St. Andrews registered a major surprise as they defeated Balzan with the result of 3 – 2 at the Centenary Stadium.
The Saints were a much improved side over last week’s match against Hibernians, with Balzan failing to impress.
Both sides had two changes from their first outing. Balzan had Alex da Paixao Alves and Bruno Giglio de Oliveira being replaced by Elkin Serrano Valero and Lydon Micallef . On the other end, Marcus Grima and Innocent Tano Azian replaced Ricardo Martin and Aiden Friggieri for St. Andrews.
Balzan had more possession of the ball and were the better equipped team technically but the St Andrews defended well and gave also a valid contribution towards an interesting first 45 minutes. In fact, St Andrews were fast in their counterattacks which proved more than a handful for the Balzan defence. They even managed to take the lead.
However, Balzan showed more determination at the start of the second half. And it was no surprise that they equalised for the second time after just four minutes, albeit from a penalty. But after missing two great chances in the later stages, Balzan suffered that 87th minute stunner which saw them suffering their first defeat of the new season.
On the 26th Minute, Joseph Farrugia set KEVAUGHN ATKINSON who managed to put St. Andrews ahead after concluding a solo effort by dribbling past a couple of defenders in the box and with a powerful drive beat goalkeeper Ivan Janjusevic.
On the 32nd minute, ALFRED EFFIONG levelled matters when, off a Ryan Fenech free-kick, he headed the ball home.
St Andrews regained the lead five minutes from the interval. From a corner-kick taken by Joseph Farrugia, Emny Pena Beltre headed the ball forward to NEHEMIAH PERRY to head behind goalkeeper Ivan Janjusevic.
In the second half Balzan came out in search of an equaliser and on the 49th minute, they were awarded a penalty when Tristan Grant was judged to have floored Uros Ljubomirac in the area. From the penalty spot, BOJAN KALJEVIC made no mistake and equalized.
On the 57th minute Bojan Kaljevic served Alfred Effiong beautifully. The latter advanced only to see the onrushing goalkeeper Matthew Calleja Cremona blocking well his effort.
A few moments later, substitute Alex da Paixao Alves advanced unhindered, following another good pass from Bojan Kaljevic, but found goalkeeper Matthew Calleja Cremona rushing out of his place to make another miraculous block
However two minutes from time, St. Andrews notched the winner thanks to another goal by KEVAUGHN ATKINSON who concluded another solo effort finishing with a shot from close range beating goalkeeper Ivan Janusevic.
BALZAN : Ivan Janjusevic, Ryan Fenech (Carlos Eduardo de Fiori Mendes 76′), Steve Bezzina, Paul Fenech, Bojan Kaljevic, Uros Ljubomirac, Alfred Effiong, Jacob Borg (Alex da Paixao Alves 67′), Michael Johnson, Elkin Serrano Valero, Lydon Micallef (Milos Lepovic 46′).
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Justin Grioli, Samir Arab, Clive Brincat.
ST. ANDREWS : Matthew Calleja Cremona, Tristan Grant, Adrian Borg, Enmy Pena Beltre, Matthew Gauci, Marcus Grima (Jacob Walker 81′), Joseph Farrugia, Nehemiah Perry (Aidan Friggieri 58′), Kemmu Degran Jackson, Kevaughn Atkinson, Tano Innocent Azian (Ricardo Martin 58′).
Subs not used: Duncan Formosa, Liam Grech, Dario Zampa, Dejan Debono.
Referee: Philip Farrugia
BOV Player of the Match: Kevaughn Atkinson