Camilleri, Triston Caruana, James Arthur, Christian Gauci, Enmy Pena Beltre, Joseph Zerafa (66′ Michele Sansone), Ivan Curjuric, Caio Rocha de Almeida Prado (86′ Milan Jurdik), Mario Fontanella (85′ Isaiah Micallef), Lucas Ribeiro Campos (74′ Eslit Sala).

BALZAN : Vukasin Vranes, Augustine Loof, Samir Arab, Milan Djuric (46′ Marcus Grima), Paul Fenech (83′ Milos Zlatkovic), Michael Johnson, Uros Ljubomirac, Milos Mijic, Aleksa Andrejic, Bojan Kaljevic (46′ Alex da Paixao Alves), Sean Cipriott (68′ Gary Camilleri). 

Referee: Fyodor Zammit

BOV Player of the Match: Caio Prado