Balzan through to next round despite narrow defeat in Baku

Balzan secured a place in the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League despite a 2-1 defeat to Keşla FK of Azerbaijan at the Dalga Arena in Baku as they win 5-3 on aggregate following the fine 4-1 win at the Centenary Stadium last week.

Therefore Balzan qualify for the first time for the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League on their fourth attempt, having participated in this competition for the past four years. In the second qualifying round, Balzan meet Slovan Bratislava of Slovakia – first leg to be played at home.

In Baku, a penalty converted by Cesar Meza Colli on the 11th minute renewed Keşla’s hopes of staging a comeback. They held the initiative throughout the ninety minutes having various attempts at goal with Balzan more intentioned on avoid conceding a second goal.

One minute in added time, Keşla scored the second goal through Slavik Alkhasov and now the hosts started to believe more in themselves as they were just one goal away from qualification as a 3-0 win would have seen them through on the away goals rule.

However six minutes in added time, substitute Andrija Majdevac pulled one back for Balzan to secure qualification for Balzan.

The young Serbian striker, who had replaced Kaljevic five minutes from time, was immediately sent off after receiving a second yellow card.

BALZAN Steve Sultana, Nenad Slivic, Steve Bezzina, Michael Johnson, Alfred Effiong (69′ Justin Grioli), Uros Ljubomirac (59′ Lecao), Ivan Bozovic, Elkin Serrano, Cadu, Bojan Kaljevic (85′ Andrija Majdevac), Milos Lepovic.

KESLA Kamran Agayev, Sertan Tashgin (85′ Mammad Guliyev), Denis Silva, Slavik Alkhasov, Milos Bosancic (74′ Herve Tchami Ngangoue), Cesar Meza Colli, Bakhodir Nasimov (64′ Amil Yunanov), Andre Clennon, Adrian Scarlatache, Tarlan Guliyev, Ebrima Sohna.

Referee: Mikhail Vilkov (RUS)
Assistant Referees: Aleksei Vorontsov, Vladimir Minevich (RUS)
Fourth Official: Aleksei Sukhoi (RUS)