The Malta Independent 17 February 2020, Monday

BOV Premier League: Greens back to winning ways with a bang

Simon Farrugia Saturday, 18 January 2020, 18:05 Last update: about 29 days ago
Photos: Domenic Aquilina
Photos: Domenic Aquilina

Balzan                    1
Floriana                 3

Balzan: K. Naumovski, A. Loof, N. Sljivic, S. Pisani, S. Bezzina, P. Fenech (S.Arab 84'), U. Ljubomirac, I. Bozovic, A. Faria Machado (A. Effiong 70'), A. Majdevac, L. Montebello


Floriana: I. Akpan, E. Ruiz, D. Venancio, K. Keqi,  J. Arias Ulises, B. Paiber (A.Caseres 67'), J. Pisani, M. Garcia (C.Borg 86'), A. Cini, R. Camenzuli, T. Fonseca (J. Busuttil 90')

Referee: Matthew Degabriele

Asst refs: Jurgen Spiteri, Theodore Zammit

4th official: Alex Johnson

Yellow Cards: S.Pisani, Faria, Camenzuli, Sljivic, Fonseca

Scorers: Majdevac 7', Fonseca 38', Caseres 77', Keqi 90'

BOV Player of the Match:  U.Ljubomirac

TMI Top 3 :  1.  K. Keqi                            2.   U. Ljubomirac                             3.    T. Fonseca

Attendance:  826

Floriana returned to winning ways when they turned defeat into victory beating Balzan by three goal to one. It wasn't a stroll in the park for the Greens but they produced good flowing football especially in the second half which made the difference.

Leaders Floriana were coming from the first defeat of the season after succumbing to Birkirkara in their last outing. As for Balzan they were coming from back-to-back wins over Sta Lucia and Sliema Wanderers. Wins that have put them into sixth place.

A win was important for both teams with Floriana feeling the pressure even since in the match preceeding theirs Hibernians trounced Tarxien with the Paolites just a point adrift.

In the first round, Floriana registered a narrow 1-0 win.

After just five minutes Balzan went near when off a Pisani free kick a Sljivic header just missed the target. But it was the 7th minute when Balzan broke the deadlock. Ljubomirac sent a perfect cross from the right side towards Andrija Majdevac who rose above everyone and headed into the net with Pisani trying to clear but to no avail. This was Majdevac's twelfth goal of the campaign.

Floriana responded on 10 minutes when a Venancio free kick caused havoc in the opposing area with Pisani arrive seconds late in order to convert.

Balzan were now the most entertaining and in the 18th minute Majdevac found Ljubomirac but the latters header was saved with ease by Akpan. And in the 27th minute Ljubomirac set Montebello only for his shot to be splendidly stopped by the Floriana custodian.

Ten minutes from the end of the first half Fonseca tried a shot which just missed the target. On the other end Majdevac threatened once again but his final shot hit the side netting.

The Greens drew level seven minutes from the break. Keqi supplied a perfect pass towards an accelerating Fonseca with his low shot on the run beating Naumovski.

Floriana started brightly the second forty five minutes and on 47 minutes a Paiber corner forced Nuamovski to stretch in order to turn over the bar. A minute later they went near once again when Fonseca played the ball towards Keqi but his shot missed the target.

In the 56th minute off a Ljubomirac cross the ball fell into Majdevac's path but his shot was deflected into a corner. But the best chance was created by Balzan on 58 minutes when Montebello's shot was blocked on the fatal line by Pisani with Akpan out of position.

And on the hour Akpan saved a Majdevac grounder. On 73 minutes a diagonal shot by Montebello was blocked by the Floriana shot stopper.

Twelve minutes from the end of the match Floriana took the lead. A Paul Fenech shot was blocked by the Floriana rearguard with the Greens breaking on a counter attack with Garcia finding Augusto Caseres who fired home on entering the area.

A minute from the end Naumovski saved point blank a shot   by Keqi after good work by Fonseca. Balzan replied through Majdevac whose shot from the edge of the area ended inches wide.

With Floriana sealing the issue in stoppage time when Caseres passed towards Keqi with the Italian striker slotting the ball past a helpless Naumovski.

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