Day 19 Valletta 2 Balzan 1
Valletta needed two goals in final ten minutes of the match to come from behind and beat Balzan 2-1 at the National Stadium.
It was an astonishing outcome to a match that looked to have taken a difficult turn for the Malta champions who were trailing by the end of the first half.
Valletta created the first chance after 13 minutes when Gavrila teed up Ibrahim Saleh on the edge of the area and the Oman midfielder saw his shot deflected just wide.
Balzan’s response arrived on 19 minutes when they were awarded a central free-kick and Riccardo Correa’s inswinger was pushed way by goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
The stalemate was broken on 29 minutes when from another Balzan free-kick, taken by Steve Pisani, Ivan Bozovic nodded the ball into the path Elkin Serrano Valero whose shot was deflected by Caruana past Bonello via the bar.
Here, Camilleri picked up a muscle injury and was replaced by Borg.
Valletta tried to respond but their efforts were not aided by an injury to another key player, Enmy Pena Beltre who had to be replaced with Alba two minutes from the break.
Just before half-time, Kyrian Nwoko used his strength to control the ball with his chest but his volley finished just over.
On the restart, Balzan looked in control and they should have scored a second goal on 67 minutes when Uros Ljubomirac when he sped clear but his shot was deflected to a corner by Joseph Zerafa.
Balzan looked in cruise control but of all of a sudden Valletta were handed a way back into the match on 80 minutes.
Sultana’s attempted clearance hit the back of Mario Fontanella with the ball finishing into the net much to the shock of the Balzan goalkeeper.
Valletta looked a transformed side now and four minutes from time they struck the winner.
Alba’s delivery from a corner was not cleared by the Balzan defence and in came Caruana who stabbed the ball past Sultana for a remarkable turnaround.
Balzan’s Ricardo Correa was voted as the BOV Player of the Match.
VALLETTA – H. Bonello, J. Caruana, J. Zerafa, R. Camilleri (S. Borg), S. Malano, K. Nwoko, E. Pena Beltre (M. Alba), M. Fontanella, I. Saleh, B. Gavrila, R Muscat (N. Pulis)
BALZAN – S. Sultana, A. Kosoric, N. Sljivic (L. Micallef), S. Pisani, S. Bezzina, P. Fenech, A. Effiong (A. Majdevac), U. Ljubomirac, I. Bozovic, E. SerranoValero, C. Duarte Riccardo.
Yellow Cards: S. Pisani (B), E. Pena Beltre, M. Alba (V)
Scorers: 29′ I. Serrano Valero (B), 80′ M. Fontanella, 86′ J. Caruana (V)
BOV Player of the Match: R. Calixto Correa (B)
Referee: A. Mario Sant