In a physical battle that benefited neither side, Balzan and Marsaxlokk had to settle for a point each after a goalless draw.

Balzan made two changes after their victory over Gudja in the previous matchday, Bogdan Mladenovic and Nikola Braunovic were preferred to Angel Yesid Torres Quinones and injured Nikola Zerjal. On the other hand, Marsaxlokk, despite their loss to Gzira, made only one change with Daniel Agius starting in place of Dejan Vukovic.

With this draw, Balzan’ s hope to qualify for Europe was reduced as they now lie in sixth place, two points behind Mosta and one ahead of Floriana.

On the other hand, Marsaxlokk moved five points ahead of Zebbug Rangers and seven ahead of Santa Lucia in the battle against relegation.

The game took a slow start with most of the play happening in the middle of the pitch with the goalkeepers rarely involved.

In the 13th minute, Balzan had their first real opportunity when Alexander Satariano made his way into the area and sent a short pass to Matheus Nogureira but his effort was parried away by Marsaxlokk goalkeeper Marko Drobnjak.

Three minutes later, Matheus Nogureira threatened again but after dribbling a defender into the area, his final touch was clumsy as the ball finished above the post.

As the first half progressed, Marsaxlokk struggled to find a way towards goal and with the ball mostly centered in their half.

In the 27th minutes, a free-kick taken by Aleksa Andrejic once again finished over the cross bar

In the 30th minute, Marsaxlokk finally had their first opportunity on target. Following a freekick by Daniel Agius, Oscar Carniello tipped the ball in between a crowded area but Balzan goalkeeper Rudy Briffa saved without difficulty.

In the 39th minute, from a cross by Ayton Attard, Kristian Keqi headed well off the crossbar.

Right before the break, Marsaxlokk had a good chance to open the score when, following miscommunication between the last two defenders, Kristian Keqi sped alone towards goal being chased by the two defenders, but finally his angled low shot from distance finishing just wide.

Four minutes after the break, Balzan continued where they left off. Mattheus Nogureira de Sousa managed to dribble past the defenders with the ball finishing in the net past goalkeeper Marko Drobnjak but’s his effort was annulled for offside.

In the 52nd minute, Marsaxlokk in a bid to strengthen their attack, substituted Daniel Agius with Vamara Sanogo and it nearly paid off, as one minute later, he laid his first touch of the game to Tiago Adan Fonseca but the latter’s shot was blocked by goalkeeper Judy Briffa.

The match fell into a deadlock as both sides struggled to get into each other’s defensive area, Leandro Aguirre going closest in the 72nd minute in with a shot from distance that drifted wide off the mark.

BALZAN: Rudy Briffa, Ivan Bozovic, Samir Arab, Marcus Grima, Bogdan Mladenovic (Bojan Kaljevic 6), Paul Fenech, Alexander Satariano (Benjamin Hili 86), Nicola Braunovic, Momcilo Raso, Matheus Alguquerque Nogureira de Souza, Aleksa Andrejic (Angel Yesid Torres Quinones 54’)

MARSAXLOKK: Marko Drobnjak, Ayton Attard (Terance Vella 71), Kristian Keqi, Peter Xuereb, Adrian Ferraris Santiago, Juan Cruz Aguilar (Emerson Vella 46’), Oscar Carniello, Leanardo Aguirre, Ryan Scicluna, Daniel Agius (Vamara Sanago 52’), Tiago Adan Fonseca.

Referee: Daniel Portelli

BOV Player of the match: Alexander Satariano (Balzan)