First Division side Pieta’ Hotspurs secured a place in the semi-finals of the FA Trophy as they defeated holders Balzan 1-0 at the Hibernians Stadium on Saturday.
The Hotspurs, who had eliminated St. George’s 4-1, Mqabba 3-0 and Xewkija Tigers 2-1 in the previous rounds therefore defied all odds to beat Balzan who had started as firm favourites in this first quarter-final.
Balzan were unlucky not to take the lead on the 12th minute as Luke Montebello hit the bar with a lob from the right when sent through by Steve Pisani.
Ten minutes later, Steve Pisani hit the crossbar with a powerful drive.
The Hotspurs scored the all-important goal on the 70th minute when off an assist by Clive Gauci, Jose Lucas Caetano da Silva placed the ball at the back of the net with low shot from the edge of the area which hit the foot of the upright before ending at the back of the net.
Balzan hit the crossbar once again with a cross shot by Luke Montebello from the right on 76 minutes. Pieta’ goalkeeper Miguel Chetcuti was then prominent with fine saves on Alfred Effiong and Steve Pisani.
BALZAN Kristijan Naumovski, Augustine Loof, Dale Camilleri (66’ Paul Fenech), Adeseyi Shinobu Adekoya (46’ Alfred Effiong), Steve Pisani, Steve Bezzina (66’ Stefan Dimic), Uros Ljubomirac, Ivan Bozovic, Ricardo Calixto Correa, Samir Arab, Luke Montebello.
PIETA’ Miguel Chetcuti, Jake Ghio, Dejan Vukovic, Clive Gauci (76’ James Scicluna), Nicholas Pisani (88’ Travis Bartolo), Christian Sammut, Jose Lucas Caetano, Sheldon Mizzi, Kilian Amehi (82’ Clyde Bouvet), Liam Mckay, Ishaya Irimiya Jalo.
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Darko Stankovic
Fourth Official: Slobodan Petrovic
Yellow Cards: N. Pisani, R. Correa