Matchday 04: Valletta 2 Balzan 0
Champions Valletta returned to winning ways as they scored a goal in each half to beat Balzan 2-0.
For the Citizens this was their third positive result following the upset to Sta Lucia in their opening game.
Valletta were clearly the better side yesterday and deserved to take home the three points as they created the better chances, hardly allowing their opponents to shoot at goal.
In fact, much more was expected from Balzan who were coming from a highly entertaining 3-3 draw with Birkirkara last week.
This was the second defeat in three matches for Jacques Scerri’s side.
The Balzan coach named Nenad Sljivic and Ryan Scicluna in the starting line-up with Michael Johnson and Luke Montebello being among the substitutes.
On the other hand, Valletta coach Darren Abdilla made three changes to the team which rescued a point in stoppage time against Floriana as Jean Borg, Shaun Dimech and Bojan Kaljevic were preferred to Ryan Camilleri, Matteo Piciollo and Yuri Messias.
The Citizens held the initiative right from the start and an Irakli Dzaria effort from outside the area ended wide on 9 minutes. A Shaun Dimech header was parried by Naumovski on 22 minutes.
Valletta managed to break the deadlock on 27 minutes. Mario Fontanella received a cross from the left and served Bojan Kaljevic who slammed the ball home past goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski.
Seven minutes from the end of the first, there was an assist from the right by Pena Beltre, Fontanella left the ball for Kevin Tulimieri who hit just wide.
Balzan could have equalised four minutes in the second half when from a cross by Ivan Bozovic from the right, Alfred Effiong headed wide.
On 64 minutes, Paul Fenech tried his luck with a lob which ended high.
However, Valletta doubled the score on 75 minutes.
Following a corner by substitute Nicholas Pulis from the right, Bozovic headed the ball in an attempt to clear the ball into safety and Irakli Dzaria chested the ball down before hitting past Naumovski.
There was hardly any reaction by Balzan and Valletta threatened once again in the remaining minutes.
Nicholas Pulis sent Kaljevic through on 81 minutes but the latter’s effort was blocked into a corner by Naumovski.
Six minutes later, Shaun Dimech tried his luck with an angled shot from the left which was neutralised by the Balzan goalkeeper.
Valletta’s Mario Fontanella was voted as the BOV Player of the Match.
VALLETTA: H. Bonello, S. Borg, E. Pena Beltre, J. Zerafa, M. Fontanella, K. Tulimieri (N. Pulis), R. Muscat (Y. Messias), I. Dzaria, B. Kaljevic (K. Nwoko), S. Dimech, J. Borg
BALZAN: K. Naumovski, A. Kosoric, N. Sljivic, S. Bezzina (74’ L. Micallef), P. Fenech, A. Effiong, U. Ljubomirac, I. Bozovic, R. Scicluna (73’ M. Grima), R. Correa, A. Faria Machado (57’ L. Montebello)
Scorers: 27′ B. Kaljevic, 75′ I. Dzaria (V)
Yellow Cards: N. Sljivic, I. Bozovic B), R. Muscat, J. Borg, , J. Zerafa (V)
BOV Player of the Match: M. Fontanella (V)
Referee: T. Farrugia Cann