Malta Football Association
Title race wide open as top clash ends in a draw
Feb 5, 2018
Posted in:
BOV Premier League

BALZAN     0


The title race is still wide open after the direct clash between the front duo, leaders Balzan and second-placed Valletta, ended in a goalless draw at the National Stadium on Sunday.

Balzan were forced to dig in during stoppage time after having two players dismissed, Milos Lepovic and Uros Ljubomirac.


Needing a win to cancel out the three-point gap on Balzan, Valletta were the more adventurous side and created the better chances but could not find fine a breakthrough.


Midway into the first half, Santiaho Malano’s first-time thunderbolt hit the upright.


Enmy Pena Beltre then directed a cross towards Matteo Piciollo but his header was off target.


Balzan improved after the change of ends, going close with a header from Elkin Serrano which finished wide.


With 13 minutes left, Kyrian Nwoko’s perseverance enabled to make headway in the Balzan half but the Malta U-21 striker was brought down by Lepovic who was booked.


Malano’s curling grounder from the resultant free-kick rolled past the far post.


There was also a chance for Balzan as Bojan Kaljevic met a hopeful cross with a header which soared past the on-rushing Henry Bonello but the Montenegrin’s header landed wide.


At the other end, Michael Mifsud, on as a substitute, had a great chance to win it for Valletta but his angled effort from inside the box hit the side-netting.


Balzan were reduced to 10 men when Lepovic’s foul on Rowen Muscat earned him a second yellow card.


In stoppage time, Lubomirac was also dismissed after he appeared to swing an arm at Joseph Zerafa who had clashed with Kaljevic.


BOV player of the match: Santiago Malano (Valletta)


MOSTA          0


Hibernians missed the chance to narrow the gap on leading duo Balzan and Valletta after being held to a goalless draw by Mosta.


The Paolites are now fifth, level with Floriana on 32 points, two point behind Birkirkara.


Hibernians created the better opportunities in the first half through Joao Moreira and Jurgen Degabriele.
Johann Bezzina also had a dangerous shot saved by Andreas Vella, the Mosta goalkeeper.


The champions continued to dominate possession in the second half.


Degabriele missed a golden opportunity on 65 minutes as he fired wide after getting on the end with Bezzina’s low pass.


Hibs substitute Arlindo almost made an instant impact but fired against the side-netting.


In the closing stages, Degabriele was first to a loose ball after Clayton Failla’s cross was deflected but the Hibs striker skewed his shot.


BOV player of the match: Johann Bezzina (Hibernians)

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