A penalty by Jake Grech after just fifteen minutes handed Birkirkara a perfect start as they defeated Balzan 1-0 at the National Stadium on Friday.
Apart from Eduardo Mancha, who made his debut for the Stripes in the UEFA Europa League matches, they had Paul Fenech, Milan Basrak, Thiago Brito, Danilo Chapoval and Carlos Chavarria making their debut. Balzan, on the other hand, handed Steve Sultana and Nenad Slijvic making their first league appearance after turning out for Marko Micovic’s side in Europe last month.
Birkirkara managed to take the lead on the 15th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Thiago Brito was brought down inside the area and from the penalty spot, Jake Grech made no mistake.
Three minutes in added time, Ricardo Correa was sent off for Balzan.
B’KARA Kristijan Naumovski, Cain Attard, Eduardo Mancha, Milan Basrak (65′ Terence Agius), Kurt Zammit, Paul Fenech, Thiago Brito de Souza (80′ Edward Herrera), Danilo Augusto Chapoval de Azevedo, Mislav Andjelkovic, Jake Grech (87′ Gianluca Zammit), Carlos Alberto Chavarria Rodríguez.
Subs not used: Amara Sylla, Neil Micallef, Matthew Guillaumier, Jordan Sciberras.
Coach: Paul Zammit
BALZAN Steve Sultana, Steve Bezzina (60′ Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte), Justin Grioli, Elkin Serrano Valero, Michael Johnson, Carlos Eduardo de Fiori Mendes, Milos Lepovic, Uros Ljubomirac (79′ Sean Cipriott), Nenad Šljivić, Alfred Effiong, Bojan Kaljevic (72′ Lydon Micallef).
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Dale Camilleri, Gary Camilleri, Neil Frendo.
Coach: Marko Micovic
Referee: Stefan Pace
Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, William Debattista
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: Basrak, Fenech, Serrano, Lepovic, Agius, Zammit
Red Cards: 90+3′ Correa