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Stalemate in drab encounter



Żejtun: C. Cassar-6, D. Albanese-7, L. Gama-6.5, D. Agius-6.5 (90+ J.Suda), K. Reid-5 (77 A. Carabott), M. Muniz, C. Grech-6, Fernandinho-5.5 (88 G. Bugeja), R. Faria-5, N. Tabone-5.5, A. De Barros-6.5.

Balzan: S.Mintoff-6, A. Loof-6, S. Arab-5.5, P. Fenech-5.5, E. Mc Woods-5 (90 S. Cipriott), S. Pisani-6, M. Johnson-6.5, U. Ljubomirac-6.5 (90+ S. Bezzina), S. Jalu-, Weverton-5.5 (85 A. Effiong), M. Kamara.

Referee: Fyodor Zammit

Yellow card: Muniz, Johnson, Kamara, de Barros

Red card: Marcelo Pereira Muniz (Zejtun) 80; Moussa Kamara (Balzan) 90

The most natural result in a match, which only offered some action in the opening half, was a goalless sharing of points. Indeed, Żejtun and Balzan remained locked in a stalemate after a duel that had neither team in the best of shape.

Balzan looked generally devoid of punch with their attacking line only depending on the thrust of Weverton, which however was never on.

Zejtun’s greater volume of play in the openingn period was countered by Balzan’s edge in persistency after the break.

Deployed in a robust 4-1-4-1 formation, Balzan had Paul Fenech positioned in front of defence. Weverton played at the apex of their formation.

Orosco Anonam’s team lined up in a trendy 4-2-3-1 formation, with Ricardo Faria, Dylan Agius and Fernandinho the supporting cast for Kemar Reid.

Balzan’s play revolved around the skills of Steve Pisani whose control of the ball and the ability to beat his direct opponent was second to none. On 13 minutes, Pisani served Suleiman Jalu but the latter’s low shot  was stopped expertly by Christian Cassar, the Żejtun goalkeeper.

The Corinthians had their first chance past the half hour when Reid veered to the centre before trying his luck with an effort that whizzed past the right upright.

Żejtun could have gone one up on 38 minutes but Fernandinho failed to connect to the ball after Diego Albanese had doen all the spadework on the right.

The newcomers’ pressure was kept up but the goal still eluded them.  A free-kick by Agius was tipped over the bar by Sean Mintoff. On the other side, Weverton served Pisani, who was through but overhit the ball.

The pace slowed down after the change of ends with most of exchanges being restricted to the midfield area.  On 77 minutes, Zejtun made a change sending on Adrian Carabott for Reid but the veteran striker made no impact. Instead, they finished the game with 10 men when Marcelo Pereira Muniz was sent off in the 80th minute for a second bookable offence for handball.

The Balzan coach tried his last card to produce more offensive patterns as he brought in Alfred Effiong in lieu of Weverton. The momentum was raised in the closing stages with Zejtun deploying their forces more defensively.

But Balzan also finished with 10 men as French defender was dismissed for two bookings after barging into Dylan Agius in stoppage time.

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