The Malta Independent 20 August 2019, Tuesday

BOV Premier League: Balzan dent Sliema’s 4th pace as they keep their own hopes alive

Henry Brincat Saturday, 20 April 2019, 21:47 Last update: about 5 months ago
Photo: Matthew Tabone
Photo: Matthew Tabone

Balzan             2
Sliema            1

Balzan: S. Mintoff, J. Grioli, N. Sljivic, S. Pisani, P. Fenech, A. Effiong, U. Ljubomirac, E. Serrano Valero, R. Correa, A. Majdevac, M. Lepovic

Sliema: T. Aquilina, A. Muscat, K. Shaw, J. Pearson, J. Mintoff, M. Scerri, I. Varela, R. Fenech, N. Ashong, C. Pani, Y. Marzouk

Referee: T. Farrugia Cann


Asst refs: D. Sultana, T. Debono

4th official: D. Agius

Scorers: A. Effiong 6, A. Majdevac pen. 13, K. Shaw 45

BoV Player of the Match: Riccardo Correa

Balzan shocked Sliema Wanderers yesterday as they dented the Blues' chance of finishing 4th while keeping their own hopes alive till the final day.

Early goals by Alfred Effiong and Majdevac from the penalty spot gave them a 2-0 lead. Kurt Shaw replied for Sliema just before the interval, but it proved to be not enough for the Blues.

Not that all is over for the Blues. In fact, with just one match to go, they are three points behind 4th placed Hamrun

But Balzan have now overtaken the same Sliema in 5th place. They have 45 points, two less than Hamrun. And this shows that this 4th spot will eventually be decided on the final day, even though there might also be a playoff to determine who finishes in that spot.

The final day's matches in connection with this interesting battle is the following: Hamrun v. Valletta; Balzan v. Hibernians and Sliema v. Pieta. And even Birkirkara might still hav4e their say if they win tomorrow against Qormi.

It was a keenly contested encounter, but it was Balzan who started on a top note as they took a 2-0 lead by the 13th minute.

First it was Alfred Effiong who scored from a rebouind on six minutes, after a Riccardo C<orrea shot was palmed onto the crossbar by Sliema goalie Timothy Aquilina.

The Wanderers had not yet recovered from this setback when Balzan struck again on the 13th minute. This time, the goal came from the penalty spot after John Mintoff had floored Correa in the area. From the spo0tkick, Andrija Majdevac made no mistake.

On 19 minutes, Mintoff set Younes Marzouk but the Sliema striker hit wide.

On the half hour mark, Ryan Fenech sent a cross towards Marzouk at the far post but the latter headed wide.

Sliema managed to pull a goal back just before half-time when Kurt Shaw hit a firm drive that gave no chance to Tarxien goalie Sean Mintoff.

The Wanderers almost equalised soon after the start of the second half but a Temile header was somehow saved by Mintoff.

Midway through the second half, Sliema also lost midfielder Mark Scerri to injury and was replaced by Kllian Amehi. Earlier, in the first half, they had also lost the services of John Mintoff through an injury.

Amehi almost made an instant impact as on 69 minutes Amehi when he finished on the ground in a tackle with Nenad Sljivic, but the official saw nothing untoward.

Balzan finally threatened ten minutes from time but Correa's low drive was easily blocked by Aquilina.

Two minutes from time Cadu almost struck with his first touch after coming on for the injured Correa but his thumping drive hit the bar.

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