BOV Premier League | Gżira United 3 – Balzan 0

Haruna Garba scored a hat-trick as dominant Gżira secured a 3-0 win over ten men Balzan.

Photo: Dominic Borg
Photo: Dominic Borg

Gżira and Balzan faced off each other in the second match at the Centenary Stadium. This was a match which both sides were eager to win in order to remain in the run for honours. Both sides registered positive results in their previous matches. Gżira registered a narrow win over Senglea, while Balzan overcame Floriana 2-0.

Gżira created the first chance of the match after two minutes. Amadou Samb ran inside the penalty area and hit a low shot from the left that was neutralised by Steve Sultana.

Balzan hit back on the 7th minute. Alex Da Paixao Alves went round Justin Haber and attempted to place the ball inside the net. However, Roderick Briffa positioned himself in between and cleared the ball into safety.

Sultana was on the alert to deny Gżira on the 12th minute. Haruna Garba received the ball from Samb and hit a close range shot that was blocked by Balzan’s custodian.

Abdilla’s men threatened Balzan again on the 38th minute. Garba’s effort from distance was saved by Sultana.

Gżira went close again one minute from half-time. Thomas Veronese’s shot from a free-kick ended up over.

The Maroons lost a golden opportunity in the additional time given by the referee prior to half-time. Nenad Sljivic grabbed Nikolai Muscat’s shirt inside the penalty area and the referee signalled for a penalty. The Serbian player was also sent off as he was shown his second yellow card. However, Samb’s effort from the eleven metres mark was saved by Sultana.

 Gżira started the second half on the offensive and they forged ahead on the 56th minute. Edison Bilbao Zarate sent a through ball towards Garba and the latter drilled a low shot from inside the penalty area that took a deflection off a defender and ended up inside the net.

Four minutes minutes later, Garba fired a powerful shot from outside the penalty area that sailed off target.

Gżira kept on dominating and createned another opportunity on the 70th minute. Briffa’s shot from the edge of the penalty area went high.

Garba sealed Gżira’s win on the 80th minute. The twenty-four year old forward received the ball on the edge of the penalty area and hit a stunning shot that gave Sultana no chance.

The Nigerian completed his hat-trick on the 85th minute. Jorge Da Silva Pereira’s pass went past Balzan’s defenders and ended up in the path of Garba who slotted the ball home.

Following this result, Gżira are six points ahead of Sliema. However, the latter have a game in hand. On the other hand, Balzan are now seven points behind the Maroons.

Gżira United starting line-up: Justin Haber, Nikolai Muscat, Zachary Scerri, Rodolfo Soares, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Roderick Briffa, Fernando Barbosa Pereira, Thomas Veronese, Amadou Samb, Haruna Garba

Balzan starting line-up: Steve Sultana, Justin Grioli, Dale Camilleri, Nenad Sljivic, Alex Da Paixao Alves, Alfred Effiong, Uros Ljubomirac, Ivan Bozovic, Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte, Milos Lepovic

Referee: Alan Mario Sant

Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Thomas Debono

Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann

BOV Player of the Match: Haruna Garba (Gżira)