Holders Balzan through to the next round

Balzan scored two goals during the first half that sealed their place inside the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy.

Photo: Christine Borg
Photo: Christine Borg

Balzan who are the holders of the competition made it to this round after beating San Gwann during the third round. Conscious that they might be unable to secure European football through the league, Jacques Scerri’s men will be doing all they can in order to win the trophy once again.

On the other end, Santa Lucia eliminated Sliema Wanderers. Despite finding themselves fighting against relegation in the league, they produced a number of good performances against more experienced sides. Their recent results against Valletta and Gzira indicate that they have what it takes in order to keep going further in this competition.

Santa Lucia created the first chance of the match after nine minutes. Kevin Ante Rosero drilled a low cross from the left in the direction of Diego Segura who finished off target from an ideal position.

Oliver Spiteri’s men lost another golden opportunity two minutes later. Adam Magri’s cross found Diego Segura who shot from inside the penalty area was saved by kristijan Naumovski.

Santa Lucia paid the price for missing these opportunities as Balzan broke the deadlock on the 17th minute. Arthur Faria Machado was brought down inside the penalty area and the referee pointed towards the spot. Andrija Majdevac stepped up and converted.

Santa Lucia replied five minutes later. Jamie Zerafa received the ball on the right side of the penalty area and fired a diagonal shot that hit the side netting.

Balzan doubled their advantage on the 39th minute. Ivan Bozovic’s cross shot from distance stunned Timothy Aquilina and ended up inside the net.

Balzan started the second half on the offensive and created a promising opportunity on the 50th minute. Alfred Effiong squared the ball in the direction of Steve Pisani whose shot from an angled position stamped off the side netting.

Following this chance, the tempo of the match slowed down as Santa Lucia failed to create chances on goal. Meanwhile, Balzan were happy to defend their lead.

In fact, the next chance on goal was created by Santa Lucia on the 78th minute. Substitute Omar Elouni ran inside the penalty area and hit a low shot that was blocked by Naumovski.

Five minutes later, Kevin Ante Rosero tried his luck from distance, but his shot was neutralised by Balzan’s goalkeeper.

During the remaining minutes, Balzan’s lead never looked threatened as they sealed their place inside the quarter-finals of the FA Trophy.

Balzan starting line-up: Kristijan Naumovski, Augustine Loof, Nenad Sljivic, Steven Pisani, Paul Fenech, Alfred Effiong (Luke Montebello-72), Uros Ljubomirac, Ivan Bozovic, Arthur Faria Machado, Andrija Majdevac (Marcus Grima-90), Samir Arab (Steven Bezzina-45)

Santa Lucia starting line-up: Timothy Aquilina, Gabriel Mentz, Kevin Correia, Adam Magri, Jackson Mendoza, Diego Segura, Kevin Rosero, Jacob Walker (Daniel Agius-69), Farid Zuniga, Jamie Zerafa (Jamie Magri Overend-72), Rei Tachikawa (Omar Elouni-56)

Referee: Glen Tonna

Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Mitchell Scerri

Fourth Official: Stefan Pace

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