Day 18 Valletta 0 Balzan 0
Balzan held off Valletta’s late pressure to hold on to a goalless draw that enabled them to preserve their three-point advantage at the top of the BOV Premier League.
Trailing Balzan by three points prior to kick-off, the Citizens were on the offensive right from the outset and on 23 minutes the woodwork denied them an opener when Santiago Malano’s scorcher came off the bar.
Seven minutes later, Enmy Pena Beltre delivered a cross towards Matteo Piciollo who saw his downward header finish wide.
In the second half, Balzan started to gain more ground into the Valletta half but still struggled to create any danger to Henry Bonello, the City goalkeeper.
Balzan’s first attempt at goal arrived on 58 minutes when from a corner taken by Cadu, Serrano Valero saw his header finish just over.
Just past the hour, Piciollo dispossessed Bozovic and served Alba whose deflected shot finished just over.
Thirteen minutes from time, Kyrian Nwoko looked to have stole a march on the Balzan defence when he surged dangerously towards the area but was upended by Milos Lepovic.
From the resultant free-kick Malano’s shot just missed the upright.
Kaljevic almost profited from an ill-timed sortie by Bonello but the Montenegrin saw his header finish just wide.
In stoppage time, Mifsud had the chance to win it for Valletta when he pounced on an indecision by Serrano Valero but from an angled position he blasted his drive into the sidenetting.
In the first minute of stoppage time Lepovic was shown a second yellow card for a foul on Rowen Muscat and was dismissed.
Tempers again flared deep in stoppage time when Ljubomirac was shown a straight red card for hitting an opponents but somehow Balzan held on for a point.
Source – timesofmalta.com
VALLETTA – H. Bonello, S. Malano, R. Muscat, E. Pena Beltre, R. Camilleri, J. Cruz Gill, A. Prosa, M. Alba (M. Mifsud), M. Piccolo (K. Nwoko), J. Zerafa, R. Saleh.
BALZAN – S. Mintoff, S. Bezzina, M. Johnson, E. Serrano Valero, U. Ljubomirac, I. Bozovic (J. Grioli), B. Kaljevic, P. Fenech, M. Lepovic, A. Da Paixao Alves (R. Fenech), E. De Fiori Mendes (A. Effiong)
Yellow Cards: I. Bozovic, S. Bezzina, M. Lepovic, U. Ljubomirac, S. Mintoff (B), M. Alba, J. Zerafa (V).
Red Cards: M. Lepovic, U. Ljubomirac (B)
Man of Match: S. Malano (V)
Referee: A. Sant