GŻIRA UNITED 2
Jefferson 26; Correa 74
V. Vranes-6; A. Loof-6; S. Arab-6 (68 P. Mota); P. Fenech-6 (82 A. Bradshaw); S. Pisani-6 (81 E. McWoods); M. Johnson-6 (46 G. Camilleri-6); A. Effiong-5; U. Ljubomirac-5 (81 N. Frendo); S. Dimic-5; S. Cipriott-6; M. Kamara-6.
J. Haber-6; G. Bohrer-6.5; Steve Borg-6.5; N. Muscat-6.5 (88 O. Elouni); M. Davis-6.5 (88 A. Cohen); N. Portelli-5 (46 D. Xuereb-6); J. Mendoza-6; R. Correa-7.5; Sacha Borg-6.5; Jefferson-6.5 (84 A. Samb); R. Kooh Sohna-6 (77 C. Borg).
Referee Darryl Agius.
Yellow cards Portelli, Ljubomirac, Mendoza.
BOV Player of the Match Ricardo Correa (Balzan).
Gżira United bounced back to winning ways after beating Balzan 2-0 at the Centenary Stadium.
A goal in each half by Jefferson and man-of-the-match Riccardo Correa enabled the Maroons to halt their winless streak and earn three valuable points that sees them reach the 21-point tally.
Balzan, on their part, have now gone almost two months without a single win as their last victory dates back to October 17.
They remain in the red zone on 12 points and coach Mark Miller will surely hope that team can turn the tables around in order to avoid an unexpected relegation battle.
Gżira United could have already forged ahead after two minutes when Raphael Kooh Sohna received a through ball from Correa but the former Gudja forward missed the target.
Balzan looked more confident on the ball as their pragmatic approach to the game enabled them to have more possession in the early stages.
Nonetheless, it was the Maroons who came close to draw first blood through a Correa long-range effort which went inches wide.
Gżira, though, were not to be denied on 26 minutes when Jefferson let fly a strike from the edge of the area, which was deflected past the Balzan goalkeeper to put Darren Abdilla’s side ahead.
On the other hand, Abdilla’s fellow colleague Mark Miller was given the marching orders midway into the first half for excessive protests.
Five minutes from time, Sean Cipriott came close to surprise Gżira as he attempted a first-timer with his back towards the post only to be denied by the crossbar.
Just before half-time, Martin Davis dazzled past his marker before finding an unmarked Correa inside the box but the Uruguayan’s attempt was cleared off goal line by Augustine Loof as Gżira ended the first 45 minutes with a narrow-lead.
After the break, Balzan threatened first through Loof whose attempted a header on goal failed to hit the target
Moments later, Jefferson came close to double Gżira’s lead when he connected to a Davis cross just to see his effort hit the crossbar.
On the hour mark, Kooh Sohna tried to stun Vukanis Vranes with a long-range hit but his ball sailed over the bar.
Balzan replied through skipper Steve Pisani with a trademark free-kick but goalkeeper Justin Haber was alert to avert the danger.
However, it was Gżira who sealed the points when Correa put the cherry on the cake on an inspiring performance with a solo effort as he struck a shot past Vranes.