The Malta Independent 21 May 2019, Tuesday

BOV Premier League: Balzan and Gzira fail to ignite a dull match

Simon Farrugia Wednesday, 13 March 2019, 21:57 Last update: about 3 months ago
Photos: James Galea
Photos: James Galea

Balzan                       0
Gżira Utd.                 0

Balzan  FC: S. Mintoff, A. Kosoric, N. Sljivic, S. Pisani (A. Majdevac 73'), S. Bezzina (L. Micallef 90'), P. Fenech, A. Effiong, U.Ljubomirac, I. Bozovic, E. Serrano Valero, R. Correa Duarte

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Gżira Utd.  FC: J. Haber, N. Muscat, Z. Scerri, A. Cohen, J. Corbalan, C. Gatt Baldacchino, E. Bilbao Zarate, G. Conti, S. Borg, J. Mengolo (M. Beerman 70'), H. Garba

Referee: Philip Farrugia

Asst refs: Luke Portelli, William Debattista

4th official: Darryl Agius 

Yellow cards: Bilbao Zarate, Bozovic, Kosoric, Muscat

Player of the match: Nikolai Muscat (Gzira Utd.)

TMI Top 3:  1. N. Muscat        2.   R. Correa Duarte         3.     Z. Scerri

Balzan and Gzira United figured out a goaless draw in a dull encounter between two teams aspiring to grab a European spot.

Balzan failed to live up to expectations in their recent matches winning only one of their last five matches. On the other hand Gzira went into this match with two wins from their last matches over Qormi and Sengle respectively.

Gzira had Soares missing for this match with Briffa and Beerman starting on the bench. For this match Balzan had to do without Lepovic.

In their first round match Gzira had emerged clear winners by a 3-0 scoreline.

In the 5th minute a dangerous corner taken by Pisani was cleared by the Maroons rearguard. And on 13 minutes off a Bozovic cross from the right flank an Effiong header from inside the area was turned onto a corner by goalkeeper Haber.

Gzira came into the picture just past the half hour. In the 32nd minute Muscat played towards Cohen the latter setting  Scerri only for this shot to be deflected into a corner. And a minute later came the Maroons best chance when a Nikolai Muscat grounder from the edge of the area was saved onto a corner by an alert Mintoff.

It was now all Gzira and seven minute from the end of the half Gatt Baldacchino found Garba whoa turned around his direct opponent but his shot went over the bar.

In stoppage time Gzira were awarded a free kick from just outside the area following a foul by Kosoric on Mengolo but Cohen from an ideal position sent the ball wide.

On resumption in the 53rd minute Correa Duarte made his way in the opposing area but his low cross found no one from his team mates to conclude.

In the 66th minute Balzan had a golden chance to forge ahead. A long ball by Fenech found Pisani on side with the Balzan midfielder playing the ball backwards towards Ljubomirac but with the goal at his mercy his shot missed the target.

And in the 71st minute Cohen twisted and turned to beat Correa Duarte finding Muscat whose shot was blocked with Scerri's shot from the rebound blocked again.

For some time both teams seemed to be happy with a point each with neither side taking any particular risks. But seven minutes from time a Correa Duarte cross shot was tipped by a stretching Haber.

In the 86th minute Gzira protested for a penalty following contact in the area on Garba but the match official waved play on.  And just a minute later Haber saved the day for his team when he splendidly turned over the bar a Correa Duarte shot from just inside the area.

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