SLIEMA WANDERERS 0
SLIEMA WANDERERS R. Al Tumi-7; L. Muscat-6; J. Morales-6; M. Scerri-5 (83 I. Gui); E. Agius-5; D. Holla-5; M. Piciollo-5 (83 A. Samb); O. Bethancourt-6; J. Goncalves-5 (90 D. Formston); D. Vukovic-6; V. Berisha-5.
BALZAN R. Briffa-6; A. Loof-6, M. Grima-6, M. Duric-7, P. Fenech-6, N. Gulan-6 (58 G. Camilleri-6), M. Zlatkovic-6, S. Jalu-7 (76 N. Frendo), M. Mijic-7, B. Kaljevic-6, S. Cipriott-6.
Referee Stefan Pace.
Yellow cards Piciollo, Bethancourt, Fenech, Goncalves, Berisha, Jalu, Kaljevic.
BOV Player of the Match Suleiman Jalu (Balzan).
A first-half goal from Suleiman Jalu was enough for Balzan to beat Sliema Wanderers and preserve their Premier League status on the final day of the season.
The Reds had to beat Sliema to ensure at least a relegation play-off unless Sta Lucia failed to beat Valletta as both teams started this Matchday level on points.
While Balzan managed to obtain the three points against the already-relegated Sliema, Sta Lucia fell to a 2-1 loss against Valletta as they go down into the Challenge League.
On the other hand, Sliema have put an end to their miserable campaign in the top-flight with yet another defeat as they will now start to prepare for life in the second tier.
Balzan’s goal came midway into the first half through Dutch player Suleiman Jalu who netted his second goal of the season in 14 league outings.
Balzan produced the first chance of the match when Bojan Kaljevic darted towards the box but his low drive was blocked by Sliema’s goalkeeper Rashed Al Tumi.
Sliema’s custodian came to the rescue for his team when he denied a Milan Duric’s header attempt from close-range. Balzan’s Duric kept threatening Sliema, this time with a trademark freekick on which Al-Tumi once again managed to put his hands.
In the 28th minute, Kaljevic miscued an enormous chance when he failed to capitalise from point-blank range.
Balzan kept piling up the pressure on Sliema with Milos Mijic trying his luck from inside the penalty area but could not beat Al Tumi.
The Reds made their pressure count in the 34th minute when Suleiman Jalu beat goalkeeper Al Tumi before slotting into the empty net.
After the interval, Mijic fired over the bar from outside the penalty area as Balzan were looking to double their lead.
As the half wore on, the tempo started to decline as Balzan were making sure to preserve their one-goal lead while hoping for Sta Lucia to slip up against the Citizens at the National Stadium.
The final whistle and their status confirmation brought a sigh of relief to a club whose season objectives were far more different than the ones they had to chase in the season run-in.