Balzan left it late to beat their neighbours Lija, whoes lively performance made it tough for Balzan, in a game which produced plenty of goals and excitement.

Balzan made a couple of changes from their last appearance against Valletta. Suspended central defender Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero was replaced by Clive Brincat and Paul Fenech returned back in midfield, after suspension, replacing Milos Lepovic. Bojan Kaljevic also returned from suspension and was utilized as a second-half substitute.

In the first half Balzan came out in search of an early goal and in fact they managed to take the lead on the 11th minute thanks to RYAN FENECH who, after receiving a perfect through pass from Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes (Cadu’), concluded a fine solo effort by dribbling past two defenders before beating onrushing goalkeeper Luke Bonnici.

Lija were not demoralised by this goal and reacted immediately. They started giving problems to Balzan defence by exploiting the empty spaces on each side of the pitch with Erjon Beu operating on the right and Leejoe Schembri on the left.

On the 18th minute Lija equalised. Clive Brincat brought down Erjon Beu with a late tackle inside the penalty area and the referee signalled for a penalty. From the penalty spot ERJON BEU did not fail to resort equilibrium.

This goal boosted Lija’s players morale and in the 25th minute Lija took the lead when, following a short back-pass by defender Michael Johnson, LEEJOE SCHEMBRI outpaced the same player before hitting a powerful angled drive past goalkeeper Ivan Janjusevic.

Balzan were forced to react and had several opportunities that could have seen them back on track before the interval.

On the 27th minute Alfred Effiong had his shot from the right side turned into a corner by the Lija keeper.

Just past the half hour mark, goalkeeper Luke Bonnici made a good save over an attempt by Ryan Fenech.

On the 33rd minute, Uros Ljubomirac sent an inviting low cross from the right that found nobody to connect to.

Five minutes later the same player failed to convert another golden opportunity as he skied the ball from inside the eight-yard box.

Balzan made a substitution at half-time, bringing on Bojan Kaljevic for Clive Brincat.

In the second half Balzan came out better and on the 47th minute Lija goalkeeper was forced to turn into a corner a strong shot by Ryan Fenech.

Five minutes later, Balzan restored equilibrium as they were awarded a penalty when Paul Fenech was brought down defender Sidibe Ousmane, as he advanced in the area, with the referee signalling a penalty. From the penalty spot BOJAN KALJEVIC did not fail to convert.

However on the 59th minute Lija regained the lead when off a cross from the left by Leejoe Schembri, Erjon Beu served ABUBAKAR BELLO OSAGIE who hit low past Ivan Janjusevic.

Balzan decided to put everything forward and for this they were rewarded as on the 68th minute they levelled matters again when Ryan Fenech served BOJAN KALJEVIC, from the left, who in turn finished home once again.

Balzan insisted with determination and this earned them a winner as on the 87th minute, to the joy of the Balzan supporters, ALFRED EFFIONG headed home a cross by Alex Da Paixo Alves.

BALZAN : Ivan Janjusevic, Steve Bezzina, Michael Johnson, Alfred Effiong, Uros Ljubomirac, Ryan Fenech, Samir Arab, Clive Brincat (Bojan Kaljevic 46′), Paul Fenech, Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes (Milos Lepovic 88′), Alex da Paixao Alves (Jacob Borg 92′).

LIJA A : Luke Bonnici, Predrag Babic (Patrick Borg 71′), Leon Muscat, Daniel Scerri, Erjon Beu, Leejoe Schembri (Aiden Galea 88’), Antoine Borg (Carl Cassar 45′), Abubakar Bello-Osagie, McAllister Clinch, Ousmane Sidibe, Djamel Leeflang.

Referee: Laurent Kopriwa (Luxemburg)
Assistant Referees: Gilles Becker, Claude Ries (Luxemburg)
Fourth Official: Stefan Pace

BOV Player of the Match: Leejoe Schembri