Sliema Wanderers won the FA Trophy for the 21st time in the history of the club after defeating Balzan 5-4 on penalties. The Wanderers, who had won the first edition of the FA Trophy in 1935, were also the last team to lift the current trophy as it will be replaced by another trophy sponsored by The FA as from next season.
At the end of the ninety minutes, the score was still goalless after a good first half for the Wanderers and a better performance by Balzan after the break. Late in the game, Sliema had a player sent off but they held on well in the remaining minutes and in extra-time to go for the penalty shoot-out. In the penalty shoot-out, the Wanderers scored five with Balzan having one penalty saved by Sliema goalkeeper Entonjo Elezaj.
Despite this win, the Wanderers will not play in the European competitions as they did not obtain a UEFA licence.
For Balzan, losing on penalties was definitely a disappointment as they were so close to winning their first major honour in the history of the club.
Sliema held the initiative during the first half but Balzan had the first real goal scoring opportunity on the 36th when Lydon Micallef, served by Elkin Serrano on the left, had two attempts from close range blocked, first by Elezaj and then by Bianciardi. The Wanderers replied with two consecutive shots by Njongo Priso from the right which were neutralised by the Balzan custodian two minutes later. On the 45th, Elkin Serrano headed just wide off a cross from the right.
Fourteen minutes in the second half, Alfred Effiong hit high off a cross from the right by Alan da Silva. Seven minutes from time, the Wanderers were reduced to ten men after Njongo Priso received two yellow cards for excessive protests. However with no goals being scored, the fame went into extra-time.
In extra-time, the Sliema rear-guard kept the Balzan forwards under control and therefore the penalty shoot-out had to decide the issue.
In the penalty shoot-out-out, Paul Fenech scored for Balzan, Mark Scerri replied for Sliema; Elkin Serrano scored, Jean Paul Farrugia scored; Pedro dos Santos Calcado made it 3-2, Armando Vieria dos Santos scored to level matters; Alfred Effiong scored for Balzan, Alex Muscat made no mistake for Sliema; Dylan Grima’s penalty was parried by Entonjo Elezaj with Clifford Gatt Baldacchino scoring for Sliema to hand them victory.
After the game, captain Alex Muscat was presented with the FA Trophy by MFA President Norman Darmanin Demajo.
BALZAN Ivan Janjusevic, Justin Grioli, Paul Fenech, Steve Bezzina, Lydon Micallef (112′ Luke Sciberras), Clive Brincat (95′ Maxim Focsa), Alfred Effiong, Pedro dos Santos Calcado, Bojan Kaljevic (57′ Alan da Silva Souza), Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Dylan Grima.
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Paul Lapira, Sean Cipriott, Jamie Zerafa, Alan da Silva Souza.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
SLIEMA Entonjo Elezaj, Alex Muscat, Mark Scerri, Njongo Priso, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Marko Potezica, Peter Xuereb, Johann Bezzina (116′ Aidan Friggieri), Denni Rocha dos Santos (74′ Armando Vieira dos Santos), Jean Paul Farrugia, Stefano Bianciardi.
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Benjamin Essel, Michele Sansone, Omar Elouni, Luke Dimech.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Luke Portelli
Additional Assistant Referees: Alan Mario Sant, Trustin Farrugia Cann
Fourth Official: Sandro Spiteri
Reserve Assistant Referee: Peter Abela
Yellow Cards: Scerri, Serrano, Priso, Mandinho
Red Cards: 83′ Njongo Priso