Floriana edge past ten-man Balzan

Floriana defeated ten-man Balzan to maintain their perfect start with a 1-0 win at the National Stadium on Thursday.

This was therefore the second consecutive win for Floriana after they defeated Birkirkara 1-0 in their first outing while for Balzan, this was the first defeat after beating Sliema in their first match.

The Greens had two changes from the team which defeated Birkirkara as Brandon Paiber and Augusto Caseres made way for Terence Vella and Tiago Adan Fonseca. On the other hand, Augustine Loof, Steve Pisani and Arthur Faria Machado replaced Nenad Sljivic, Ryan Scicluna and Stefan Dimic for Balzan.

Eight minutes from the end of the first half, Augustine Loof fouled Matias Garcia as he was about to enter the area. Referee Stefan Pace ordered a freekick but sent off the Dutch defender for denying an obvious goal scoring opportunity among the protests of both Balzan and Floriana players. Diego Venancio’s freekick ended high.

Two minutes in the second half, off a cross by substitute Brandon Paiber from the right, Kristian Keqi controlled the ball before hitting past Naumovski but the goal was disallowed as the Floriana striker had handled the ball.  

However Kristian Keqi was not to be denied seven minutes from time as he put Floriana ahead when Diego Venancio released Brandon Paiber on the right and off the latter’s cross, Keqi slotted the ball past Naumovski.

Deep in stoppage time, Balzan were awarded a penalty after Matias Garcia floored Uros Ljubomirac inside the area. However, from the penalty spot, Lydon Micallef hit incredibly wide as the clock marked the 97th minute. 

FLORIANA Ini Etim Akpan, Enzo Ruiz, Diego Venancio (88′ Moustapha Beye), Kristian Keli, Ulises Arias (75′ Jan Busuttil), Jurgen Pisani, Matias Garcia, Alex Cini, Terence Vella (46′ Brandon Paiber), Ryan Camenzuli, Tiago Adan Fonseca.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Clyde Borg, Bradley Sciberras, Edward Herrera.
Coach: Vincenzo Potenza
Asst. Coach: Darren Anton Vella

BALZAN Kristian Naumovski, Augustine Loof, Aleksandar Kosoric, Steve Pisani (83′ Marcus Grima), Steve Bezzina (87′ Lydon Micallef), Paul Fenech, Alfred Effiong, Uros Ljubomirac, Ivan Bozovic, Ricardo Calixto Correa, Arthur Faria Machado (41′ Michael Johnson).
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Zachary Karl Grech, Zak Grech, Gary Camilleri.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
Asst. Coach: Andrea Pisani

Referee: Stefan Pace
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Theodore Zammit
Fourth Official: Emmanuel Grech
Yellow Cards: Camenzuli, Garcia, Fenech, Vella, Effiong, Arias, Venancio, Keqi, Kosoric, Correa
Red Cards: 38′ Augustine Loof
BOV Player of the Match: Matias Garcia