Malta international striker Alfred Effiong was the hero for Balzan as he notched a hat-trick in a 3-1 win over Mosta at the Victor Tedesco Stadium. A win which puts Balzan on top of the BOV Premier League with fourteen points together with Hibernians.
Balzan therefore maintain their unbeaten run after six matches. On the other hand, Mosta share the fifth place with Floriana and Sliema on ten points.
Mosta coach Ivan Zammit named Dyson Falzon in the starting line-up, including prolific scorer Saviour Fidelis as a substitute. Valerio Senatore replaced Christian Cassar in goal with Clive Brincat and Luke Sciberras replacing Samir Arab and Terence Agius.
Balzan took the lead on the 26th minute when Alfred Effiong concluded a fine move by rounding a number of defenders before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Yenz Cini.
Mosta equalised just before half time thanks to a great goal by Manolito Micallef who beat goalkeeper Valerio Senatore with a long-distance cross-shot from the right.
Balzan regained the lead on 59 minutes and it was once again Alfred Effiong who placed the ball at the back of the net, this time after receiving an assist by Edison Bilbao Zarate on the right.
Four minutes from time, Balzan sealed the issue with a third goal as Alfred Effiong, served by Mensha, hit low with the ball hitting the foot of the upright before ending at the back of the net.
Two minutes in added time, Dyson Falzon was sent off for Mosta following a rough tackle on an opponent.
MOSTA Yenz Cini, Tyrone Farrugia, Edin Murga, Dyson Falzon, Osa Guobadia, Yau Hassan, Samuel Chukwide (79′ Saviour Fidelis), Manolito Micallef, Ryan Grech (38′ Bobby Fredrick Abel), Ian Zammit (83′ James Brincat), Jonas Rodriguez Ekani.
Subs not used: Omar Borg, Adrian Borg, Mark Brincat, Kyle Frendo.
Coach: Anton Cremona
BALZAN Valerio Senatore, Dylan Grima, Lydon Micallef (61′ Terence Agius), Edison David Bilbao Zarate, Luke Sciberras, Maxim Focsa, Godwin Mensha, Alfred Effiong (90′ Sean Cipriott), Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Clive Brincat (58′ Aleksandar Vujacic), Justin Grioli.
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Paul Lapira, Juan Corbalan, Daniel Spiteri.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Edward Sptiteri, Mitchell Scerri
Additional Assistant Referees: Alan Mario Sant, Trustin Farrugia Cann
Fourth Official: Roberto Vella
Yellow Cards: Hassan, Ekani, Murga
Red Cards: 90+2′ Dyson Falzon
Scorers: 26′ Alfred Effiong, 45′ Manolito Micallef, 59′ Alfred Effiong, 86′ Alfred Effiong
BOV Player of the Match: Alfred Effiong
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 611
Birkirkara returned to winning ways as they defeated Qormi 2-1 at the National Stadium.
This was the third win in six matches for the Stripes who now move fourth on eleven points, three points behind the two joint-leaders. Qormi, on the other hand, are third from bottom on four points.
Birkirkara had five changes from the team which drew with Mosta as Cain Attard, Joseph Zerafa, Gareth Sciberras, Marcelina Emerson and Fabrizio Miccoli replaced Edward Herrera, Nikola Vukanac, Ryan Camenzuli, Frank Temile and the suspended Mauricio Mazzetti. Qormi coach Jesmond Zerafa, on the other hand, maintained his faith in the same players which drew with Sliema in mid-week.
The Stripes took the lead on 28 minutes when off a cross from the right, Liliu intelligently served Vito Plut with a back-heel pass and the Slovenian striker tapped the ball home from close range.
Two minutes from the end of the first half, Steve Agius handled the ball inside the area following a shot by Fabrizio Miccoli; Welsh referee Iwan Griffith ordered a penalty and from the penalty spot, the Italian striker converted.
Qormi pulled one back three minutes from time. Alex Nilsson took full advantage of a misunderstanding between Marcelina Emerson and goalkeeper Justin Haber and the Swedish striker placed the ball at the back of the net.
QORMI Andreas Vella, Alessio Cassar, Ousmane Sidibe, Noah Olawale Ojuola, Steve Agius, Billy Velo Bernttson, Kurt Magro (75’ Gillmore Azzopardi), Carlo Gordon Monti, Clifford Gauci, Ryan Micallef (46’ Terrence Vella), Alexander Nilsson.
Subs not used: Jean Matthias Vella, Karl Sciortino, Clint Barbara, Juan Carlos Veira Peixoto, Joshua Barbara.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
B’KARA Justin Haber, Cain Attard, Zack Muscat, Marcelina Emerson, Joseph Zerafa, Gareth Sciberras, Paul Fenech, Rowen Muscat, Fabrizio Miccoli (67’ Edmond Agius), Ellinton Antonio Costa Morais, Vito Plut (84’ Juan Quero Barraso).
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Ryan Camenzuli, Ryan Scicluna, Kurt Zammit, Frank Temile.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
Referee: Iwan Griffith (WAL)
Assistant Referees: Jan Bryant, Ian Bird (WAL)
Fourth Official: Ryan Stewart (WAL)
Yellow cards: Sidibe, Attard
Scorers: 28’ Vito Plut, 43’ pen Fabrizio Miccoli, 87’ Georgios Alexander Nilsson Likourentzos
BOV Player of the Match: Paul Fenech
Attandance at the National Stadium: 1,093