Balzan consolidate top place with easy win
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.
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