Early Rijad Bajic double sinks Balzan

A brace by Rijad Bajic within the first thirteen minutes gave FK Zeljeznicar a 2-0 win over Balzan in the first leg of the UEFA Europea League first qualifying round at the Hibernians Stadium on Tuesday.

As expected, the Bosnians were a superior side right from the start, holding the initiative throughout the ninety minutes and hardly allowing Balzan to try their luck at goal.

Balzan coach Oliver Spiteri could not field his best formation as Bojan Kaljevic ruled out injured and new recruit Ryan Fenech was suspended after being sent off in Valletta’s clash with Qarabagh last season. On the other hand, new Nigerian striker Godwin Mensha was unavailable as the club did not receive the international transfer certificate in time.

Christian Cassar started in goal as the club’s other new signing, Valerio Senatore, was retained on the bench. Dylan Grima was employed as the lone striker but he was assisted by Edison Bilbao Zarate in the second half.

The visitors had a perfect start, taking the lead on the 4th minute as they were awarded a penalty after Bogdanovic was brought down inside the area by Brincat; from the penalty spot, Rijad Bajic converted.

Zeljeznicar doubled the score on the 13th. Amir Hadziahmetovic exchanged the ball with Ognjen Djelmic before serving Rijad Bajic who slotted the ball past the Balzan goalkeeper with a good shot from inside the area.

Just before the final whistle, Zeljeznicar could have added another but substitute Enis Sadikovic had a good attempt from outside the area turned into a corner in style by the Balzan custodian.

BALZAN Christian Cassar, Justin Grioli, Lydon Micallef (90′ Sean Cipriott), Edison David Bilbao Zarate, Dylan Grima (84′ Ryan Darmanin), Steve Bezzina, Luke Sciberras (78′ Samir Arab), Clive Brincat, Terence Agius, Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Osa Guobadia.
ZELJEZNICAR Marijan Antolovic, Josip Kvesic, Aleksandar Kosoric, Jovan Blagojevic, Ognjen Djelmic, Ivan Livaja, Jasmin Bogdanovic, Zoran Kokot (83′ Secouba Diatta), Rijad Bajic, Amir Hazdiahmetovic (76′ Enis Sadikovic), Dzenis Beganovic (56′ Damir Sadikovic).

Referee: Dennis Antamo (FIN)
Assistant Referees: Mikko Alakare (FIN), Jukka Honkanen (FIN)
Fourth official: Antti Munukka (FIN)
Yellow Cards: Agius, Grioli, Brincat, Serrano, Zarate, Sadikovic