Day 15 Valletta 2 Balzan 2
Valletta and Balzan shared the spoils in an entertaining match.
Balzan’s disjointed football contrasted sharply with Valletta’s brisk movement which, on 9 minutes, culminated in a sweet interchange between Falcone and Mifsud, the latter bypassing Steve Bezzina who in the process lost his coordination but was denied by Elkin Serrano Valero’s timely tackle.
Valletta continued to run the show, Jhonnattann’s perfect cross prompted Cremona to summon a half-volley that rolled just wide of the far post. On 12 minutes, it was Serrano Valero who covered himself with glory as he was in the right spot again to block Falcone.
A well-struck header from Kaljevic that was saved by Dzjugas Bartkus helped to raise the excitement among the Balzan fans. Shy the half hour mark, Cremona found Serrano Valero on his way as the Columbian defender closed down on the midfielder to clear the danger.
On 37 minutes, the anticipation of Balzan fans grew when Ryan Fenech’s inswinger from a corner looked destined to sail into the top corner of the net but for Claudio Pani’s decisive intervention who bellied his diminutive stature to head the ball out.
Valletta’s territorial edge was never translated into tactical supremacy during the first half. However, the second half opened up excellent prospects for them. The ball was played wide to Mifsud whose measured cross from the right had Falcone connecting to it, with a powerful header before the ball hit the roof of the net.
At this point, Spiteri sought a more positive approach from his side with a double substitution, introducing Effiong and Nafti at the expense of Micallef and Anderson de Barros and the Malta striker made an immediate impact.
On the hour mark, Effiong drifted infield with a typical fast run before providing a perfect service to the alert Kaljevic who bore down on goal before slotting the ball behind Bartkus. It was only the second touch Effiong had on the ball, but it was worth its weight in gold.
Their second goal was not long in the coming. Piciollo was on the end of an inviting long-range cross from Ryan Fenech and headed over the Valletta goalkeeper.
Balzan looked as if they were in command of the game, but Valletta were rewarded for their persistence fifteen minutes from time. They were awarded a free-kick in an inviting position after Bruno Giglio scythed down Jhonnattann. The Brazilian picked himself up to extract a delightful strike that bent viciously beyond Balzan’s defensive wall and into the net.
Source – timesofmalta.com
VALLETTA – D. Barktus, R. Camilleri, S. Borg, J. Benites , M. Mifsud, S. Malano (R. Romao), J. Caruana, L. Cremona, L. Aguirre, F. Falcone (L. Montebello), C. Pani.
BALZAN – I Janjusevic, B. Giglio De Oliviera, S. Arab, B. Kaljevic, E. Serrano, R. Fenech, A. De Barros (A. Effiong), L. Micallef (A. Nafti), S. Bezzina (C. Brincat), P. Fenech, M. Piciollo.
Scorers: 47′ F. Falcone, 60′ B. Kaljevic (B), 67′ M. Picollo (B) 75′ J. Benites (V)
Yellow Cards: S. Arab (B)
Man of Match: M. Mifsud (V)
Referee: E. Azzopardi