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Balzan hit four past Tarxien Rainbows to advance in FA Trophy

BALZAN           4

Mladenovic 16; Fenech 19

Nogureira 49, 59

TARXIEN RAINBOWS           0

BALZAN

R. Briffa, S. Arab, M. Grima, B. Mladenovic, P. Fenech (73 Z. Grech), L. Mallia (60 I. Bozovic), N. Zerjal (73 J. Grech), N. Braunovic, M. Raso, M. Nogureira (60 B. Kaljevic), A. Andrejic (60 A. Torres).

TARXIEN RAINBOWS

M. Debono, N. Micallef, C. Conceicao, B. Muscat, M. Spiteri, T. Nonato (56 D. Agius), D. Falzon (82 K. Cutajar), S. Bezzina, B. Farrugia (56 A. Correa), J. Cabral, J. Filho (69 D. Abela).

Referee Daniel Portelli.

Yellow cards Nonato, Abela.

Balzan cruised into the next round of the FA Trophy when they beat Challenge League side Tarxien Rainbows 4-0 at the Centenary Stadium.

It was a show of class from the Premier League side who asserted their dominance after taking the lead in the first half, before going on to score three more as the Rainbows failed to respond.

Despite the difference in division, the match had a particularly balanced opening, both sides playing cautiously around the halfway line for the first quarter of an hour.

However, Balzan opened proceedings directly from a corner kick on 16 minutes when Bogdan Mladenovic put in a strong effort from the flag which flew straight into the top corner.

Tarxien responded two minutes later when Junior Cabral fired from the right after a swift counter attack, but his shot was blocked by Rudy Briffa.

This miss came back to haunt the Rainbows as from the next play, the ball was pushed to Balzan captain Paul Fenech who fired a cannon of a shot into the top corner to add to their lead.

Matheus Nogureira could have made it three before the half-hour from a freekick but his effort flew wide off the mark.

Tarxien had the chance to get back into the game seven minutes from the break as Balzan suffered a momentary lapse in concentration, with Briffa coming to his side’s rescue to block Matthew Spiteri’s low shot.

Balzan hit the ground running on the restart but Nikola Zerjal’s effort seconds into the half went over. This energy reaped rewards four minutes later when a diagonal ball through the defence found Nogureira unmarked, the Brazilian slotting past goalkeeper Matthias Debono.

Tarxien were struggling to find a way back and things got worse when Balzan found their fourth goal 59 minutes in when Mladenovic put in a low ball into the area which escaped two defenders before finding Nogureira who slid the ball into the net.

With a mountain to climb, Tarxien fired their first shot at goal in the second half two minutes later but once more, Briffa was alert to push away Spiteri’s shot.

On 65 minutes, Bojan Kaljevic was close to making it a no-contest but Debono managed to collect the Montenegrin’s shot from point-blank range.

While Tarxien tried to score their consolation goal, Balzan held firm for the remaining minutes to secure their place in the next round.

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