Balzan secure historic Europa League place after shock 3-1 win over champions

Balzan managed to bring champions Hibernians’ unbeaten record to an end as they defeated them 3-1. A win which enabled them to secure fourth place and hence a place in the UEFA Europa League this summer as they move once again seven points ahead of Floriana with two games to go.

For Hibernians, it was a disappointing defeat, knowing that they were so close to finishing their BOV Premier League campaign unbeaten but ended up suffering their first defeat after thirty matches.

Balzan managed to take the lead on the 19th minute when off a cross from the right by Gianmarco Piccioni, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza hit low from close range and goalkeeper Henry Bonello saved the ball when it had already crossed the goal line.

On the 73rd minute, Balzan were awarded a penalty after goalkeeper Henry Bonello brought Luke Sciberras down inside the area; referee Evan Boyce sent off the Hibes goalkeeper and Gianmarco Piccioni made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Jackson Lima was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a shot from outside the area on the 80th minute.

Seven minutes from time, Bjorn Kristensen hit the upright with a header off an Andrew Cohen freekick and off the rebound, Clayton Failla placed the ball at the back of the netto reduce the gap.

However seven minutes in added time, Balzan sealed the issue with a third goal as Luke Sciberras received a long through pass by Guerrero and advanced all alone before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Jurgen Borg to the joy of the Balzan players, officials and supporters.

HIBS Henry Bonello, Rodolfo Soares, Andrei Agius, Jonathan Pearson (74′ Jurgen Borg gk), Marcelo Dias (80′ Marko Rajic), Clayton Failla, Bjorn Kristensen, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Andrew Cohen, Jurgen Degabriele (66′ Luis Andre de Melo Lima), Jorge da Silva Pereira.
Subs not used: Keith Tanti, Timothy Tabone Desira, Joseph Mbong, Johann Bezzina.
Coach: Branko Nisevic

BALZAN Christian Cassar, Edison David Bilbao Zarate, Dylan Grima (76′ Justin Grioli), Elkin Serrano Valero, Samir Arab, Steve Bezzina, Luke Sciberras, Osa Ice-Cream Guobadia, Clive Brincat, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (67′ Lydon Micallef), Gianmarco Piccioni (87′ Oscar Guerrero).
Subs not used: Mikhail Sciberras, Terence Agius, Ryan Darmanin, Mark Spiteri.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri

Referee: Evan Boyce (NIR)
Assistant Referees: Ken Ross, Mark O’Brien (NIR)
Fourth Official: Ian McNabb (NIR)
Yellow Cards: Bonello, Guobadia, Kristensen, Agius, Sciberras
Red Cards: 73′ Henry Bonello
Scorers: 19′ Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, 75′ Gianmarco Piccioni pen, 83′ Clayton Failla, 90+7′ Luke Sciberras
BOV Player of the Match: Gianmarco Piccioni
Attendance: 1,540