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Balzan fight back to stun Gżira United

Balzan midfielder Paul Fenech (right) boots the ball away against Gżira United. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

GŻIRA UNITED 1           

Portelli 59

BALZAN              2           

Portelli 67og, Andrejic 68


A. Curmi-6, G. Bohrer-6, L. Tabone-5.5, N. Muscat-6.5, S. Pisani-6 (72 C. Gauci), Y. Messias-6.5, M. Davis-6 (80 E. Mbong), N. Portelli-6, M. Maia-5, T. Espindola-6, J. Mendoza-5.5.


J. Galea-6, S. Arab (13 G. Camilleri-5.5), M. Grima-5.5, P. Fenech-6 (62 M. Djuric), A. Da Paixao-6 (90 N. Frendo), M. Johnson-6, U. Ljubomirac-6.5, M. Zlatkovic-6, M. Mijic-6 (90 S. Jalu), B. Kaljevic-5 (77 A. Andrejic), S. Cipriott-5.5.

Referee: Alex Johnson

Yellow cards: P. Fenech, Y. Messias, M. Grima, S. Cipriott, G. Bohrer, C. Gauci

BOV Player of the Match: Uros Ljubomirac (Balzan).

Two quick fire goals enabled Balzan to come from behind and beat Gżira United 2-1.

Following a drab first half, the match came to life on the restart with Gżira taking the lead but Balzan hit back with two goals to turn defeat into victory.

At that point, the Maroons’ reaction was rather timid and Balzan held on to collect the three points that lifted them level on points with Ħamrun, Valletta and the Maroons in joint-fourth place.

Leading Balzan from the bench were coaches Luis Gutierrez Garcia and Alejandro Pantoja following the resignation of Mark Miller earlier this week but Paul Zammit, who was appointed as the new coach earlier in the day was present on the stands.

Balzan had two changes from the team which lost to Floriana as Michael Johnson and Uros Ljubomirac were handed a start, replacing Gary Camilleri and the suspended Augustine Loof. Gżira, on the other hand, welcomed Maxuell Maia back in the starting line-up.

During the first half, Balzan had the best chances with Bojan Kaljevic hitting high from an ideal position after just seven minutes.

Eight minutes from the end of the first half, an erratic pass by Luke Tabone put Kaljevic in an ideal position to conclude but the Montenegrin striker hit wide.

In the second half, the Maroons seemed a better side and after missing a good opportunity through Steve Pisani, who hit high off a cross by Thiago Espindola on 48 minutes, Yuri Messias concluded a good run with a shot which was deflected into a corner eight minutes later.

However, on 59 minutes, Gżira took the lead when Pisani delivered a corner from the right and Nevin Portelli nodded the ball home.

But eight minutes later, Balzan levelled matters. Milos Mijic’s corner from the right bounced onto Portelli with the ball ending at the back of the net for an own goal.

This goal was a cold shower for the Maroons but it was not over yet as hardly a minute later, Ljubomirac had a shot from outside the area which was partially saved by Anthony Curmi and off the rebound, Aleksa Andrejic placed the ball into the back of the net.

It was only two minutes in added time that Gżira could have restored equilibrium but Messias’s effort from the left was blocked on the goal line by Michael Johnson.

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