Following last season winning of the FA Trophy, Balzan were determined to start this season on a positive note in order to challenge for honours once again.
For this game apart from the newly registered goalkeeper Kristian Naumovski and attacker Stefan Dimech, who had already played for Balzan in the UEFA Europa League against NK Domzale, Ryan Scicluna made his debut for Balzan while Steve Pisani was unavailable as he was injured.
On the other hand Antonio Stelitano, Jose Cleangelo Pereira, Juri Cisotti, Juan Cruz Gill and Stanimir Miloskovic made their debut for Sliema.
Balzan were definitely the better side, taking a well-deserved two-goal lead but after conceding the goal late in the game, they must have suffered from some pressure although Balzan they should have sealed the issue in stoppage time but Alfred Effiong had a penalty saved by Sliema goalkeeper Jake Galea.
Balzan F.C. vs. Sliema Wanderers FC 2-1Kampjonat Premier | l-ewwel ġurnata (24 t'Awwissu 2019)
Posted by Replay (Net Television) on Sunday, August 25, 2019
Sliema made a bright start to the match and threatened Balzan on the 4th minute. Jose Cleangelo Pereira drilled an angled shot from the left side of the penalty area that hit the side netting.
Sliema went close on the 17th minutes when, following a good pass by Mark Scerri, Juri Cisotti’s powerful drive scraped past the post.
Balzan, however, soon gained control, taking the lead in the 25th minutes. NENAD SLJIVIC received the ball off a corner by Stefan Dimic from the left and headed home past goalkeeper Jake Galea.
In the 38th minutes Ricardo Correa exchanged the ball with Steven Bezzina who finally tested Jake Galea with a low drive.
The goal gave Balzan the much needed confidence as they were now in control of the midfield sector as Sliema failed to react until the end of first half which ended 1-0 in favour of Balzan.
In the second half Sliema were more aggressive and in the 51st minute went for the equaliser. Jean Paul Farrugia had a good opportunity, losing control of the ball when well placed, but he still managed to serve Juri Cisotti whose effort was saved in two attempts by goalkeeper Christian Naumovski.
In the 59th minute a cross shot by Stefan Dimic was parried by Jake Galea
Balzan doubled the score in the 68th minute when following a cross from the right by Ivan Bozovic’s cross STEFAN DIMIC’s header hit the crossbar before ending at the back of the net.
Three minutes later, substitute Lydon Micallef went close to increasing the lead with a shot from outside the area which was, however, deflected into a corner.
In the 85th minute Sliema managed to pull one back when JEAN PAUL FARRUGIA headed home a Ryan Fenech corner.
Deep in stoppage time Alfred Effiong won a penalty when he was pulled down by Kurt Shaw, but from the penalty spot Alfred Effiong’s central effort was well saved by goalkeeper Jake Galea.
BALZAN : Kristian Naumovski, Aleksandar Kosoric, Nenad Sljivic (Gary Camilleri 82′), Steve Bezzina, Paul Fenech, Alfred Effiong, Uros Ljubomirac, Ivan Bozovic, Ryan Scicluna (Michael Johnson 46′), Stefan Dimic, Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte (Lydon Micallef 65′).
SLIEMA : Jake Galea, Michele Sansone, Antonio Stelitano, Kurt Shaw, Mark Scerri (Kilian Amehi 81′), Jose Cleangelo Pereira, Juri Cisotti (Ryan Fenech 68′), Juan Cruz Gill, Stanimir Miloskovic, Claudio Pani (Edmond Agius 61′), Jean Paul Farrugia.
Referee: Matthew De Gabriele
BOV Player of the Match: Aleksandar Kosoric