BOV Premier League | Balzan 1 – Floriana 3

Floriana returned to winning ways as they came from behind to secure a 3-1 win over Balzan.

Photo: Dominic Borg
Photo: Dominic Borg

Floriana made a brilliant start to the Premier League and find themselves at the top of the table. However, they were narrowly defeated by Birkirkara in their previous match and needed to return to winning ways if they are to keep the momentum.

However, they had a tricky test against a side who can challenge any team if they perform at their best. Balzan were coming from a 2-1 win over Sliema.

Floriana won 1-0 during the first round.

Balzan went close after five minutes. Steve Pisani’s delivery from a free-kick was met by Nenad Slijivic who headed the ball marginally wide.

However, Balzan managed to break the deadlock just two minutes later. Uros Ljubomirac sent an excellent cross in the direction of Andrija Majdevac who headed the ball towards goal. Jurgen Pisani tried to clear his marks, but ended up putting the ball into his own net.

Balzan nearly doubled their advantage on the 27th minute. Ljubomirac played Luke Montebello through on the right side of the penalty area and the latter fired a close range shot that forced a great save from Ini Etim Akpan.

Floriana hit back on the 36th minute. Tiago Adan Fonseca received a long ball inside the penalty area before hitting a powerful shot that failed to hit the target.

Fonseca managed to equalise just a minute later. Kristian Keqi played a through ball towards the Brazilian and the latter drilled a low shot that went past Kristijan Naumovski.

The Greens started the second half on the offensive and created a promising chance on the 48th minute. Fonseca squared the ball towards Keqi whose shot went slightly off target.

Balzan replied on the 56th minute. Majdevac’s shot from inside the penalty area took a deflection off a defender and went out for a corner.

Majdevac had a good chance to regain Balzan’s lead two minutes later. Following an error by Ini Etim Akpan, the Serbian forward tried to place the ball inside the net; however, Pisani positioned himself well to block the ball off the line.

On the 73rd minute, it was Montebello of Balzan whose shot was saved by Akpan in two attempts.

Floriana forged ahead for the first time in the match just three minutes later. Following a fast counter attack, substitute Augustu Caseres received the ball on the left side of the penalty area and hit a low shot that went inside the net.

 Floriana should have sealed the win two minutes from time. Fonseca sent the ball in the direction of the unmarked Keqi whose close range effort was incredibly pushed away by Naumovski.

Balzan hit back immediately as Majdevac saw his long range shot going wide.

Keqi still managed to seal Floriana’s win three minutes into the second half. The Italian kept his composure this time and finished home from inside the penalty area.

Balzan starting line-up: Kristijan Naumovski, Augustine Loof, Nenad Slijivic, Steve Pisani, Steve Bezzina, Paul Fenech (Samir Arab-84), Uros Ljubomirac, Ivan Bozovic, Arthur Faria Machado (Alfred Effiong-69), Andrija Majdevac, Luke Montebello

Floriana starting line-up: Ini Etim Akpan, Enzo Ruiz, Diego Venancio, Kristian Keqi, Jose Arias Ulises, Brandon Paiber (Augustu Caseres-67), Jurgen Pisani, Matias Garcia (Clyde Borg-86), Alexander Cini, Ryan Camenzuli, Tiago Adan Fonseca (Jan Busuttil-90)

Referee: Matthew Degabriele

Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, Theodore Zammit

Fourth Official: Alex Johnson

BOV Player of the Match: Uros Ljubomirac (Balzan)