Day 06 Valletta 4 Balzan 1
Valletta came from a goal down to ease past Balzan at the National Stadium and move just one point behind leaders Gżira United.
Things looked gloomy for the champions when they found themselves behind after only three minutes of play.
Uros Ljubomirac picked up the ball on the edge of the area and hit a fierce angle drive that gave no chance to Valletta goalkeeper Henry Bonello.
City almost equalised on 18 minutes when Enmy Pena Beltre picked up a short rebound and hit a thumping drive that came off the bar with Steve Sultana beaten.
Nine minutes later, Pena Beltre threatened again when he stormed inside the area but his shot was not withheld by Sultana. Kaljevic was first on the rebound but he hit the sidenetting.
Valletta finally drew level on the stroke of half-time when Kaljevic met Alba’s cross and nodded the ball towards Pena Beltre who anticipated Sultana and left Fontanella with the easiest of tasks and fire home.
That equalizer late in the first half had a galvanizing effect on Valletta who took just one minute from the restart to forge ahead.
Kaljevic played in Fontanella and the Italian striker beat Sultana with an angled drive.
Balzan had two glorious chances to draw level soon after.
On 56 minutes Andrija Majdevac pounced on a defensive lapse by the Citizens to storm through but was denied by Bonello.
A minute later Slivjic played Effiong clear but the Balzan striker was denied by the City no.1.
Effiong missed another open chance just past the hour when he was played in by Majdevac but his shot was deflected just wide.
Kaljevic almost added a third on 67 minutes but was denied by Sultana.
The Montenegrin did kill of the match 18 minutes from time when in a quick break, Fontanella sliced the Balzan defence open but was blocked by the back-tracking Slivjic. Kaljevic was quick to react to fire the ball past Sultana.
Valletta wrapped up the points three minutes from time when the excellent Pena Beltre broke free on the right and beat the onrushing Sultana.
Valletta striker Mario Fontanella was voted as the BOV Player of the match.
VALLETTA – H. Bonello, S. Borg, M. Piciollo (R. Camilleri), E. Pena Beltre, J. Zerafa, M. Alba, M. Fontanella, B. Kaljevic (J. Caruana), R. Muscat, I. Saleh (B. Gavrila), J. Borg.
BALZAN – S. Sultana, N. Sljivic (J. Grioli), A. Da Paixao Alves (S. Arab), S. Bezzina (S. Cipriott), M. Johnson, A. Effiong, U. Ljubomirac, I. Bozovic, E. Serrano Valero, A. Majdevac, M. Lepovic.
Yellow Cards: B. Kaljevic (V), M. Johnson, E. Serrano Valero, A. Majdevac (B)
Scorers: 3′ Ljubomaric (B), 44′, 47′ M. Fontanella, 73′ B. Kaljevic, 87′ E. Pena Beltre (V)
Man of Match: M. Fontanella (V)
Referee: S. Pace