For Balzan, this was yet another disappointing result after last week’s defeat to Hibernians handed the title to Valletta. Once again, they ended the season empty-handed as they continue to chase their first major honour.
Valletta were the best team in the pitch during the first half and managed to threaten Balzan on a number of occasions. On the other hand, Balzan seemed disoriented and failed to test Henry Bonello.
Valletta had the their first attempt to goal in the 16th minute when Miguel Angel Alba’s powerful shot was tipped of to corner by goalkeeper Sean Mintoff.
Balzan were clearly struggling to settle into the match as Valletta had the initiative.
Valletta insisted and three minutes later Sean Mintoff pushed away Matteo Piciollo’s cross-shot and from the rebound Emmy Pena Beltre’s shot was cleared away by Michael Johnson.
Valletta kept on insisting and went close again in the 28th minute. Miguel Angel Alba’s cross from a free-kick was met by Ibrahim Saleh whose close range header ended up slightly wide.
In the 34th minute, Valletta had their best chance of the half when Rowen Muscat pounced on a Milos Lepovic pass to make his way forward but his effort was blocked. Matteo Piciollo picked up the rebound and dribbled his way into the area but his shot came off the bar.
Balzan came out better into the second half. In the 46th minute, Bojan Kaljevic picked Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes (Kadu) on the edge of the area but his shot was too central to trouble goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
Valletta suffered a set-back on the 48th minute as they were reduced to ten men. Steve Borg was given his marching orders after being shown his second yellow card of the match, on a foul over Kadu.
Valletta replaced Rowen Muscat for Juan Cruz Gill to fill the void left by Steve Borg in the heart of defence.
Balzan gained confidence and in the 62nd minute Bojan Kaljevic sent Alfred Effiong through on the left and after avoiding a foul tackle by Juan Cruz Gill, he just the same tried his luck with a shot which ended just wide.
A minute later, a Milos Lepovic effort was deflected into a corner when he was served by Alex da Paixao Alves.
In the 67th minute, Balzan took the lead when a shot from the left by Alfred Effiong was not held by Bonello and ALEX DA PAIXAO ALVES took the deflection and tapped the ball home from close range.
Two minutes later, Da Paxao Alves set Kadu through on goal but, with just Henry Bonello to beat, he finished wide.
In the 71st minute, a Steve Bezzina cross fell to Bojan Kaljevic who in turn passed the ball into the path of Kadu, but after dribbled past a defender and was fouled in the box by Cruz Gill but the referee waved play on and ironically, instead of giving a penalty, he booked the Brazilian for simulation.
When it looked as though that Valletta were down and out, the unexpected happened.
On the 78th minute, Valletta were awarded a penalty after the referee judged that Ryan Fenech pushed Raed Ibrahim Saleh inside the box. From the penalty spot, DENNI ROCHA DOS SANTOS made no mistake.
In the 82nd minute, Valletta turned the score in their favour when Raed Ibrahim Saleh advanced on the right and served MATTEO PICIOLLO founf his way into the area and beat Sean Mintoff with a stunning shot from the right side.
Balzan tried to get back in the game during the remaining minutes; however, they found a strong Valletta defence in their way as the latter held firm to seal their place in the final of the FA Trophy.
Valletta FC : Henry Bonello, Miguel Angel Alba (Denni Rocha Dos Santos 73’), Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Santiago Malano, Rowen Muscat (Juan Gill Cruz 54’), Kyrian Nwoko (Jean Borg 84’), Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre, Matteo Picciolo, Ibrahim Saleh, Joseph Zerafa
Balzan FC : Sean Mintoff, Steve Bezzina, Ivan Bozovic (Justin Grioli 70’), Alfred Effiong, Paul Fenech, Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes (Ryan Fenech 77’), Milos Lepovic (Siraj Arab 86’), Michael Johnson, Bojan Kaljevic, Alex De Paixao Alves, Valero Elkin Serrano
Referee: Clayton Pisani