Balzan hit five past Pembroke to extend positive run

Balzan extended their positive run as they came from behind to beat Pembroke Athleta 5-1 at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Tuesday to temporarily move on top the BOV Premier League table.

For Pembroke, this was the third successive defeat after two wins in the first two matches.

Balzan had three changes from the team which defeated Valletta as Christian Cassar, Dylan Grima and Terence Agius replaced Senatore, Sciberras and the injured Steve Bezzina. Pembroke coach Winston Muscat, on the other hand, named Mario Muscat, Miguel Attard, Peter Paul Sammut and debutante James Togbah in the starting line-up with Bardsley Gibson starting on the bench and Gustavo Villalobos out of the squad.

Pembroke managed to take the lead on the 12th minute thanks to a fine shot by James Togbah whose powerful shot from the right gave goalkeeper Christian Cassar no chance.

Two minutes from the end of the first half, Balzan levelled matters when off a perfect assist by Edison Bilbao Zarate, Alfred Effiong slotted the ball past goalkeeper Mario Muscat.

But the first half was not over yet as one minute in added time, Balzan took the lead through Lydon Micallef whose low angled shot from the left beat the Pembroke custodian.

Five minutes in the second half, Justin Grioli scored a third goal with a direct freekick from the right.

Six minutes later, Godwin Mensha added another as he received a pass by Alfred Effiong from the right and the helpless Mario Muscat could do nothing to stop the Nigerian striker’s effort from ending at the back of the net.

Substitute Ryan Darmanin made it 5-1 on 78 minutes after hitting low past the Pembroke goalkeeper from inside the area following a through pass by Godwin Mensha.

BALZAN Christian Cassar, Dylan Grima, Lydon Micallef, Edison Bilbao Zarate (83′ Ryan Fenech), Samir Arab, Maxim Focsa, Godwin Mensha, Alfred Effiong (72′ Ryan Darmanin), Elkin Serrano Valero (65′ Luke Sciberras), Terence Agius, Justin Grioli.
Subs not used: Valerio Senatore, Clive Brincat, Sean Cipriott, Paul Lapira.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri

PEMBROKE Mario Muscat, Austin Martz, Paltemio Barbetti, Kyle O’Brien (80′ Lyden Micallef), Ariel Laudisi (65′ Siraj Arab Eddin), Owen Bugeja, Peter Paul Sammut (77′ Gibson Bardsley), Louis Cutajar, James Togbah, Miguel Attard, Zoran Levnajic.
Subs not used: Matthew Farrugia, Alex Cini, Leighton Grech, Rennie Tanti.
Coach: Winston Muscat

Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Martin Borg
Fourth Official: Sandro Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Agius, Arab, Levnajic, Barbetti
Scorers: 12′ James Togbah, 43′ Alfred Effiong, 45+1′ Lydon Micallef, 50′ Justin Grioli, 56′ Godwin Mensha, 78′ Ryan Darmanin
BOV Player of the Match: Alfred Effiong