Wednesday 18th January 2017: Balzan managed to qualify for the quarter finals of the FA Trophy by beating Valletta with a dramatic goal in the injury time by substitute Alfred Effiong, despite playing for almost 50 minutes with a man less on the pitch after the expulsion of defender Bruno Gilio De Oliveira.
Good morning too all. Thank you to all the squad, staff and supporters for yesterday's memorable 1-0 win vs Valletta in the FA Trophy 4th round. ????????????????WELL DONE BOYS ????????????????????????????????Balzanin, we next play vs St. Andrews on Saturday at 2pm at Ta'Qali. Please come and support our boys. #FORZABALZAN #YESWECAN
Posted by Balzan F.C. on Wednesday, January 18, 2017
Balzan started with Lydon Micallef preferred to Abdelkarim Nafti while Dylan Grima replaced injured Justin Grioli in defence while Ryan Fenech and Alfred Effiong had to settle for a place on the bench. On the other hand Valletta started with Tomas Radzinevicius instead of Luke Montebello and Juan Cruz Gill replaced injured Jonathan Caruana.
In the opening minutes of the game both teams were cautious and opted to study each other.
The first chance came to Balzan when off a corner taken by Alan Da Silva Souza, a header by Elkin Serrano Valero was saved by goalkeeper Dziugas Bartkus.
In the 21st minute Valletta responded with a shot from an acute angle by Romeo Romano which finished wide.
In the 26th minute Balzan suffered a severe setback as their defender Bruno Gilio De Oliveira was sent off for retaliation, following a violent tackle by Rowen Muscat. On the other hand Rowen Muscat was only yellow carded.
Following this incident, Balzan were forced to make a necessary substitution by replacing attacker Lydon Micallef with defender Clive Brincat.
Valletta failed to take advantage of this numerical superiority. Instead just before the break, Balzan had a good chance to take the lead when Bojan Kaljevic set Matteo Picciolo but goalkeeper Dziugas Bartkus came out in time to block him.
In the second half, Valletta came out searching for a goal, testing Balzan with a serious of passes to Tomas Radzinevicius but failed to penetrate the solid defence.
In the 58th minute a shot by Jean Borg was deviated just over the cross bar.
From the corner, taken by Pani, Cruz Gill anticipated his marker but his thumping header was saved by Ivan Janjusevic.
On 74 minutes Valletta, in a bid to increase pressure on Balzan’s defence, replaced ineffective Tomas Radzinevicius with Luke Montebello.
However, in the 76th minute numerical parity was restored when Rowen Muscat was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Matteo Piciollo.
In the 80th minute, Romeo Romao threatened with a powerful drive but goalkeeper Ivan Janjusevic managed to turn to a corner.
From the resulting corner, taken by Leonardo Aguire, a header by Juan Cruz Gill was blocked by the goalkeeper.
Three minutes later Matteo Piciollo failed to connect a cross by Bojan Kaljevic and a minute later from a corner taken by Paul Fenech, Matteo Piciollo saw his attempt saved with difficulty by the goalkeeper.
Three minutes from time, Balzan replaced Matteo Piciollo with Alfred Effiong and this move proved itself, as in stoppage time Paul Fenech served ALFRED EFFIONG inside the box and his powerful drive gave Dziugas Bartkus no chance.