Balzan through to the final of the FA Trophy

Balzan secured a 3-2 win over Birkirkara that sealed their place in the final of the FA Trophy.

Photo: Christine Borg
Photo: Christine Borg

The first semi-final was a match between two sides who are eager to lift the FA Trophy in order to clinch a spot in the Europa League since both Balzan and Birkirkara experienced a disappointing campaign.

Balzan made it to the semi-final after defeating Tarxien 2-0. On the other end, Birkirkara registered a 2-1 win over Mosta.

Balzan made an excellent start to the match as they managed to break the deadlock after just eight minutes. Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte’s delivery from a corner was met by Nenad Sljivic who headed the ball past Kristijan Naumovski.

Jacques Scerri’s men remained on the offensive and nearly added another goal on the 15th minute. Alfred Effiong exchanged possession with Uros Ljubomirac and the latter saw his shot from close range taking a deflection off a defender before ending up marginally off target.

Three minutes later, Correa Duarte fired a powerful shot from an angled position that forced an excellent save from Naumovski.

Birkirkara hit back and equalised on the 32nd minute. Michael Mifsud went past a Sljivic and fired a stunning shot that gave Sean Mintoff no chance.

Mifsud sent Birkirkara ahead on the 39th minute. Johann Bezzina’s through ball filtered towards Jorginho who attempted to place the ball inside the net from an angled position. The veteran forward rushed forward and slotted the ball inside the net himself.

Balzan replied four minutes later. Carlos Fiori Mendes received the ball from Effiong and drilled a shot from inside the penalty area that sailed wide.

Uros Ljubomirac equalised for Balzan on the 54th minute. De Fiori Medes delivered a dangerous ball in the direction of the Serbian who slotted the ball inside the net.

Naumovski kept Birkirkara level on the 71st minute. Correa Duarte fired a strong shot from inside the penalty area that brought the best out of Birkirkara’s custodian.

Balzan lost another opportunity two minutes later. Following a corner, the ball fell for Aleksandar Kosoric, but the latter failed to hit the target.

Balzan’s efforts paid off on the 81st minute. Ljubomirac dispossessed Mislav Andelkovic and delivered an excellent pass towards Effiong. The Maltese striker ran forward and lobbed the ball behind Naumovski.

Birkirkara tried to fight back in order to equalise; however, Balzan defended bravely and managed to hold on to their advantage.

Following this result, Balzan will now play either Valletta or Gzira during the final.

Balzan starting line-up: Sean Mintoff, Aleksandar Kosoric, Nenad Sljivic, Steven Pisani (Andrija Majdevac-51), Steven Bezzina, Paul Fenech, Alfred Effiong (Sean Cipriott-90), Uros Ljubomirac, Ivan Bozovic, Carlos Fiori Mendes (Dale Camilleri-83), Ricardo Calixto Correa Duarte

Birkirkara starting line-up: Kristijan Naumovski, Mislav Andelkovic, Maurizio Vella, Johann Bezzina (Thiago De Souza-75), Clayton Failla, Eduardo Santos Ferreira, Nikola Vukanac (Matthew Guillaumier-83), Michael Mifsud, Cain Attard, Terence Agius, Jorge Da Silva Pereira (Luke Montebello-72)

Referee: Fyodor Zammit

Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Theodore Zammit

Fourth Official: Darryl Agius

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