The Malta Independent 23 July 2019, Tuesday

BOV Premier League: Scrappy affair between Hamrun and Balzan ends all square

Henry Brincat Sunday, 14 April 2019, 17:57 Last update: about 4 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Hamrun          1
Balzan            1

Hamrun: E. Bartolo, E. Pepe, S. Nayar, W. Domoroud, AC Scicluna, C. Borg (R. Darmanin 80), M. Criaco, K. Micallef, O. Nikolopoulos, C. Calil, K. Tulimieri

Balzan: S. Mintoff, A. Kosoric (S. Cipriott 82), N. Sljivic, S. Pisani, S. Bezzina (A. Majdevac 74), P. Fenech, A. Effiong, U. Ljubomirac, I. Bozovic (J. Grioli 78), E. Serrano Valero, R. Correa

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Referee: AM Sant

Asst refs: E. Spiteri, M. Scerri

4th official: T. Farrugia Cann

Scorers: W. Domoraud 54, E. Serrano Valero 60

Yellow cards: K. Micallef 26, N. Sljivic 38, K. Tulimieri 38, C. Borg 50, S. Pisani 52, R. Correa 68, U. Ljubomirac 70

BoV Player of the Match: R. Correa

TMI Top 3: 1. R. Correa, 2. K. Tulimieri, I. Bozovic

Hamrun and Balzan shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw yesterday - a result which keeps both teams in the hunt for 4th place.

Hamrun striker Wilfried Domoraud gave the Spartans the lead on 54 minutes, but Elkin Serrano Valero scored Balzan's equaliser on 60 minutes.

It was generally a scrappy affair, especially in the first half, but somehow it came to life in the first 15 minutes of the second half when the two goals were scored.

Hamrun had to play this match without influential midfielder Triston Caruana, who was ruled out through suspension.

As already said, it was a very scrappy affair in the first half with neither side able to penetrate two strong defences.

Balzan enjoyed territorial superiority but they were only allowed to have some shots from a distance which, after all, were quite ineffective.

The Spartans were a disappointing lot as they failed to create anything that could worry the Balzan rearguard, except perhaps on one occasion when the ball was cleared by Steven Pisani from near the goal line.

In the second half, play improved but it was still scrappy with both sides committing errors as passes went astray on both sides.

The Spartans took the lead early and it seemed that they were going to take the game into their hands but Balzan rallied to score a deserved equaliser.

After that, both sides created some opportunities, but neither team managed to score a winner.

The match had a quiet start with neither side creating any scoring chance.

But in the 18th minute, Balzan had their first attempt, a low shot from around 20 metres by Steven Bezzina which went wide.

A second attempt arrived on 29 minutes. It was a long distance effort from Alfred Effiong which Hamrun goalie Bartolo saved without any difficulty.

Balzan insisted and on 34 minutes, Effiong set Correa on the left flank of the Hamrun area, but the latter's effort was blocked to a corner by Nikolopoulos.

On 37 minutes, Hamrun finally had their first attempt. From a Calil cornerkick, it was Nikolopoulos who saw his header cleared by across, it was  Balzan defender near the goal line.

Early in the second half, from a Calil corner, Nikolopoulos headed well over the bar.

Soon after, at the other end, a Sljivic effort from outside the area went wide.

In the 51st minute, Balzan created a good opportunity from a set piece. A Correa freekick went to the unmarked Ljubomirac, but the latter lifted the ball well over the bar from three metres.

But it was Hamrun who broke the deadlock on 54 minutes when from a Tulimieri cross, it was Wilfried Domoraud who rose above friend and foe to beat Sean Mintoff with a good header.

However, their joy was shortlived as Balzan equalised just six minutes later. From a Correa cornerkick, it was Elkin Serrano Valero who beat Bartolo with a glancing header.

On 65 minutes, from a Pisani cornerkick, a Ljubomirac header appeared to be destined for the back of the net, but Nikolopoulos was on the line to clear in extremis to corner.

The Spartans missed a good opportunity on 76 minutes when Calil set Criaco beautifully on the edge of the Balzan area, but the latter hit high over the bar.

In the 80th minute, Balzan threatened through a Paul Fenech close range effort which was blocked by a Hamrun defender.

Hamrun almost scored a winner on the 89th minute. A Domoraud shot was partially saved by goalie Sean Mintoff, the ball rebounded out to Calil who, however, shot well over the bar.

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