Dramatic win for nine-man Balzan

Balzan returned to winning ways as they defeated St. Andrews 2-1 at the Hibernians Stadium on Saturday despite ending the game in nine men.

A goal mid-way through the first half put them ahead but St. Andrews equalised thanks to a stoppage-time penalty after missing another penalty. However deep into stoppage-time, Balzan regained the lead to take home the three points.

Balzan had five changes from the team which lost to Birkirkara as Christian Cassar, Clive Brincat, Terence Agius, Milos Lepovic and Lydon Micallef replaced Ivan Janjusevic, Dylan Grima, Anderson de Barros, Alfred Effiong and Matteo Piciollo. On the other hand, for St. Andrews, Jake Galea was back in goal.

Following a goalless first half, Balzan managed to break the deadlock on the 62nd minute when off a Terence Agius freekick from the left, Bojan Kaljevic hit home past goalkeeper Jake Galea.

Five minutes from time, St. Andrews could have equalised when they were awarded a penalty after Dale Camilleri was brought down inside the area but from the penalty spot, Ivan Edgardo Paz hit the ball sky high.

However three minutes in added time, the Saints were awarded another penalty after Bruno Giglio de Oliveira pushed an opponent inside the area who was also sent off but this time, Joseph Farrugia made no mistake to level matters.

But it was not over yet as five minutes in added time, Balzan notched the winner when off an assist by Abdelkarim Nafti from the right, Elkin Serano Valero slotted the ball past the St. Andrews custodian.

Ryan Fenech was then sent off for Balzan for using abusive language towards the referee.

BALZAN Christian Cassar, Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, Alan da Silva Souza, Milos Lepovic (57′ Matteo Piciollo), Ryan Fenech, Clive Brincat, Steve Bezzina, Bojan Kaljevic (76′ Alfred Effiong), Lydon Micallef (82′ Abdelkarim Nafti), Terence Agius, Elkin Serrano Valero.
Subs not used: Justin Micallef, Jamie Zerafa, Gary Camilleri, Sean Cipriott.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri

ST. ANDREWS Jake Galea, Bong Won Che (77′ Nenad Belacevic), Karlo Kesinovic, Michael Johnson, Enmy Pena Beltre, Dale Camilleri, Joseph Farrugia, Ivan Paz (86′ Jacob Walker), Ziga Kastrevec (71′ Felix Okon Udoh), Aidan Friggieri, Kyrian Nwoko.
Subs not used: Duncan Formosa, Ryan Darmanin, Godwin Mckay, Liam Grech.
Coach: Danilo Doncic

Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Christopher Francalanza, Sammy Attard
Additional Assistant Referees: Matthew De Gabriele, Jude Amin Utulu
Fourth Official: Thomas Debono
Yellow Cards: Paz, Camilleri, Brincat, Fenech, Cassar, Johnson, Walker
Red Cards: 86′ Bruno Giglio de Oliveira, 90+5′ Ryan Fenech
BOV Player of the Match: Bojan Kaljevic

Meanwhile at the National Stadium, Pembroke Athleta and Tarxien Rainbows extended their winless streaks as they shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw.

Tarxien failed to win any of their last eleven matches while Pembroke have gone ten matches without a win.

Following the shock defeat to Mosta, the Rainbows had four changes as Philip Schranz, Emerson Marcelina and the returning Ebiabowei Baker and Sacha Borg replaced Andrea Cassar, Andrew Agius, Dylan Micallef and the suspended Kurt Zammit. Pembroke also had four changes as Argyrs Roppas, Sunday Eboh, Daniane Jawad and the suspended Tonci Radovnikovic made way for Matthew Calleja Cremona and the young Ugochukwo Akuta, Emmanuel Naatey and Tyron Fenech.

Pembroke managed to take the lead on the 63rd minute when Ebiabowei Baker brought down Stevan Racic inside the area and from the penalty spot, the Serbian striker made no mistake.

However on the 74th minute, the Rainbows restored equilibrium thanks to an Ayrton Azzopardi penalty after Zoran Levnaic fouled Alex da Paixao Alves inside the area.

Pembroke were reduced to ten men four minutes from time when defender Iraklis Roppas was sent off by referee Glen Tonna after receiving a second yellow card.

PEMBROKE Matthew Calleja Cremona, Darren Falzon, Miguel Attard, Stevan Racic, Adrian Borg, Zoran Levnaic, Iraklis Roppas, Go Nagaoka, Ugochukwo Akuta, Emmanuel Naatey, Tyron Fenech.
Subs not used: Craig Abdilla, Christian Pouga, Sunday Eboh, Neil Micalef, Zachary Grech, Neil Grech, James Mifsud.
Coach: Artim Shakiri

TARXIEN Philip Schranz, Ebiabowei Baker, Matthew Brincat (75’ Andrew Agius), Emerson Marcellina, Julian Galea, Daniel Ponce de Leon Garcia, Alex Nilsson, Ayrton Azzopardi (75’ Dylan Micallef), Alex da Paixao Alves, Matthew Tabone, Sacha Borg.
Subs not used: Antonio Chetcuti, Mathew Sladden, Triston Caruana, Matthew Degiorgio, Gilbert Testaferrata De Noto.

Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: Peter Abela, Theodore Zammit
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: Galea, Baker, Calleja Cremona, Roppas
Red Cards: 86’ Iraklis Roppas
BOV Player of the Match: Alex da Paixao Alves

Renato Vella reporting from the National Stadium