Balzan Youths moved sixth in the BOV Premier League as they came back from one goal down to beat Sliema Wanderers 2-1.
Ironically it was a goal by Miguel Ciantar, who is on loan with the club from Sliema, who notched the winner in added time.
Sliema stay in fourth place together with Birkirkara on 26 points, two ahead of the Youths and three ahead of Qormi.
Emiliano Lattes was making his debut for Sliema Wanderers but Beppe Muscat and Roderick Bajada were missing as they were serving a one-match ban. Clifton Ciantar and Roderick Farrugia were unavailable for Balzan.
The Blues had the first attempt at goal with Jeremiah Ani testing Matthew Camilleri’s goalkeeping skills with a powerful low shot from the right flank with the Balzan custodian deflecting the ball into a corner. Two minutes later, a Pedro Calcado effort ended high.
Sliema took the lead on 16 minutes with a rising shot by Ryan Fenech from outside the area which beat Camilleri.
Following a clearance by Francica, the ball was deflected by Ani with Camillieri punching the ball with some difficulty into a corner.
Balzan levelled matters on 27 minutes when Pedro dos Santos Calcado received a through pass by Martin Deyanov and beat Henry Bonello with a low shot.
Five minutes from the end of the first half, a Daniel Mitev effort from outside the penalty box scraped past the post. A minute later, a shot by Calcado from a central position was neutralised by Bonello.
Danial Mitev went close for the Blues early in the second half but Matthew Camilleri blocked his attempts. On 73 minutes, consecutive shots by Anthony Eviparker were neutralised by Bonello. Three minutes later, a cross by Calcado from the right flank was met by Eviparker whose shot just missed the target.
One minute from time, Balzan were awarded a penalty after Josef Mifsud brought Fagner Lins Bernardes inside the area. However Pedro dos Santos Calcado’s central shot was parried by Bonello.
The two teams were then reduced to ten men as referee Esther Azzopardi sent off Danial Mitev and Jonathan Francica.
But the game was not over yet as in a counter-attack for Balzan, two minutes in added time, Miguel Ciantar rounded the goalkeeper and his low diagonal shot ended into an empty net.
Pedro dos Santos Calcado was voted BOV Player of the Match.
BALZAN Matthew Camilleri, Yessous Camilleri, Jonathan Francica, Bledjon Guga, Rennie Forace (58′ Silvan Ciscaldi), Dylan Grima, Nikola Tasic, Bjorn Bondin, Martin Deyanov (70′ Miguel Ciantar), Pedro Dos Santos Calcado, Anthony Eviparker (76′ Fagner Lins Bernardes).
Subs not used: Fredrick Tabone, Michael Borg, Lydon Micallef, David Fenech.
Coach: Joe Borg
Team Manager: Ivan Zammit
SLIEMA Henry Bonello, Josef Mifsud, Mark Scerri, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (46′ Cleaven Frendo), Danial Mitev, Steve Bezzina (90+1′ Timothy Thomas), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino (46′ Alex Muscat), Ryan Fenech, Rumen Galabov, Jeremiah Ani, Emiliano Lattes.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, David Spiteri, Ian Scerri, Ryan Grech.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Assistant Coach: Saviour Debono Grech
Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Mitchell Scerri
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Gatt Baldacchino, Bondin, Fenech, Francica, Y. Camilleri, Guga, Mifsud
Red Cards: 90′ Danial Mitev, Jonathan Francica
Scorers: 16′ Ryan Fenech (S); 27′ Pedro dos Santos Calcado (B); 90+2′ Miguel Ciantar (B)
Valletta struggled much more than expected as they defeated Mqabba 2-1 to move once again six points ahead of Hibernians.
Mqabba gave a very good account of themselves and although the leaders held the initiative throughout the ninety minutes, they could consider themselves unlucky to leave the Hibs Stadium empty-handed.
The Citizens were in full strength with no players injured or suspended. On the other hand, Claudio Calleja was missing for Clive Mizzi’s side as he was serving a one-match ban.
Mqabba forged ahead on the 9th minute when off a cross by David Azzopardi, John Nwoba headed home past Hogg.
Valletta replied with a cross by William Barbosa on 27 minutes from which Michael Mifsud’s close-range effort was blocked by goalkeeper Kris Calleja. On 41 minutes, Mifsud served Jamie Pace on the left but the latter’s powerful shot ended wide. One minute in added time, a shot by Edmond Agius from outside the area scraped past the post.
The Citizens equalised eleven minutes in the second half when substitute Alfred Effiong concluded a good run on the right with a low shot which was blocked by goalkeeper Kris Calleja and off the rebound, Michael Mifsud managed to place the ball at the back of the net.
The Reds appealed for a penalty on 62 minutes after substitute Bojan Mamic was sandwiched by Hogg and Caruana and ended on the ground but the referee waved play on. A long-distance shot by Roderick Briffa was neutralised by Calleja eight minutes later. A cross shot from the right by Gilbert Agius was then saved by Calleja on 71 minutes.
Kris Calleja performed a great save at point blank on Alfred Effiong following a cross by Gilbert Agius from the right on the 72nd minute. Eight minutes later, a close-range effort by Mifsud was blocked by the Mqabba custodian.
Two minutes from time, Valletta notched the winner when Steve Borg took the ball from a short clearance and with a powerful shot from the edge of the area, he beat goalkeeper Kris Calleja.
In added time, in a counter-attack for Valletta, Alfred Effiong advanced on the right, serving Michael Mifsud who controlled the ball but hit the upright.
Kris Calleja was voted BOV Player of the Match.
VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Steve Borg, Jonathan Caruana, Roderick Briffa, Jamie Pace (77′ Dyson Falzon), Edmond Agius (55′ Gilbert Agius), Ian Azzopardi, Denni Rocha dos Santos, Ousseni Zongo (55′ Alfred Effiong), William Barbosa, Michael Mifsud.
Subs not used: Matthew Towns, Ramon dos Santos, Samir Arab, Siraj Arab.
Coach: Leonard Farrugia
Assistant Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
MQABBA Kris Calleja, Marko Potezica, Julian Briffa, Branislav Timotic, David Azzopardi (85‘ Shawn Magro), Thiago dos Santos Mazitelli, Mauro Bonnici, Pierre Grima, Ryan Sammut, John Nwoba (60′ Bojan Mamic)(70′ Marlon Briffa), Clayton Micallef.
Subs not used: Franklin Azzopardi, Mark Anthony Psaila, John Paul Muscat, Rene Duca.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Assistant Coach: Renzo Kerr Cumbo
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Mariano Debono, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: Caruana, Grima
Scorers: 9′ John Nwoba (M), 56’ Michel Mifsud (V); 88’ Steve Borg (V)