Arias 27; Busuttil 66
J. Galea-5.5, A. Loof, S. Arab-5.5, M. Grima-6 (90 A. Bradshaw), P. Fenech-6 (71’ P. Mota), A. Da Paixao-6.5, M. Zlatkovic-5.5, G. Camilleri-5.5 (80 N. Frendo), M. Mijic-5.5 (80’ M. Djuric), B. Kaljevic-5.5, S. Cipriott-5.5 (71 A. Andrejic).
G. Kitanov-5.5, A. Magri Overend-6 (80 A. Garzia), C. Rutjens-6, Z. Cassar-6, K. Keqi, U Arias-5.5 (52 A. Ciolacu), M. Garcia-6.5, B. Paiber-6 (80 D. Agius), E. Callegari-5.5, E. Rebenja-5.5 (52 A. Caseres), R. Camenzuli-6 (62 J. Busuttil).
Referee: Glen Tonna
Yellow Cards: E. Callegari, M. Garcia, K. Keqi, A. Loof, D. Agius, N. Frendo, A. Ciolacu
Red Cards: K. Keqi, A. Loof
BOV Player of the Match: Alex Alves (Balzan).
Floriana returned to winning ways thanks to a 2-1 win over Balzan.
This victory enabled the Greens to close in on the top two while leaving Balzan in a mid-table position as they suffered the fourth defeat in six matches.
Gianluca Atzori opted for two changes from the team which lost to Ħamrun as Brandon Paiber and Eugeniu Rebenja were preferred to Jan Busuttil and Augusto Caseres.
Balzan, on the other hand, had goalkeeper Jake Galea making his debut after replacing Henry Bonello as a substitute in the final stages of Malta vs Cyprus earlier this week.
Shots at goal were few and far in between during the first half.
On 25 minutes, Paul Fenech had a volley from outside the area ending over the bar for Balzan.
Two minutes later, Floriana forged ahead. Ryan Camenzuli entered the area from the left and served Eugeniu Rebejna who passed the ball to Ulises Arias and the Argentine midfielder controlled before slotting past Galea.
Balzan replied with a cross by Gary Camilleri from the left from which Bojan Kaljevic’s header was parried by Kitanov on 38 minutes.
Two minutes later, both sides ended in ten men as Augustine Loof and Kristian Keqi, who had just been cautioned, were sent off following an argument between the two.
In the second half, Balzan went out in search of the equaliser and Kaljevic anticipated Kitanov with a header following a cross from the right but Christian Rutjens cleared the ball into safety.
Soon after, Matias Garcia’s cross shot from the right was parried by Jake Galea.
A minute later, Balzan levelled matters.
Kaljevic received the ball on the right and served Alves who dribbled two players in style before hitting past the Floriana custodian.
The Brazilian threatened once again on 58 minutes when he was found by Marcus Grima and hit an angled shot from the left which scraped past the far post following a slight deflection by a defender.
Three minutes later, another Alves effort from the edge of the area hit the crossbar.
Floriana regained the lead on 66 minutes, courtesy of substitute Jan Busuttil, who was at the right place and the right time to hit the ball home past the Balzan goalkeeper following a cross by Cassar from the left.
In the dying minutes, Floriana could have added another but attempts by Andrei Ciolacu and Daniel Agius were both blocked.