STA LUCIA 0
Nogureira 15; Ljubomirac 25
STA LUCIA D. Ciappara-7, S. Rier-5, R. Bairam-5, D. Valpoort-6, A. Bah-5 (79 D. Francarolli), D. Xuereb-5 (74 B. Agius), J. Pisani-4, R. Saito-5 (57 A. Moreno), F. Rodrigues-4, J. Zerafa-5.5 (79 J. Carbone), M. Alba-5.
BALZAN J. Debono-6, I. Bozovic-6.5, M. Grima-6.5, M. Duric-6.5 (77 A. Friggieri), P. Fenech-6 (82 N. Braunovic), Y. Torres-7, B. Hili-6 (82 S. Arab), U. Ljubomirac-6, M. Zlatkovic-6, M. Raso-6, M. Nogureira-6 (62 B. Kaljevic).
Referee Glen Tonna.
Yellow cards Torres, Zerafa, Arab, Pisani.
BOV player of the match Angel Torres (Balzan).
Balzan scored two first-half goals to cruise to victory as they maintained their pristine start to the season.
The Reds were well worth their win, Oliver Spiteri’s side completely dominating possession and creating a succession of chances.
Buoyed by Spiteri’s winning return as coach against Zebbug Rangers, there was an equally positive start to the match when Balzan took command of the proceedings from the word go.
Their attacking play with Angel Torres continuing to find his feet in the Premier League, has yet to see the fluency of their rivals, though with two wins out of two this remains their best start to the season in years.
On the quarter of hour mark, Miguel Alba ran into a spot of bother, trying to keep the ball at the edge of the box after Jurgen Pisani was first to fluff his lines with a misplaced pass to the Argentine winger. Matheus de Sousa Nogureira won possession and had plenty of time to slide the ball home from close range.
In the 24th minute, Balzan hit the Saints on the break with the perfect counter-attacking goal. Torres controlled the ball and sent a majestic pass into the path of Uros Ljubomirac, with the winger not having to break his stride before sliding the ball effortlessly past Dylan Ciappara.
Torres, who has an immense physique, was a handful against the Saints’ defence. On the half-hour, the Portuguese’s long-range effort was saved by Ciappara with the aid of the crossbar.
Balzan picked up their tempo once again after the break. Torres threatened again after 50 minutes with his menacing run ending with a shot just wide off Ciappara’s far post.
Two minutes later, a Torres low free-kick that evaded every Santa Lucia defender, had ‘goal’ written all over it but Ciappara managed to get a touch to the ball. Soon after, Santa Lucia swept up the other end and Alba shot wide after great approach play from David Valpoort down the middle channel.
Balzan eased off and the Saints should have scored when on 66 minutes the ball fell to Francisco Rodrigues but the midfielder could only hopelessly sky his shot over the bar.
Having survived Santa Lucia’s best spell of the game, Balzan hit them on the break with Milan Duric coming off worst in his personal duel with Ciappara as the keeper proved hard to beat. The young goalkeeper denied the Serbian midfielder twice in quick succession.