ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 0
H. Bonello-6, D. Gojkovic-6, J. Mbong-5, J. Ailton Soares-5, F. Sasere-5, L. Gambin-5, P. Djordjevic-5 (46 A. Oyama-5), K. Micallef-6 (63 S. Lagzir-5), I. Ntow-5 (62 D. Borg), C. Dielna-6 (75 C. Mercieca) , E. Marcelina-5.
V. Vranes-6.5, A. Loof-7, S. Arab-6, M. Grima-6.5, M. Duric-7, P. Fenech-7 (75 G. Camilleri), A. Da Paixao-6.5, M. Johnson-6.5, M. Zlatkovic-6 (68 S. Cipriott), M. Mijic-6, B. Kaljevic-6 (77 A. Andrejic).
Referee Emanuel Grech.
Yellow cards Zlatkovic, Djordjevic, Mbong, Johnson, Marcelina.
Missed penalty: Kaljevic (B) 59.
BOV Player of the match Milan Duric (Balzan).
Balzan piled more misery on Ħamrun Spartans’ poor start to the new season as the Reds claimed a deserved victory at the National Stadium.
A fine strike from Balzan’s talisman Milan Duric earned three priceless points for Balzan who fully deserved the victory after putting on a very accomplished display as they managed to keep the Spartans at bay throughout the 90 minutes.
The win was a huge boost for Balzan who climbed to fifth in the standings on six points, level with Valletta and Floriana.
As regards Ħamrun, this was, without doubt, their worst performance of the season as the Reds looked out of sorts throughout as they never really threatened the Balzan goal with their main players having a nightmare performance.
Ħamrun Spartans coach Mark Buttigieg made one change from the team that beat Mosta last week as Juan Corbalan made way from Serbian midfielder Predrag Djordjevic.
Balzan on the other hand made three changes from their defeat to Birkirkara as Marcus Grima, Milos Zltakovic and Bojan Kaljevic were handed a start at the expense of Sean Cipriott, Uros Ljubomirac and Aleksa Andrejic.
The match offered little entertainment for much of the opening minutes with the Spartans holding the majority of possession but they lacked any composure in the final third with the result that they never threatened Balzan’s goal.
It was Balzan who created the first chance on 24 minutes when Alex Da Paixao dispossessed Isaac Ntow and quickly served Milan Duric just outside the area and the Serbian hit a firm drive that was pushed away by the diving Henry Bonello.
Duric was not to be denied on the half hour when Djordjevic conceded a free-kick on the edge of the area and this time Duric’s curling drive flew past Bonello with the ball hitting the upright before finishing into the back of the net.
Ħamrun finally threatened on 33 minutes when Luke Gambin found Franklin Sasere who headed just wide.
Five minutes from the break, Balzan again threatened when Da Paixao again sped free and served Duric who this time saw his shot flash just wide.
At the interval, Buttigieg hauled off Djordjevic and roped in Arthur Oyama as he looked bring more flair to his team.
Ħamrun created their first chance in the second half on 53 minutes when Mbong found Sasere whose flick was saved by Vranes.
Balzan had a golden chance to double the lead on the hour when Gojkovic upended Zlatkovic inside the area but from the resultant penalty, Kaljevic fired wide.
Ħamrun continued to struggle to create any decent chances as they were guilty of continous sloppy passing that derailed on hope of creating any openings.
Balzan should have killed off the Spartans in the 90th minute when in a quick break, Duric played Da Paixao cleared but the Brazilian was denied by the onrushing Bonello.
In stoppage time, Da Paixao came close again when he dispossessed Darren Borg but his firm drive hit the bar with Bonello beaten.
But that little mattered as Balzan held on to a famous win.