The Malta Independent 8 August 2020, Saturday

BOV Premier League: Balzan see red as Fontanella scores hat-trick for the champions

Chris Cassar Saturday, 8 February 2020, 16:00 Last update: about 7 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Valletta                3
Balzan                   1

Valletta

H. Bonello

S. Borg

R. Camilleri

S. Malano (M.A. Alba 56')

B. Kaljevic

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M. Piciollo (M. Barrios Jhony 65')

S. Dimech

J. Borg

E. Pena Beltre

N. Pulis

M. Fontanella (J. Zerafa 91')

 

Balzan

K. Naumovski

N. Sljivic

S. Pisani

M. Johnson

P. Fenech

A. Effiong (D. Camilleri 72')

U. Ljubomirac

I. Bozovic

S. Dimic (S. Mintoff 80')

A. Faria Machado (A. Adekoya 54')

S. Arab

 

Referee: Philip Farrugia

Ass. Referees: Alan Camilleri, Ivan Galea

Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann

Scorers: M. Fontanella 32' pen, 81' pen, 90' I. Bozovic 45'+,

Yellow cards: K. Naumovski 31', E. Pena Beltre 34', S. Pisani 39', M. Johnson 64',

Red cards: K. Naumovski 79', U. Ljubomirac 79'

 

Mario Fontanella scored two penalties, one in each half to give Valletta another victory and the champions well in the title fight. It was a hard earned victory for Valletta in a rather controversial match with Balzan finishing the match with nine players.

Valletta faced this match with a depleted formation especially in midfield, missing two pillars like Rowen Muscat and Trustin Caruana, and also striker Nwoko. Coach Abdilla opted for Shaun Dimech, Nicholas Pulis and Malano in midfield.

Ex Balzan striker Kaljevic had the first attempt on eight minutes, a fierce central drive that was blocked by Naumovski. On 18 minutes Kaljevic missed a golden opportunity blasting over the bar from close range following a Pulis corner kick.

On 21 minutes Balzan's first warning when Faria Machado beat a couple of defenders before serving Effiong whose point blank shot was saved by Bonello. Minutes later another effort from Effiong was luckily blocked by defender Steve Borg.

On 32 minutes Valletta broke the deadlock. A Kaljevic freekick was partrially saved by Naumovski and from the rebound the same Naumovski floored Steve Borg, with the referee awarding the penalty for a very dubious decision. From the penalty spot Mario Fontanella made no mistake sending Naumovski the wrong way.

Balzan's reaction came late in the first half with a Ljubomirac shot saved from Bonello and in stoppage time Balzan drew level when from a Pisani corner, Bozovic's header beat Bonello on the far post.

The second half started with a Kaljevic shot saved by Naumovski, as the Citizens started the second part on the offensive. However Balzan were always ready to counter attack, even though both teams were very erratic in their final pass.

On 67 minutes Fontanella missed a glorious opportunity when put through by Kaljevic but the Italian striker shot incredibly wide with only Naumovski to beat. Two minutes later Naumovski was again called in action blocking Fontanella's shot.

On 79 minutes Mario Fontanella was put through by Dimech, only to be floored by Naumovski for Valletta's second penalty. Naumovski was shown a second yellow and Ljubomirac a straight red in the chaos that followed this decision.

When all calmed down Fontanella scored with another near perfect execution beating substitute goalkeeper Sean Mintoff.

Balzan did not through in the towel and although with nine men they almost made it 2-2 on 89 minutes but Adekoya missed an incredible opportunity. But in the first minute of stoppage time Valletta put their minds at rest when Barrios crossed low from the left towards Mario Fontanella who made no mistake from close range to seal his hat trick.

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