Balzan bounced back from the BOV Super Cup defeat to Valletta as they defeated Sliema Wanderers 2-1 at the Hibernians Stadium on Saturday. A win which puts them alone in sixth place, two ahead of Mosta and three ahead of Hamrun although the Spartans have a game in hand.
For the Wanderers, this was the second consecutive defeat and they now share the third place from bottom with Gudja United and Senglea Athletic.
Making the debut for the Blues were Arthur Henrique Oyama and Federico Vasilchik while Balzan lacked the suspended Aleksandar Kosoric.
Balzan had a perfect start, taking the lead on nine minutes. Uros Ljubomirac received an assist by Luke Montebello and controlled the ball before hitting low past Sliema goalkeeper Entonjo Elezaj.
On the 28th minute, Balzan could have doubled the score when they were awarded a penalty after Arthur Faria was brought down inside the area. However Andrija Majdevac’s effort from the penalty spot was neutralised by Elezaj.
Balzan doubled the score four minutes in the second half when Arthur Faria Machado served Luke Montebello from the left and the latter controlled the ball before hitting past the Sliema custodian.
Sliema reduced the gap on the 67th minute thanks to a powerful drive by substitute Claudio Zappa from outside the area which gave goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski no chance.
SLIEMA Entenjo Elezaj, Michele Sansone (79’ Jean Paul Farrugia), Alex Satariano (46’ Claudio Zappa), Kurt Shaw, John Mintoff, Mark Scerri, Federico Vasilchik, Juri Cisotti, Arthur Henrique Oyama, Claudio Pani (56’ Edmond Agius), Goran Adamovic.
Subs not used: Jake Galea, Jonathan Pearson, Gareth Barone, Peter Xuereb.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
Asst. Coach: Ivan Woods
BALZAN Kristijan Naumovski, Augustine Loof, Nenad Sljivic, Steve Pisani, Steve Bezzina, Paul Fenech, Uros Ljubomirac, Ivan Bozovic, Arthur Faria Machado (81’ Dale Camilleri), Andrija Majdevac (87’ Samir Arab), Luke Montebello (72’ Alfred Effiong).
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Zachary Karl Grech, Zak Grech, Michael Johnson.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
Asst. Coach: Andrea Pisanu
Referee: Emanuel Grech
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: Pani, Bozovic, Oyama, Loof, Sansone, Shaw
BOV Player of the Match: Luke Montebello