Balzan only managed to earn a point in a goalless draw with Gzira United at the Centenary Stadium on Monday. A draw which puts them just one point ahead of Valletta and five ahead of Birkirkara – five days before the leaders take on the Stripes in another difficult test.
The Maroons remain fourth on 39 points, two behind Birkirkara and two ahead of Floriana.
The two teams shared the exchanges for long stretches with Balzan going close through Kaljevic early in the game and mid-way through the first half, Gzira threatened the Balzan rear-guard with Okoye.
Early in the second half, Zack Scerri had a fine attempt blocked into a corner and then Alfred Effiong went close to putting Balzan ahead.
However the two sets of defenders held tight and neither side managed to break the deadlock.
BALZAN Ivan Janjusevic, Uros Ljubomirac, Alfred Effiong (79′ Siraj Arab Eddin), Elkin Serrano Valero, Paul Fenech, Ivan Bozovic (90+2′ Justin Grioli), Michael Johnson, Steve Bezzina, Alex da Paixao Alves, Bojan Kaljevic, Carlos Eduardo de Fiori Mendes.
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Clive Brincat, Jamie Zerafa, Fabio Attard, Jacob Dominico Borg,
Coach: Marko Micovic
GZIRA Justin Haber, Roderick Briffa, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Destin Prince-Loic Mambouana, Kris Thackray, Moises Avila Perez, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Haruna Garba Zambuk, Zack Scerri (75′ Nikolai Muscat), Amadou Samb (90+2′ Juan Carlos Corbalan), Ndubuisi Emmanuel Okoye.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Sacha Borg, Luca Brincat, Christian Sammut, Karl Pulo.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Duncan Sultana
Additional Assistant Referees: Alan Mario Sant, Ishmael Barbara
Fourth Official: Edward Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Samb, Kaljevic, Effiong, Ljubomirac
BOV Player of the Match: Ndubuisi Emmanuel Okoye