The Malta Independent 17 November 2019, Sunday

BOV Premier League: Sirens prevail over Balzan in six-goal thriller

Henry Brincat Sunday, 27 October 2019, 18:10 Last update: about 3 days ago
Photos: James Galea
Photos: James Galea

Balzan       2

Sirens        4

Balzan: K. Naumovski, A. Kosoric, N. Sljivic, S. Pisani, P. Fenech, A. Effiong, U. Ljubomirac, I. Bozovic, R. Scicluna (D. Camilleri 74), R. Correa, A. Majdevac

Sirens: D. Cassar, R. Grech, W. De Oliveira, R. Dos Anjos, E. Okoye, A. Borg, A. Abdullahi, R. Romau, R. Memezes, T. Espindola, FS Cheveresan

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Referee: E. Mangion

Asst refs: C. Francalanza, T. Debono

4th official: Emm. Grech

Scorers: R. Memezes 9 pen., R. Correa 44, T. Espindola 45, A. Majdevac 51, E. Okoye 79, 88,

Yellow cards: R. Memezes 22, A. Kosoric 45, R. Correa 81, R. Grech 81, W. De Oliveira 90. Pisani 90, Bozovic 90

BOV Player of the match: W. De Oliveira.

TMI Top 3: 1. W. De Oliveira, 2. S. Pisani, 3. R. Correa

Sirens overcame Balzan 4-2 yesterday in a six-goal thriller at the Centenary Stadium.

Sirens twice were in the lead with goals from Memezes (penalty), and Espindola. Balzan twice hit back to level matters through Correa and Majdevac but after Okoye scored a third for Sirens, they failed to rally for a third time. Instead, it was Sirens who assured themselves of victory with another Okoye goal to go temporarily second in the standings.

Sirens have now joined Gzira on the 16-point mark, the same as Gzira, though Hamrun had the chance to overtake both of them after their match later against Birkirkara.

The first half was quite entertaining with Sirens taking the lead early followed by a Balzan reaction which, however, produced no goals.

Sirens appeared strong at the back where Dos Anjos and Romeu Romau were supreme.

The St Paul's Bay side was not staring at its opponents either and also had their chances proving to be much more dangerous than Balzan.

By the end of the half, they perhaps deserved their one-goal lead.

Balzan came back strongly in the second half and quickly obtained a second equaliser.

From then on, the two sides confronted each other with some quick movements and Sirens even seemed to have been denied a penalty on one occasion.

But at the end, it was Sirens who prevailed with two late goals from Emmanuel Okoye

Sirens took an early 9th minute lead, when Romario Memezes was floored in the area by Sljivic. From the resultant spotkick, the same Memezes made no mistake. with a shot from Alfred Effiong which goalie Cassar saved confidently.

Balzan's reply arrived two minutes later - an Alfred Effiong shot which goalie Cassar saved confidently.

In the 27th minute, following a Correa low cross which found no takers, it was Effiong who tested David Cassar seriously, but the Sirens goalie partially parried only for the same Effiong to hit well wide of the target.

Moments later, at the other end, it was Wellington De Oliveira who went close with a fine dipper which Naumovski managed to tip to corner.

In the 35th minute, Sirens were dangerous when in a swift counter-attack, Dos Anjos neatly went past three Balzan players from defence and squared low for Wellington De Oliveira to advance into the Balzan area. The latter's cross went to Emmanuel Okoye whose close range shot was miraculously saved by goalie Naumovski.

Balzan equalised on the 44th minute. They were awarded a freekick on the edge of the area, from which, Ricardo Correa's shot was slightly deviated by a Sirens defender into the net.

Sirens regained the lead in first half added time. An Espindola freekick from an angle far away from goal surprised the whole Balzan defence including goalie Naumovski and ended at the back of the net.

On 50 minutes, from a Steve Pisani freekick, Aleksandar Kosoric saw his header going just wide.

A minute later, it was Andrija Majdevac who levelled the score as he went past three defenders before entering the area to beat goalie Cassar with an angled shot.

In the 64th minute, Sirens were possibly denied a penalty when Okoye received a perfect pass from De Oliveira and appeared to have been floored by a Balzan defender. But the official, close to the action, waved play on.

Soon after, the active De Oliveira set Flavio Cheveresan in the Balzan area, but Naumovski rushed out of his charge to block the effort to corner.

In the 79th minute, Ryan Grech set Okoye in the Balzan area and the latter beat the onrushing Naumovski to put the St Paul's Bay side in the lead for the third time.

Sirens made sure of the three points in the 88th minute, when in another swift counterattack, Romario Memezes set Emmanuel Okoye who beat Balzan goalie Naumovski from close range.

Deep into stoppage time, Effiong set Ljubomirac but Sirens goalie Cassar rushed out of his charge to clear in extremis.

At the end of the match there were some skirmishes between both sets of players and the referee appeared to have shown a red card to Balzan's Nenad Sljivic and a yellow card to Flavio Cheveresan.

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