Balzan Youths earned the fifth point of the season as a goal by on-loan striker Miguel Ciantar enabled them to hold Sliema Wanderers in a 1-1 draw.
Much more was expected from the Blues, who are yet to suffer a first defeat but have now dropped six points in three draws.
Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza was missing for Sliema but Danial Mitev was back after serving a one-match ban. Pedro Dos Santos Calcado was ruled out through suspension for Balzan.
The Wanderers forged ahead on 21 minutes when Bledjon Guga handled the ball inside the area, referee Trustin Farrugia Cann ordered a penalty and from the penalty spot, Danial Mitev made no mistake.
On the 29th minute, Matthew Camilleri turned into a corner a Ryan Grech effort, when served by Cleavon Frendo. Four minutes later, Kim Bright was unlucky to hit the foot of the post with a fine header off a Fagner freekick. Santos Silva then served Roderick Bajada whose conclusion was turned into another corner by the Balzan custodian on 38 minutes.
Seven minutes in the second half, Matthew Camilleri managed to anticipate the Sliema forwards following a cross from the right by Roderick Bajada.
Balzan levelled matters on 54 minutes when off a Fagner corner from the left, Kris Bright headed the ball into the direction of Miguel Ciantar whose fine header beat goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
Jackson Lima tried his luck with a low shot which was neutralised by the Balzan custodian on the 70th. An angled shot by Jorge Santos Silva was turned into a corner by Camilleri a minute later.
Four minutes from time, Balzan were awarded an indirect freekick inside the area after Bonello handled the ball on the goalline following a backpass by Josef Mifsud. However Bledjon Guga’s effort was blocked on the goal-line. In a swift counter-attack for the Blues, Jorge Santos Silva served Jerry Ani with a cross from the right and the Nigerian striker’s close-range effort was parried by Camilleri.
Finally on the 90th, Kris Bright missed a good opportunity when he exchanged the ball with Lydon Micallef but his poor conclusion was neutralised by Bonello.
Matthew Camilleri was voted BOV Player of the Match.
SLIEMA Henry Bonello, Alex Muscat, Josef MIfsud, Ryan Grech (72’ Mark Scerri), Danial Mitev, Steve Bezzina, Jackson Lima Sequeira, Rumen Galabov (83’ Jeremiah Ani), Roderick Bajada, Jorge Santos Silva, Cleavon Frendo (62’ Beppe Muscat).
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Julian Briffa, Ryan Dalli, Andrew Caligari.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Assistant Coach: Saviour Debono Grech
BALZAN Matthew Camilleri, Clifton Ciantar, Rennie Forace, Yessous Camilleri, Jonathan Francica, Bledjon Guga, Dylan Grima, Nikola Tasic, Miguel Ciantar (72’ Aaron Agius), Fagner Lins Bernardes (81’ Lydon Micallef), Kris Bright (91’ Bjorn Bondin).
Subs not used: Fredrick Tabone, Silvan Ciscaldi, David Fenech, Michael Borg.
Coach: Joe Borg
Team Manager: Ivan Zammit
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant referees: Alan Camilleri, Sammy Attard
Fourth official: Chris Lautier
Yellow Cards: Guga, C. Ciantar, Mitev, Forace, Mifsud, Grima, L. Micallef
Scorers: 21’ Danial Mitev (pen); 54’ Miguel Ciantar
Meanwhile Valletta returned to winning ways as they defeated Mqabba 4-2. A win which puts them on top the BOV Premier League table but second-placed Hibernians have a game in hand.
It was no easy match for the Citizens as Mqabba, who were coming from three positive results, played another good game, scoring twice during the first half to restore equilibrium.
Valletta lacked five players, namely the suspended Steve Borg, Ryan Fenech and Gilbert Agius and the injured Michael Mifsud and Ramon dos Santos. On the other hand, Andrew Scicluna, Mauro Bonnici and Mark Anthony Psaila were missing for Mqabba.
The Citizens took the lead after just thirty-four seconds when Ousseni Zongo intercepted a header by a defender for goalkeeper Kris Calleja and managed to place the ball at the back of the net.
Mqabba replied with a Mirko Potezica long-distance effort which was turned into a corner by Hogg on 14 minutes. Zongo then had another powerful shot from the left turned into a corner by Calleja. From the resulting corner, Alfred Effiong headed high.
The Reds levelled matters on 23 minutes when off a clearance by Andrew Hogg, the ball reached Marlon Briffa who caught the Valletta custodian out of place and scored with a cute lob.
But two minutes later, Valletta regained the lead when off a cross from the left, William Barbosa placed the ball at the back of the net with a fine overhead kick.
Mqabba restored equilibrium on 36 minutes with a direct freekick by Bojan Mamic which hit the upright before the ball ended at the back of the net.
Mamic went close once again for Mqabba one minute in the second half with a rising shot from the left ending just over the bar.
Valletta made it 3-2 on 67 minutes when off a Dyson Falzon cross from the left, William Barbosa headed the ball home past Calleja.
Two minutes from time, Denni Rocha Dos Santos added a fourth goal when he controlled a perfect pass by Siraj Arab and beat Kris Calleja with a rising shot.
William Barbosa was voted BOV Player of the Match,
MQABBA Kris Calleja, Pierre Grima, Marko Potezica, Branislav Timotic, Marlon Briffa (77’ John Paul Muscat), David Azzopardi (77’ Shawn Magro), Thiago Mazzitelli, Claudio Calleja (62’ Rene Duca), Ryan Sammut, Clayton Micallef, Bojan Mamic.
Subs not used: Reuben Cini, Charlot Attard, Omar Farrugia, Claudio Gatt.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Assistant Coach: Renzo Kerr Cumbo
VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Jonathan Caruana (63’ Siraj Arab), Ian Azzopardi, Alfred Effiong, Roderick Briffa, Jamie Pace, Edmond Agius, Dyson Falzon, Denni Rocha Dos Santos, Ousseni Zongo (91’ Isaac Zammit), William Barbosa.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Samir Arab, Glen Cassar, Kane Psaila, Leone Camilleri.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Assistant Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Referee: Kevin Azzopardi
Assistant referees: Chris Francalanza, Mitchell Scerri
Fourth official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: Grima, I. Azzopardi, Timotic, D. Azzopardi
Scorers: 1’ Ousseni Zongo, 23’ Marlon Briffa, 25’ William Barbosa, 36’ Bojan Mamic, 67’ William Barbosa, 88’ Denni Rocha Dos Santos