Torres 3 27, 52
ŻEBBUĠ RANGERS 1
J. Debono-6, I. Bozovic-6, M. Grima-6.5, M. Duric-6, A. Torres-8 (77 J. Suleiman), B. Hili-6 (84 A. Bradshaw), U. Ljubomirac-6 (84 N. Frendo), M. Zlatkovic-6, M. Raso-5.5, M. Albuguerque-6 (62 B. Kaljevic), J. Friggieri-5 (62 P. Fenech).
J. Azzopardi-5, L. Almeida, Wilker-6, Y. Tonna-4, S. Jankovic-6 (68 A. Mizzi), C. Ngoy-6, R. Sanchez-5 (80 T. Bartolo), R. Vella-5.5, A. Soto-5 (68 M. Perez), J. Sciberras-5 (68 G. Gesualdi), K. Bondin-5.
Referee: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow card: Bozovic,
Red card: Leandro Almeida (Żebbuġ R) 26
BOV Player of the Match: Angel Yesid Torres (Balzan).
Balzan had too much attacking class for Żebbuġ as Angel Yesid Torres marked his Premier League debut with a hat-trick.
The Columbian striker notched twice in the early stages of the match – putting Oliver Spiteri’s side firmly in control- but the game was thrown into choas by a controversial decision from referee Fyodor Zammit.
Australian striker Charles Ngoy threw a lifeline to ten-man Żebbuġ but Brian Spiteri’s side were punished by Torres who completed his hat-trick in the second half.
If Torres is the new by on the block, Uros Ljubomirac and Milan Duric are clearly not yet quite ready to step aside for the young Columbian striker.
Torres wasted little time in endearing himself to the Balzan supporters. Inside the first two minutes, Balzan were awarded a free-kick from a somewhat angled position. But that didn’t deter the Columbian striker as he let fly a fine inswinger that flew into the top corner of the net.
On 25 minutes, Fyodor Zammit sent off Leandro Almeida, harshly ruling the Zebbuġ defender had denied Mattheus Albuguerque da Sousa an “obvious goalscoring opportunity” even though the Balzan striker was away from the ball when he was fouled.
This time, the free-kick was awared in perfect Torres territory. The Columbian executed a delightful left-foot strike that bent vicously away from Jamie Azzopardi’s despairing dive.
But 10-man Żebbuġ regrouped and Charles Ngoy’s stuck out his boot to poke the ball home from Stefan Jankovic’s cross from the left.
Torres almost scored a third just before half-time, but the striker was denied by the crossbar with Azzopardi beaten.
The Balzan striker continued to run the show after the break. On 52 minutes, he livened up the proceedings when he picked up the ball on the right flank. Manoeuvred his way through the Żebbuġ defence before squaring the ball for da Sousa. The busy Columbian was first to the rebound, slotting the ball past Azzopardi.
Żebbuġ breathed a sigh of relief when Torries limped off the field of play after 77 minutes. But the game never swung back into Żebbuġ’s favour.
Photo: Stephen Gatt