Late Balzan goals sink Spartans — Mosta, M'Xlokk share spoils in drab encounter

Balzan Youths scored two late goals to come from one goal down to beat Hamrun Spartans 2-1. A win which puts the Youths three points ahead of the Spartans.

Despite having a player sent off, the Spartans seemed heading towards a second successive win but Balzan had other thoughts, obtaining the equaliser three minutes from time and notching the winner deep into stoppage time.

Both sides were unable to field their best formation due to the absence of Jonathan Francica and Clifton Ciantar for Balzan, Nikica Gacesa, Roderick Fenech, Steve Bonnici and Omar Borg for Hamrun.

Balzan went close on the third minute through a Pedrinho freekick but Matthew Gauci cleared the ball off the goal line.

The Spartans however managed to take the lead on 13 minutes thanks to a great freekick by Carlo Polli from the right with the ball hitting the crossbar before ending at the back of the net.

Dene Shields then exchanged the ball with Anderson Ribeiro on the 27th but his shot was parried by Matthew Camilleri. Five minutes later, another Shields effort from the right hit the posts following a quickly-taken freekick by Polli.

Early in the second half, Nikola Tasic came to the rescue blocking a goal-bound shot by Gaetan Spiteri from outside the area, blocking the ball into a corner. From the resulting corner, Shields headed just wide.

The Spartans were reduced to ten men on 75 minutes as Esther Azzopardi gave Kevin Sammut marching orders after picking two yellow cards in less than a minute.

Three minutes later, Kris Bright tested Andrea Cassar with a shot from inside the area following a cross by Bernardes. On the other side of the pitch, a Massimo Grima freekick was turned by Matthew Camilleri into a corner.

Four minutes from time, Yessous Camilleri headed just wide off a cross by Pedrinho from the right.

One minute later, Balzan equalised when off a Pedro dos Santos Calcado freekick, David Camilleri deflected the ball past goalkeeper Andrea Cassar for an own goal.

Three minutes in added time, the Youths notched the winner when off a Pedrinho freekick, the unmarked Rennie Forace headed the ball past Cassar.

Dene Shields was voted BOV Player of the Match.

Photos: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com

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HAMRUN Andrea Cassar, Gianluca Calabretta, Massimo Grima, David Camilleri, Matthew Gauci, Rupert Mangion (94′ Carlo Eduardo Toneto Porcari), Carlo Polli, Kevin Sammut, Gaetan Spiteri (70’ Lee James Agius), Dene Shields, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro (77′ Luis Fernando Silva).
Subs not used: Jean Claude Debattista, Glen Azzopardi, Craig Debattista, Ryan Spiteri.
Coach: Jesmond Zammit
Asst. Coach: Vince Carbonaro

BALZAN Matthew Camilleri, Yessous Camilleri, Roderick Farrugia (82’ Silvan Ciscaldi), Bledjon Guga (67’ Kris Bright), Rennie Forace, Dylan Grima, Nikola Tasic, David Fenech, Pedro dos Santos Calcado, Miguel Ciantar (53’ Lydon Micallef), Fagner Lins Bernardes.
Subs not used: Fredrick Tabone, Bjorn Bondin, Michael Borg, Donovan Micallef.
Coach: Joe Borg
Team Manager: Ivan Zammit

Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant referees: Inmar Spiteri, Joe Camilleri
Fourth official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Grima, Calabretta, Bernardes, Mangion, Fenech, Sammut, Farrugia
Red Cards: 75’ Kevin Sammut
Scorers: 13’ Carlo Polli, 87’ own goal, 90+3′ Rennie Forace
Attendance: 758

Mosta and Marsaxlokk earned a point each as they shared the spoils in a goalless draw. Five points therefore continue to separate the two teams with Marsaxlokk on 11 points and Mosta on six.

The match turned out to be a drab encounter with Mosta having an edge over their opponents but failing to turn their superiority into goals.

Coaches Steve D’Amato and Anton Cremona were making their debut for Mosta and Marsaxlokk respectively. D’Amato made five changes from the team which lost to Floriana while Luca Martinelli was ruled out through suspension. Cremona, on the other hand, could not count on Martin Deanov and Obinna Obiefule.

Mosta held the initiative in the opening stages, going close with two shots by Gilbert Martin in the first sixteen minutes. On the 19th minute, off an Ian Zammit corner, Martin’s header hit the upright and Nikola Bogdanovic’s effort off the rebound was blocked by a defender.

Gilbert Martin had another fine shot neutralised by Cassar, when served by Aboulezz on the right on the 25th minute. On the other side of the pitch, Modesto Valeriani tested Jonathan Debono with a shot from the left on 39 minutes.

In the second half, Mosta continued to hold the initiative but shots at goal were rare mainly due to poor ball possession and passes just outside the area.

Ian Zammit was voted BOV Player of the Match.

MOSTA Jonathan Debono, Adrian Borg (79’ Alex Cini), Federico Tisbi, Bryan Agius, Yannick Ossok, Nikola Bogdanovic, Kurt Magro, Firas Aboulezz, Gilbert Martin, Ian Zammit, Michel Bertrand Maki Mvondo (60’ Arilson Mello da Silva).
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Kane Farrugia, Sheldon Grech, Jonathan Bajada, Wayne Sciberras.
Coach: Steve D’Amato

M’XLOKK Christian Cassar, Malcolm Licari, Jonathan Xerri, Clive Brincat, Carlo Mamo, Modesto Valeriani (84′ Kevin Polidano), Patrick Borg, Sunday Eboh, Emiliano Lattes, Gary Caruana, Jean Paul Farrugia (75’ Sacha Borg).
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, Dylan Kokavessis, Jean Claude Vella, Stefan Cutajar, Darrell Grech.
Coach: Anton Cremona

Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant referees: Thomas Debono, Alex Grech
Fourth official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Eboh, Brincat