Sunday 16th October 2016 – In the top-of-the-table clash at Victor Tedesco Stadium, Birkirkara moved to three points behind leaders Balzan after beating them 3 – 0. This was the first defeat for Balzan after obtaining six wins from the first seven matches, dropping their only points in a draw against Valletta.

Highlights from BOV P.L. Match B'KARA vs BALZAN 3-0 (16 Oct 2016)(c) MFA – PBS Limited

Posted by Malta Football Association – 1900 on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Balzan made some changes from their last game against St Andrews where Ivan Janjusevic, Justin Grioli, Dylan Grima and Alfred Effiong replaced Christian Cassar, Samir Arab, Lydon Micallef and Matteo Piciollo. On the other hand, Christian Bubalovic returned for Birkirkara, replacing the suspended Predrag Jovic

Birkirkara were clearly the better side right from the start and Balzan never looked capable of matching their opponents’ determined approach and flowing football.

During the initial stages of the game, Birkirkara tried to hold possession but Balzan pressed them high in key areas.

The first attempt to goal came to Alfred Effiong on the 7th minute when he tested goalkeeper Kopric Mirosalv but he saved with ease.

In the 16th minute Balzan could have gone in front when Abdelkarim Nafti dribbled past Mislav Andelkovic but his shot finished wide.

Two minutes later Alfred Effiong wasted an inviting chance to put Balzan ahead when he advanced into the box but his strike was saved by Kopric.

Balzan paid dear for these missed chances as, a minute later, Birkirkara opened the score when VITO PLUT dribbled past defender Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, had his first effort partially saved by goalkeeper Ivan Janjusevic but managed to score from the rebound, inside the eight-yard box.

Seven minutes later, Birkirkara made it 2 – 0 when, in a bid to clear Rowen Muscat’s cross, Steve Bezzina diverted the ball into his own net.

As Balzan struggled to react Birkirkara sealed the issue on the stroke of half-time. When Balzan defence seemed to have stopped for an offside position of Vito Plut, Frank Temile dazzled between two defenders and dashed into the box but, after seeing his two efforts saved by Janjusevic, he crossed towards the far post where he found VITO PLUT who did not fail to head home into an empty net.

In the second half with three goals down, Balzan replaced defender Steve Bezzina with Alan Da Silva Souza, in a bid to strengthen the attack, with Dylan Grima leaving the midfield to help in defence.

Despite this Birkirkara almost struck again when, on the 54th minute, Rowen Muscat sent a perfect through-ball to Vito Plut who sped past the hesitant Elkin Serrano Valero but his effort was saved well by Janjusevic.

On the hour, a direct free-kick taken by Abdelkarim Nafti finished just over the bar.

In the 75th minute, Ryan Scicluna, who came in for Gareth Sciberras, also went close after connecting a Srdan Dimitrov pass, but his reverse strike from inside the box finished wide.

On the 82nd minute, Balzan would have conceded the fourth goal when, with Balzan rearguard wide open, Shaun Bajada set Frank Temile but Ivan Janjusevic saved his side with another fine save.