Balzan con­sol­i­date top place with easy win

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Balzan con­sol­i­dated their lead­er­ship of the Premier League yes­ter­day evening as they over­came St An­drews’ chal­lenge to emerge easy win­ners.

Balzan now have 19 points from seven matches, while the Saints re­main an­chored on the six-point mark, just above bot­tom placed Pem­broke who have three points.

The league lead­ers were cer­tainly a su­pe­rior out­fit but the Saints tried their best to keep them at bay apart from go­ing at their op­po­nents when­ever they got the op­por­tu­nity.

How­ever, they were found want­ing up front as goalie Cas­sar was only tested se­ri­ously on one oc­ca­sion.

In the sec­ond half, the Saints went out in search of a goal to try and get back into the match, but Balzan had other ideas and af­ter scor­ing a third goal from a penalty, there was never any doubt as to where the points were go­ing, even if they failed to add more goals to their tally.

The first ac­tion ar­rived on six min­utes, when from a Far­ru­gia cor­ner, Che headed well over the bar from an ideal po­si­tion.

Balzan broke the dead­lock on 13 min­utes when in their first real foray, it was Nafti who hit hard from the edge of the area to beat goalie Galea all ends up.

Three min­utes later Kal­je­vic was set beau­ti­fully by Nafti in the Saints area, but his shot was de­vi­ated to an abortive cor­ner.

At the other end, Far­ru­gia set Kas­trevec, but the lat­ter’s ef­fort went over the bar.

St An­drews went close to equal­is­ing in the 42nd minute with goalie Cas­sar out of po­si­tion. First it was Daniel Bran­dle who saw goalie Cas­sar turn­ing to cor­ner with dif­fi­culty. From the re­sul­tant cor­ner­kick, a melee en­sued in the Balzan area and Kyr­ian Nwoko saw his semi-roves­ci­ata just miss­ing the tar­get.

In­stead the goal ar­rived at the other end on the 45th minute. It was Paul Fenech who scored a beauty from about 25 me­tres, the ball hit­ting the post be­fore en­ter­ing the net.

Be­fore the in­ter­val whis­tle, the Saints protested for a penalty when a Kas­trevec ef­fort seemed to have hit a Balzan de­fender’s hands, but the of­fi­cial, close to the ac­tion, only awarded a cor­ner­kick.

St An­drews started the sec­ond half on at­tack and from a Far­ru­gia cor­ner kick, it was Johnson who headed over the bar.

Balzan were awarded a penalty in the 57th minute when Pi­ci­ollo was floored in the area by Johnson. From the re­sul­tant spot­kick, Kal­je­vic made no mis­take to put his team fur­ther in com­mand.

From then on, Balzan re­frained from press­ing up­wards as the Saints tried in vain to score a con­so­la­tion goal. In the 80th minute, Nwoko had a good chance to re­duce the gap, but he hit the side net­ting.

At the other end, it was goalie Galea who de­nied sub­sti­tute Da Silva Souza as he rushed out of his charge to block the lat­ter’s in­cur­sion.

Stand­ings

Balzan Birkirkara Hiber­ni­ans Ham­run Val­letta Flo­ri­ana Gzira Tarx­ien Sliema Mosta St. An­drews Pem­broke 7 7 7 7 7 6 7 6 6 7 7 6 6 4 4 3 3 3 2 2 2 2 2 1 1 1 1 2 2 1 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 16 6 19 2 15 6 13 2 10 8 13 2 15 10 11 2 11 9 11 2 8 5 10 2 9 8 9 3 5 9 7 4 5 9 6 5 8 15 6 5 6 14 6 5 6 15 3

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