Three goals in the first half enabled Birkirkara to return to winning ways as they registered a fine 3-0 win over leaders Balzan at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Sunday to move second and narrow the gap with the leaders to just three points.
Birkirkara were clearly the better side right from the start and deserved to take home the three points. They move two points ahead of Hibernians and Valletta. For Balzan, this was the first defeat after obtaining six wins from the first seven matches, dropping their only points in a draw.
Christian Bubalovic returned for Drazen Besek’s side, replacing the suspended Predrag Jovic. Ivan Janjusevic, Justin Grioli, Dylan Grima and Alfred Effiong replaced Christian Cassar, Samir Arab, Lydon Micallef and Matteo Piciollo.
The Stripes took the lead on the 19th minute when Vito Plut concluded a good run on the right with a shot which was partially saved by Janjusevic but off the rebound, the same player managed to place the ball at the back of the net.
Birkirkara doubled the score six minutes later when Rowen Muscat’s assist for Vito Plut from the left was intercepted by Steve Bezzina who deflected the ball past the Balzan goalkeeper for an own goal.
Vito Plut sealed the issue with a third goal two minutes in added time, before the end of the first half, when he headed the ball home from close range after Frank Temile had two attempts blocked by Janjusevic, serving the Slovenian striker off the rebound.
B’KARA Miroslav Kopric, Christian Bubalovic, Gareth Sciberras (62′ Ryan Scicluna), Mislav Andjelkovic, Srdjan Dimitrov, Vito Plut (71′ Shaun Bajada), Nikola Vukanac, Frank Temile (90′ Edward Herrera), Joseph Zerafa, Cain Attard, Rowen Muscat.
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Matthew Guillaumier, Steve Bonnici, James Brincat.
Coach: Drazen Besek
BALZAN Ivan Janjusevic, Justin Grioli (29′ Samir Arab), Bojan Kaljevic, Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, Steve Bezzina (46′ Alan da Silva Souza), Paul Fenech, Alfred Effiong (63′ Matteo Piciollo), Dylan Grima, Abdelkarim Nafti, Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Terence Agius.
Subs not used: Chrsitian Cassar, Lydon MIcallef, Paul Lapira, Sean Cipriott.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Martin Borg
Fourth Official: Matthew De Gabriele
Yellow Cards: Bubalovic, Serrano, Kopric, Zerafa, Arab, Scicluna, Alan
Scorers: 19′ Vito Plut, 25′ own goal Steve Bezzina, 45+2′ Vito Plut
BOV Player of the Match: Vito Plut