BOV Premier League | Balzan 2 – Senglea Athletic 1

Valletta and Balzan are joint first with fifty-five points as Balzan secured a 2-1 win over Senglea Athletic that puts them back on track.

Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes (Balzan) and Ivan Paz (Senglea) in action. Photo: Dominic Borg
Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes (Balzan) and Ivan Paz (Senglea) in action. Photo: Dominic Borg

Conscious that they have a chance to go on level points with Valletta, Balzan needed a win from this encounter to make up for their defeat against Tarxien Rainbows.

Marko Micovic made three changes in his starting line-up. Ivan Janjusevic, Siraj Eddin Arab and Alfred Effiong replaced Sean Mintoff, Bojan Kaljevic and Milos Lepovic.

Paolo Favaretto decided to make four alterations to the side that won against Mosta. Matthew Farrugia, Sergio Uyi, Ian Azzopardi and Matias Garcia were replaced by Jurgen Borg, Julian Leyton, Hubert Vella, Braga Gregori.

Balzan started on the offensive looking to find an early goal and went close on the 15th minute. Steve Bezzina’s long range header stunned Jurgen Borg, but stamped off the post.

Balzan threatened Senglea again five minutes later. Bezzina sent an excellent cross towards the unmarked Alfred Effiong who in front of Borg failed to make contact with the ball.

Senglea replied on the 22nd minute. Peter Sammut’s shot from distance was neutralised by Ivan Janjusevic.

Borg denied Balzan from going ahead on the 41st minute. From a free-kick, Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes saw his shot being parried by the debutant goalkeeper.

Two minutes later, Sammut hit a low shot from distance that was saved by Janjusevic.

Balzan forged ahead in the additional time prior to half-time. Ivan Bozovic delivered a cross from a free-kick that was met by Siraj Eddin Arab whose powerful header gave Borg no chance.

Five minutes into the second half, Arab received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and hit a shot that forced a good save from Borg.

On the 55th minute, Alex Da Paixao Alves fired a shot from outside the penalty area that sailed slightly wide.

However, Senglea equalised on the 62nd minute. Gonzalo Virano sent a thumping shot from distance that went past Janjusevic.

Balzan regained the lead on the 75th minute. Ryan Fenech’s cross from a free-kick went in the direction of Michael Johnson who headed the ball towards Bojan Kaljevic. The Montenegrin striker kept calm and finished home from close range.

In the remaining minutes, Balzan were happy to sit back and defend their lead as they secured three important points that might be decisive.

Balzan starting line-up: Ivan Janjusevic, Uros Ljubomirac, Ivan Bozovic (Justin Grioli- 77), Alex Da Paixao Alves, Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Paul Fenech (Ryan Fenech- 58), Siraj Eddin Arab (Bojan Kaljevic – 64), Steve Bezzina, Alfred Effiong, Michael Johnson, Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes

Senglea Athletic starting line-up: Jurgen Borg (Roderick Debattista – 90), Jonathan Bondin, Steve Bonnici, Julian Leyton, Randal Vella, Hubert Vella, Gonzalo Virano, Ivan Paz, Augusto Caseres (Terence Vella- 88), Braga Gregori, Peter Sammut

Referee: Clayton Pisani

Assistant Referee: Alan Camilleri, Thomas Debono

Additional Assistant Referees: Stefan Pace, Ismael Barbara

Fourth Official: Edward Spiteri

BOV Player of the Match: Carlos Eduardo De Fiori Mendes (Balzan)