A goal deep into stoppage time by Oscar Guerrero gave Balzan a dramatic 3-2 win over Birkirkara at the Victor Tedesco Stadium. A win which puts Balzan on level with Mosta at the top of the BOV Premier League table as they maintain their unbeaten record with three wins in four matches.
For Birkirkara, this was the first defeat after claiming maximum points from the first three matches.
With Gareth Sciberras and Edmond Agius still ruled out injured, Birkirkara coach Paul Zammit opted to make two changes from the team which defeated Naxxar as Eliandro and Matheus Bissi replaced Leighton Grech and Alejandro Mendoza in the starting line-up. Balzan coach Oliver Spiteri handed Clive Brincat his debut, starting with Luke Sciberras on the bench.
Birkirkara took the lead on the 28th minute when off a cross by Rafael Ledesma, Ellinton Antonio Costa Morais ‘Liliu’ chipped the ball over goalkeeper Steve Sultana with a header.
However Balzan levelled matters on the 34th minute thanks to Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza whose shot from the edge of the area was not held by Justin Haber.
The Stripes maintained the pressure and two minutes from the end of the first half, Liliu restored the lead with a low shot which beat the Balzan custodian following a cross by Ryan Camenzuli.
Eight minutes in the second half, Piccioni served Mifsud Triganza but the latter missed the chance to equalise, hitting wide from an ideal position inside the area.
Balzan managed to equalise on the hour, once again thanks to Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza who rifled the ball home off the rebound after a Gianmarco Piccioni effort was blocked by Lydon Micallef.
Three minutes in added time, Balzan notched the winner thanks to Oscar Guerrero who concluded a solo effort with a fine shot from inside the area which gave goalkeeper Justin Haber no chance.
BALZAN Steve Sultana, Justin Grioli, Steve Bezzina, Elkin Serrano, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Osa Ice-Cream Guobadia, Clive Brincat, Lydon Micallef (90+2′ Michael Borg), Oscar Guerrero, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (79′ Luke Sciberras), Gianmarco Piccioni.
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Juan Corbalan, Samir Arab, Ryan Darmanin, Fredrick Nonso Odebe.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
B’KARA Justin Haber, Matheus Bissi da Silva, Ellinton Antonio Costa Morais, Nikola Vukanac, Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma (66′ Alejandro Mendoza Corujo), Eliandro dos Santos Gonzaga, Paul Fenech (66′ Leighton Grech), Zach Muscat, Ryan Scicluna, Edward Herrera (85′ Kurt Zammit), Ryan Camenzuli.
Subs not used: Justin Tonna, Antoine Borg, Andrea Curmi, Dylan Aquilina.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Guobadia, Mifsud Triganza, Micallef, Z. Muscat, Sultana
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 785
Meanwhile a goal by Terence Vella in stoppage-time enabled Naxxar Lions to rescue a point in the derby against rivals Mosta, therefore stopping the Blues from taking sole leadership. These were in fact the first points to be dropped by Mosta after winning their first three matches.
Mosta had Pedro dos Santos Calcado making his debut after serving a three-match ban. James Brincat started the game on the bench. Winston Muscat opted to start with Ryan Cassar, Gilmar and Mattia Del Negro as David Fenech was ruled out injured while Angus Buhagiar, Terence Vella and Pablo Doffo started the game on the bench.
Both sides had their fair share of scoring opportunities during the first half. Bojan Kaljevic missed a good chance from close range when served by Pedrinho and then Omar Borg rushed out of the area to stop Gilmar from concluding. Substitute Mosta goalkeeper Kyle Gerada performed a good save on a Gilmar header while in stoppage time, Azzopardi stop.
Mosta took the lead on 57 minutes thanks to Daniel Mariano Bueno following a through pass by Kaljevic and he dribbled the Naxxar goalkeeper before placing the ball at the back of the net.
One minute in added time, Naxxar notched the equaliser when Terence Vella received a cross from the right and slotted the ball past Gerada.
MOSTA Omar Borg (26’ Kyle Gerada), Tyrone Farrugia, Manolito Micallef, Ryan Grech, Daniel Mariano Bueno (83’ Kurt Zammit), Pedro dos Santos Calcado (60’ Jonas Rodriguez Ekani), Nemanja Milovanovic, Bojan Kaljevic, Dyson Falzon, Kurt Magro, Adrian Borg.
Subs not used: James Brincat, Sasa Javanovic, Ishmael Grech, Carl Pulo.
Coach: Enrico Piccioni
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Victor Bellia, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Mattia Del Negro, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Uchenna Mbachu Emenike, Darren Falzon (65’ Terence Vella), Pape Gueye, David Alejandro Reano (76′ Pablo Doffo), Andrew Scicluna.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Duane Bonnici, Angus Buhagiar, Jurgen Debono, Ryan Mercieca.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Roberto Vella
Fourth Official: Chris Laurier
Yellow Cards: Gueye, Kaljevic, Bellia
Scorers: 57’ Daniel Mariano (M) 90+1′ Terence Vella (N)
BOV Player of the Match: Bojan Kaljevic
Attendance at the National Stadium: 1,290