Balzan turn defeat into victory as Valletta suffer first defeat

After disappointing in recent outings, Balzan returned to winning ways as they came back from one goal down to beat Valletta 2-1 at the National Stadium on Sunday.

Valletta therefore conceded their first goals and suffered their first defeat. They continue to share third place with Hibernians on the 10-point mark, five behind leaders Gzira and just two ahead of Balzan who now join Sliema and Senglea on eight points.

Valletta had a perfect start, taking the lead on the 5th minute when a Raed Ibrahim Saleh effort was partially saved by Janjusevic and off the rebound, Santiago Malano hit home.

Balzan levelled matters on the 32nd minute thanks to Alex da Paixao Alves, served by Effiong, who advanced into the area before slotting the ball past Bonello.

Ten minutes in the second half, Balzan notched the winner when Alex Da Paixao Alves anticipated Bonello, Steve Borg blocked on the goal line but Uros Ljubomirac placed the ball at the back of the net off the rebound.

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VALLETTA Henry Bonello, Steve Borg, Ryan Camilleri (72’ Kyrian Nwoko), Juan Cruz Gill, Santiago Malano (61’ Denni Rocha Dos Santos), Matteo Piciollo, Jean Borg, Uchenna Calistus Umeh, Joseph Zerafa, Raed Ibrahim Saleh, Nikola Asceric.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Kenny Spagnol, Jeremy Micallef, Russell Feench, Nicholas Pulis.
Coach: Zoran Popovic

BALZAN Ivan Janjusevic, Steve Bezzina, Michael Johnson, Alfred Effiong, Uros Ljubomirac, Ryan Fenech, Samir Arab, Milos Lepovic, Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes (82’ Jacob Borg), Alex Da Paixao Alves (90’ Jamie Zerafa).
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Gary Camilleri, Marko Platisa, Clive Brincat, Fabio Attard.
Coach: Marko Micovic

Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, William Debattista
Fourth Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow Cards: Asceric, Serrano, Ljubomirac, Johnson, Gill
BOV Player of the Match: Alex Da Paixao Alves
Attendance: 979