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Dibola’s late penalty saves the day for Senglea

Senglea and Balzan took a point each after a 1-1 draw. Photo: Stephen Gatt

BALZAN 1

McWoods 73 pen

SENGLEA ATHLETIC 1

Dibola 86 pen

Balzan

V. Vranes-6, A. Loof-6, S. Arab-5.5, P. Fenech-5, McWoods-6, S. Pisani-5, S. Bezzina-6 (67 A. Effiong-5),  M. Johnson (27 S. Cipriott-5), U. Ljubomirac-5, S. Dimic-7, M. Kamara-6.

Senglea Athletic

M. Farrugia-6, Z. Cassar-6, A. Abela-6, K. Atkinson-6 (58 R. Martin-), I. Misan-6, J. Tanti-7 (90 N. Terzin),  A. Scicluna-6, D. Dibola-6, D. Kukic-6, D. Xuereb-6, Wilkerson-7.

Referee: Andrea Sciriha.

Yellow card: Kamara, Ljubomirac, Arab, Vranes.

BOV player of the match: Stefan Dimic (Balzan)

Senglea’s solid display against Balzan should have reaped their clan much better reward than a scant sharing of spoils.

Their direct football tailored for the penetrative running qualities of the striking tandem of Wilkerson and Diwoto Dibola seemed to carry more scoring potential than the more studious approach of Balzan.

Clive Mizzi’s side showed greater industry and mobility and had their opponents struggling to find some sort of rhythm even if the Reds managed to score from the spot, 17 minutes from time.

But to their credit, Senglea refused to concede defeat and equalised through a controversially taken penalty.

Earlier on, a slick move by Senglea left Wilkerson one-on-one with Vukasin Vranes but his effort was week and straight at the goalkeeper’s hands.

Senglea were on the back-foot after 11 minutes when André Scicluna got in a vital block on a Uros Ljubomirac effort while Matthew Farrugia stood up bravely to block Steven Pisani’s shot from the rebound.

On 25 minutes, Balzan defender Michael Johnson took a nasty shot to the face off a ball kicked at full force by Scicluna. He had to be replaced by Sean Cipriott as Moussa Kamara dropped to the back four.

On the stroke of half-time Diwoto Dibola moved past Augustine Loof but his shot lacked power to trouble Vukasin Vranes.

Soon after the break, Jan Tanti provided an intelligent square ball that invited a finish by Wilkerson but the Brazilian’s effort was blocked by Steven Bezzina.

On the hour stroke, Balzan wasted a glorious chance when Eric McWoods and Stefan Dimic got in each other’s way in their bid to connect to Loof’s cross.

But Balzan stunned the southseasiders against the run of play, when Dimic  stole in between the two central defenders and Scicluna hauled him down. McWoods’ spot-kick flew past the diving Farrugia.

Four minutes from time, it was Senglea’s turn to be awarded a penalty after Samir Arab, under pressure from Tanti, was adjudged to have stopped a cross with his arm.

Dibola assumed responsibility for the penalty but his tame shot was saved by Vranes in two attempts. However, referee Andrea Sciriha ordered a re-take.

Unperturbed by his miss,  Dibola went on the spot but this time, the Cameroonian despatched his shot past Vranes to level matters.

Standings provided by SofaScore LiveScore

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