Balzan bounced back from the defeats to Valletta and Hibernians with a 3-1 win over Gzira United at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Wednesday. A win which ensures they stay in second place.
Both sides had three changes from their last outing as Christian Cassar, Lydon Micallef and Abdelkarim Nafti replaced Ivan Janjusevic, Alan da Silva and Bojan Kaljevic for Balzan while Anthony Curmi, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino and Zachary Scerri were back for Gzira, replacing Jurgen Borg, Souleymane Diamoutene and Andrew Cohen.
Balzan managed to break the deadlock four minutes in the second half when a cross from the left by Alfred Effiong was not held by Curmi and Abdelkarim Nafti hit home off the rebound.
Three minutes later, they doubled the score when they were awarded a penalty after Lydon Micallef was brought down inside the area and from the penalty spot, the same player made no mistake.
Bojan Kaljevic made it 3-0 on the 58th minute, a few seconds after replacing Nafti, heading the ball home off a Terence Agius freekick from the left.
The Maroons went close to reducing the gap on the 77th minute through Zachary Scerri who hit the upright from close range following a freekick from the right.
Three minutes later, Samir Arab floored Carlos Reyna inside the area but the Argentine striker hit sky high from the penalty spot.
Two minutes from time, Samir Arab was sent off for Balzan for hitting an opponent.
Gzira pulled one back deep into stoppage time thanks to Zachary Scerri who received the ball inside the area and controlled before hitting low past Cassar.
BALZAN Christian Cassar, Dylan Grima (66′ Samir Arab), Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, Abdelkarim Nafti (57′ Bojan Kaljevic), Ryan Fenech, Steve Bezzina, Lydon Micallef, Alfred Effiong, Elkin Serrano Valero, Paul Fenech (45′ Terence Agius), Matteo Piciollo.
Subs not used: Roberto Zammit, Clive Brincat, Anderson Francisco de Barros, Alan da Silva Souza.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
GZIRA Anthony Curmi, Jacob Borg, Antonio de Queiroz Machedo Neto, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Ian Azzopardi, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Ige Abdullahi Adeshina (66′ Andre White), Moises Avila Perez (84′ Emerson Amaira), Carlos Alejandro Reyna, Zachary Scerri, Gianmarco Conti (72′ Dyson Falzon).
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Karl Pulo, Jonathan Bondin, Louis Rene Zome.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Martin Borg
Additional Assistant Referees: Matthew De Gabriele, Darko Stankovic
Fourth Official: Ryan Aquilina
Yellow Cards: Nafti, Grima, Scerri, Kaljevic, Tony
Red Cards: 88′ Samir Arab
BOV Player of the Match: Alfred Effiong
Meanwhile St. Andrews returned to winning ways as they defeated Mosta 2-1 at the National Stadium to condemn the Blues to a sixth consecutive defeat.
The Saints took the lead on the 23rd minute thanks to Kyrian Nwoko who headed the ball home in style when served by Ivan Paz.
Mosta levelled matters on the 34th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Kurt Magro was brought down inside the area and from the penalty spot, Pedro dos Santos Calcado made no mistake.
St. Andrews regained the lead eight minutes in the second half when off another assist by Ivan Paz, Dale Camilleri beat Yenz Cini with a fine shot from outside the area.
MOSTA Yenz Cini, Kyle Frendo, Kurt Magro, Tyrone Farrugia, Adrian Caruana, Mario Toth, Chinatu Francis Onwudinjo (64′ Jonas Ekani Rodriguez), David Fenech, Pedro dos Santos Calcado, Njongo Priso (75′ Dexter Xuereb), Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (71′ Zachary Brincat).
Subs not used: Andreas Vella, Neil Frendo, Heron Miranda Guilhermino, Luke Galea.
Assistant Coach: Johann Scicluna
ST. ANDREWS Jake Galea, Dale Camilleri, Joseph Farrugia, Kyrian Nwoko (90+4′ Daniel Brandle), Michael Johnson, Enmy Pena Beltre, Godwin Mckay, Karlo Kesinovic, Ivan Edgardo Paz, Aidan Friggieri (84′ Jacob Walker), Ziga Kastrevec (76′ Felix Okon Udoh).
Subs not used: Dena Sciberras, Jamie Magri Overend, Mark Scicluna, Dejan Debono
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant