Luxol have been crowned as the Gatorade Futsal Premier League champions after winning their second play-off final and beat outgoing champions Balzan 4-3.
Balzan struggled to find their rhythm in a first half shaded by Luxol who deservedly built a two-goal advantage but in the second half the former side improved and after some tactical switches, they stormed into their opponents to level the score.
Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg
Despite all this, Luxol still remained concentrated and soon two more goals followed. The fired-up Balzan tried to rattle past the St. Andrews defence who absorbed their opponents’ pressure to administer their advantage.
Luxol broke the deadlock inside the opening two minutes when Peter Pullicino cut inside from the right before freeing William Barbosa who fired home his team’s advantage.
They doubled the score shortly afterwards when Dean Gera drove towards byline on the left before passing to the unmarked William Barbosa who poked home to send his fans into raptures.
Two goals down, Balzan showed signs of making a reaction. On 15 minutes Frane Despotovic met Slobodan Janjic’s pass, to produce a fierce shot that left no chance for Grech.
Three minutes from half-time, Luxol striker William Barbosa was unlucky to hit the upright after a good counter attack.
Balzan began the second half in brisk mode. Their improvement was rewarded on 23 minutes when Glenn Bonello’s effort finished at the back of the net to restore parity.
Despite this goal, Luxol kept their composure and in no time they regained their advantage when Dean Gera’s piledriver surprised Christian Cassar to make it 3-2 for his team.
This goal confused Balzan’s plans as Cassar avoided a classical own goal by Despotovic whose erratic low clearance was pawed away by his keeper.
Luxol took advantage of this and managed to score their fourth as Florin Anton led a quick counter attack to send Barbosa in a good position to convert.
It was now Balzan’s turn to pile the pressure. Slobodan Janjic darted past the Luxol players to slot past the onrushing Grech to send some hopes among the Balzan clan.
As the minutes trickled by, Balzan upped their pressure, forcing a couple of corners and introducing Marev and Despotovic as flying keepers but their efforts foundered on the solid Luxol rearguard who secured the results till the end.
FMA President, Mark Borg alongside Vice President Alfred Camilleri and a Gatorade
representative, presented the medals and trophies to the new champions.
Both teams will now face each other next Friday for the Gatorade Futsal Knock-Out competition final.