Malta Football Association
Balzan dismiss Lions’ challenge to make winning start
Aug 20, 2017
Posted in:
BOV Premier League
Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

  • Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photo: Joe Borg/MFA

BALZAN              2
Kaljevic 42; Ljubomirac 57


Balzan opened their 2017/18 BOV Premier League commitments with a 2-0 win over newly-promoted Naxxar Lions at the Centenary Stadium.

The Reds, who finished second last season, had four players making their debut, Michael Johnson from S Andrew’s, Jacob Borg, who rejoined the club, and Serbain midfielder Uros Ljubomaric came from FK Zemun.


Naxxar Lions, coached by Dennis Fenech, welcomed back influential midfielder Daren Falzon who last season played for


Ħamrun and Pembroke. Manolito Micallef joined the team from Ħamrun and the Lions started with three new foreigners, Italian striker Francesco Serafino and central defenders Marco Botta (Italy) and Ameth Lo from Senegal.

Balzan showed the better ideas from the start. Ryan and Paul Fenech tried their luck with long-distance shots.


At the other end, Naxxar’s Duane Bonnici and Serafino kept the Balzan rearguard busy with some explosive runs.


Balzan’s Lecao had a good opportunity on 23 minutes after dribbling passed some Naxxar defenders but his low shot ended wide. Balzan kept pressing but had only a few shots on target in the first half.


Alfred Effiong hit the bar on 38 minutes after a through-ball from Jacob Borg. A minute later, Balzan captain Bojan Kaljevic missed a great opportunity to put his team ahead as his effort went just over the bar.


Naxxar relied on counter-attacks, Falzon going close on 41 minutes but his shot was held by goalkeeper Ivan Janjusevic.


A minute later, Balzan opened the scoring thanks to Kaljevic who hit home from Ryan Fenech’s corner.

Eight minutes into the second half, Paul Fenech missed an easy chance as his weak effort was stopped by Naxxar goalkeeper Omar Borg.


On 57 minutes, Balzan doubled their lead thanks to Ljubomirac after Effiong’s chip hit the post.


On the hour, Micallef’s strike missed the target and a minute later Michael Johnson’s header beat Borg but just ended wide.


Balzan pushed forward in search of more goals, forcing Naxxar to mount a defensive action.


A Kaljevic free-kick hit the bar on 79 minutes.


On the stroke of time, Ryan Fenech s another chance after a good run from the left.


Referee: Clayton Pisani


Pani 45 pen




Valletta needed a Claudio Pani penalty to see off the challenge in their 2017/18 BOV Premier League opener.


The Citizens were without defenders Joseph Zerafa, Ryan Camilleri and Jonathan Caruana while Uchenna Umeh, who impressed in their Europa League matches, was also missing. They had three newcomers in their line-up. Lanky Serbian striker Nikola Asceric, who last played in the second division of the Japanese league, Brazilian winger Denni Rocha Dos Santos, who re-signed for Valletta from Sliema, and Oman midfielder Raed Ibrahimi Saleh who has played 68 matches for his country.


Mosta paraded five new foreigners, one of whom, Nworah, played for the club for a short period last season. The others are Ukrainian defender Semen Datsenko, Italian flank defender Thomas Veronese, Edison Bilbao, who played for Għajnsielem last season, and Cristian Jorge, a Brazilian who also featured for the club during season 2013/14.


The first real scoring opportunity of the match arrived in the 21st minute when Valletta’s Michael Mifsud concluded his run through the middle with a shot that just missed target. The exchanges were balanced.


Valletta had another great chance on 37 minutes when Argentine Santiago Malano came one-on-one with goalkeeper Andreas Vella but the latter managed to avert the danger.


A minute before half-time, Mosta defender Datsenko appeared to bring down Valletta striker Asceric in the box. Referee Stefan Pace pointed to the penalty spot and Italian midfielder Pani converted to give Valletta a 1-0 half-time lead.


Malano had another great opportunity in the first minute of the second half but miskicked the ball in front of goal.
Valletta dictated play but Mosta kept fighting hard for every ball.


On 77 minutes Pani was dismissed after getting a second booking for a bad tackle on midfield. Mosta, boosted by this numerical advantage, upped their pressure.


Their best opportunity came on 87 minutes when Veronese’s cross into the box was met by Zachary Brincat but Henry Bonello made a great save to deny the Blues.


Asceric had the chance to seal the points on 89 minutes but his shot just missed target.


Referee: Stefan Pace



At the Victor Tedesco Stadium, newly-promoted Senglea Athletic earned their first point in the BOV Premier League after holding Sliema Wanderers in a 2-2 draw. 


The Wanderers held the initiative early in the game but Nicola Palmieri gave Senglea a shock lead on the 26th minute.


Gabriel Aquilina equalised on the 36th and three minutes later, John Mintoff made it 2-1.


However, eight minutes in the second half, Matias Garcia levelled for Senglea. 


Referee: Fyodor Zammit.

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