Balzan turn defeat into victory to reach FA Trophy final

Balzan secured a place in the final of the FA Trophy as they defeated Birkirkara 3-2 in the first semi-final at the National Stadium on Saturday. In the final, Balzan will be meeting Gzira United or Valletta who face each other in the second semi-final on Sunday.

This will only be their second appearance in the FA Trophy final appearance after losing on penalties to Sliema Wanderers in 2016.

Balzan managed to take the lead on the 8th minute thanks to a Nenad Sljivic header following a Ricardo Calixto Correa corner from the right.

Birkirkara levelled matters on the 32nd minute thanks to Michael Mifsud, who received an assist by Mislav Andjelkovic and rounded Sljivic before beating Mintoff with a great rising shot which ended in the top right corner. 

The Stripes went 2-1 ahead five minutes from the end of the first half when Johann Bezzina released Jorginho on the left and the latter anticipated Mintoff with an angled shot for Michael Mifsud to tap the ball home.

Balzan equalised nine minutes in the second half thanks to Uros Ljubomirac who slammed the ball home following a free kick by Cadu from the left. 

Ten minutes from time, Balzan notched the winner when Uros Ljubomirac sent Alfred Effiong through and the latter beat Eduardo Mancha on the run before hitting the ball past Naumovski.

BALZAN Sean Mintoff, Aleksandar Kosoric, Nenad Sljivic, Steve Pisani (51′ Andrija Majdevac), Steve Bezzina, Paul Fenech, Alfred Effiong (90+2′ Sean Cipriott), Uros Ljubomirac, Ivan Bozovic, Carlos Eduardo de Fiori Mendes (84′ Dale Camilleri), Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte.
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Justin Grioli, Lydon Micallef, Michael Johnson.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
Asst. Coach: Velibor Kopunovic

B’KARA Kristijan Naumovski, Mislav Andjelkovic, Maurizio Vella, Johann Bezzina (75′ Thiago de Souza de Brito), Clayton Failla, Eduardo Ferreira dos Santos, Nikola Vukanac (83′ Matthew Guillaumier), Michael Mifsud, Cain Attard, Terence Agius, Jorge Pereira da Silva (72′ Luke Montebello).
Subs not used: Andrew Hogg, Carlo Zammit Lonardelli, Kurt Zammit, Gianluca Bugeja.
Coach: John Buttigieg

Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Theodore Zammit
Fourth Official: Darryl Agius
Yellow Cards: Jorginho, Agius, Bozovic, Effiong, Correa

Attendance: 752