Unbeaten Balzan alone at the summit
Balzan remain the only unbeaten side in the BoV Premier League after winning this tight contest against Hibernians with two late goals to go top of the standings after the full mid-week programme of matches.
After a mundane first half, best to be forgotten by both sides, Hibernians grew into the game and even looked like nicking it in the second half.
But Balzan failed to buckle even when under pressure and won the contest thanks to a Kaljevic penalty and an Effiong strike.
Balzan made two changes from their previous draw against Valletta. Lydon Micallef and Terence Agius started instead of Dylan Grima and Matteo Picciollo.
Hibernians were an unchanged side after a 2-1 win against Pembroke, except for goalkeeper Rudi Briffa deputising for regular Andrew Hogg.
Balzan more than matched their opponents throughout a flat first period and for much of the second.
Towards the half hour, Kristensen had to receive treatment on the sidelines following a nasty clash of heads. He continued playing with a heavily bandaged head but only for a few minutes until he was stretchered off to the ambulance and replced by Juan Varea.
During four minutes of added time, Balzan came close as they entered the Hibernians area for the first time. But Kaljevic’s effort on a Nafti pass, was blocked into a corner.
The teams looked more fried up after the restart and Hibernians crafted the first good opportunity. Telles ended a fine individual run with a shot that rebounded off the bar. Varea picked the loose ball but missed the target.
Lima had another shot going narrowly off target before the hour as Hibernians seemed to take a stranglehold in midfield. They even introduced Andrew Cohen for Mbong.
On 65 minutes a Varea header towards the top corner was tipped over the bar by the Balzan keeper Janjusevic.
Balzan, who were being pinned inside their own half for too long, finally put in Matteo Piciollo for Micallef.
Piciollo immediately had a shot blocked by Soares and Fenech’s effort on the rebound was saved by the grounded keeper Briffa.
With six minutes remaining, Balzan were awarded a rather soft penalty after Effiong fell inside the area when challenged by Failla. Bojan Kaljevic converted from the spot.
Balzan even doubled their lead on the stroke of full time. Alfred Effiong beat the static Hibernians defence, and as the falg stayed down, he found more than ample space to advance and beat keeper Briffa to put Balzan at the summit.
Balzan Birkirkara Valletta Hibernians Floriana Gzira U Hamrun S Tarxien R St. Andrews Sliema W Mosta Pembroke A P 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 5 W 4 4 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 1 1 0 D 1 0 1 0 0 2 1 1 0 0 0 0 L 0 1 1 2 2 1 2 2 3 4 4 5
F A Pts 10 5 13 13 3 12 10 6 10 7 7 9 7 4 9 7 4 8 9 7 7 4 7 7 6 10 6 3 8 3 5 10 3 4 14 0
Paul Fenech (left) following Bjorn Kristensen (right) Photo: Michael Camilleri