Balzan and Hamrun Spartans shared the spoils in an entertaining 2-2 draw at the National Stadium on Friday. A draw which enables them to join Sliema Wanderers in fourth place on the nineteen-point mark but the Wanderers have a game in hand.
For the Spartans, this was the fourth consecutive positive result after three successive wins. On the other hand, Balzan have now won just two out of the last six matches.
Both sides had three changes from their last outing. The Spartans had Sebastian Nayar, Carlos Henneberg and Karl Micallef replacing Wilfried Domoraud, Marco Criaco and Jeremy Busuttil while Balzan lacked the suspended Michael Johnson with Steve Bezzina, Harry Ascroft and Milos Lepovic replacing him, Dale Camilleri and Ivan Bozovic.
The Spartans had a perfect start taking the lead on the 5th minute. Harry Ascroft came to the rescue blocking a Matthew Gauci effort into a corner following an inviting pass from the right and from the resulting corner by Triston Caruana, Sebastian Nayar headed home.
Steve Sultana came to the rescue on the 38th minute as he turned into a corner a Caetano Calil effort.
Three minutes later, Balzan equalised when off a cross from the left by Alex da Paixao Alves, Uros Ljubomirac served Alfred Effiong who hit home from close range.
However one minute from half-time, Hamrun regained the lead thanks to a header by Kevin Tulimieri following a Triston Caruana corner.
But the first half was not over yet as Balzan equalised when off a cross by Cadu from the left, Uros Ljubomirac’s fierce shot from the right was deflected by Orestis Nikolopoulos, ending at the back of the net.
Bartolo performed a good save on a Lepovic header following a cross from the right by Grioli nine minutes in the second half.
The Hamrun custodian performed good saved on Alex da Paixao Alves and Dale Camilleri on the 81st and 86th respectively as Balzan tried to push for the winner in the final ten minutes.
BALZAN Steve Sultana, Justin Grioli, Nenad Sljivic (88’ Siraj Arab Eddin), Alex da Paixao Alves, Steve Bezzina, Harry Ascroft, Alfred Effiong, Uros Ljubomirac, Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Carlos Eduardo de Fiori Mendes, Milos Lepovic (69’ Dale Camilleri).
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Lydon Micallef, Neil Frendo, Gary Camilleri, Sean Cipriott.
Coach: Marko Micovic
HAMRUN Manuel Bartolo, Antonio Monticelli, Enrico Pepe, Triston Caruana, Sebastian Nayar, Carlos Hernan Henneberg, Matthew Robert Gauci, Karl Micallef, Orestes Nikolopoulos, Caetano Calil, Kevin Tulimieri.
Subs not used: Sean Cini, Karl Luke Schembri, Cain Cutajar, Darren Borg, Ryan Darmanin, Jeremy Busuttil, Bradley Schembri.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Mario Apap
Yellow Cards: Gauci, Ljubomirac, Grioli, Serrano
BOV Player of the Match: Triston Caruana