Balzan had to wait till late to beat Pembroke Athleta 2-1 at the Hibernians Stadium after missing a penalty and having a player sent off. This was the seventh consecutive win for Oliver Spiteri’s side.
For Pembroke, this was the third defeat in four matches.
Balzan managed to take the lead on the 16th minute when off a cross by Alan Silva da Souza, Lydon Micallef’s close-range effort beat goalkeeper Mario Muscat.
Pembroke levelled matters on the 29th when off a cross by Manolito Micallef, the Balzan defence failed to clear and in came Ariel Laudisi to tap the ball home despite Christian Cassar’s desperate attempt to save.
Ten minutes from time, Balzan had the opportunity to regain the lead when they were awarded a penalty but Bojan Kaljevic’s effort from the penalty spot ended wide.
To make matters worse, they were reduced to ten men two minutes later as Pedro dos Santos Calcado was sent off by referee Philip Farrugia
However four minutes from time, Balzan notched the winner when off an Alan da Souza Silva corner, the ball was deflected by defender Rennie Tanti past goalkeeper Mario Muscat for an own goal.
BALZAN Christian Cassar, Justin Grioli, Paul Fenech, Steve Bezzina, Samir Arab, Alfred Effiong (76’ Bojan Kaljevic), Pedro dos Santos Calcado, Luke Sciberras (54’ Alexandar Vujacic), Lydon Micallef, Alan da Silva Souza (87′ Maxim Fosca), Clive Brincat.
Subs not used: Ivan Janjusevic, Dylan Grima, Jamie Zerafa, Sean Cipriott.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
PEMBROKE Mario Muscat, Zoran Levnaic, Alex Cini, Rennie Tanti (90’ Gustavo De Paulo Da Nobrega), Owen Bugeja, Paltemio Barbetti, Manolito Micallef, Siraj Arab Eddin, Ariel Laudisi, Gustavo Villalobos, Terence Agius (86’ Leighton Grech).
Subs not used: Matthew Farrugia, Miguel Attard, Tyron Fenech, Obinna Obiefule, Geoffrey Spiteri.
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, David Castillo
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: Sciberras, Fenech, Barbetti, Pedrinho, Samir Arab
Red Card: 82′ Pedro Dos Santos Calcado
Scorers: 16’ Lydon Micallef, 29’ Ariel Laudisi, 86′ own goal Rennie Tanti
BOV Player of the Match: Alan Da Silva Souza
Meanwhile at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Floriana found no difficulty in beating Naxxar Lions 4-0 to return to winning ways.
Antonio Monticelli and Enrico Pepe returned for Floriana after serving a one-match ban but Juninho Cabral and Mauricio Villa are ruled out through suspension. Naxxar, on the other hand, lacked Ryan Grech.
The Greens managed to take the lead on the 20th minute when off a short clearance, Nicolas Chiesa’s effort from outside the area beat goalkeeper Alberto Gallinetta.
One minute in added time, Floriana doubled the score thanks to Steve Pisani’s fine shot from the right which gave the Naxxar goalkeeper no chance.
Floriana scored the third goal on the 75th minute when off an assist by Monticelli from the left, Mario Fontanella flicked the ball past Gallinetta.
Two minutes from time, Matteo Picciolo added another as he beat the Naxxar custodian when served by Aboulezz.
FLORIANA Matthew Calleja Cremona, Andre Scicluna, Enrico Pepe, Antonio Monticelli (86′ Firas Aboulezz), Steve Pisani (85′ Daniel Agius), Matteo Piciollo, Steve Bonnici, Emanuel Briffa, Nicola Chiesa (77′ Conor Borg), Mario Fontanella, Marcelina Emerson.
Subs not used: Matthew Grech, Darrel Baldacchino, Neil Spiteri, Jake Davies.
Coach: Luis Oliveira
NAXXAR Alberto Gallinetta, Alvaro Javier Hungria Rosero, Andrew Scicluna, Eduardo Vallecillo Casado (57′ Daren Falzon), Dema Toure, Duance Bonnici, Jurgen Debono (62′ Jose Angel Godar Pereira), David Fenech, Angus Buhagiar, Ennio Hamutenya (83′ Mark Fenech), Nikola Tasic.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Joel Ellul, Ishmael Grech, Adam Pace.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Referee: Sandro Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Thomas Debono
Fourth Official: Matthew De Gabriele
Yellow Cards: Chiesa, Hungria Rosero
Scorers: 20′ Nicolas Chiesa, 45+1′ Steve Pisani, 75′ Mario Fontanella, 88′ Matteo Picciollo
BOV Player of the Match: Nicolas Chiesa