In an exciting game at the Hibernians Stadium, Balzan had a hard time to beat Pembroke Athleta, with a score of 2 – 1. The game included a couple of episodes where Balzan missed a penalty, their playmaker Pedro Calcado was sent off the pitch and the matched being decided after an own goal by a Pembroke defender.
The first chance of the game came to Pedro Calcado, but his shot finished high after being released by Lydon Micallef.
In the early stages of the game Pembroke created the better chances. On the 10th minute, Alex Cini served well Manolito Micallef from the right but the latter’s rising shot was pushed over by the Balzan goalkeeper Christian Cassar.
A minute later, goalkeeper Cassar made another brilliant save over an attempt by Ariel Laudisi, after being set by Manolito Micallef.
Balzan reacted and on the 16th minute they opened the score. Alan Da Silva Souza’s made his way into the box before serving LYDON MICALLEF who, from close range, shot home past goalkeeper Mario Muscat.
Pembroke came close to an equaliser from a Paltemio Barbetti’s free-kick, but Zoran Levnaic headed wide.
The game remained entertaining. On the 27th minute, Pedro Calcado’s shot finished against the side-netting, following an Alfred Effiong’s cross.
On the 28th minute, Pembroke equalised when Manolito Micallef sent a fine cross from the right towards LARIEL LAUDISI who finished home, despite Christian Cassar’s intervention to keep the ball out.
Seven minutes into the second half, Balzan had a good chance to regain the lead when Da Silva Souza dribbled his way pass a couple of defenders before setting Effiong who powered his way into the box but shot wide, with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Balzan insisted and on the 55th minute Da Silva Souza had his powerful shot pawed away by goalkeeper Muscat.
Muscat came again to the rescue on the 67th minute when he saved over on an attempt by Lydon Micallef. The same player was unlucky when, on the 71st minute, his shot hit the crossbar and finished out.
On the 80th minute Balzan’s could have taken the lead again when the referee ordered a penalty as Zoran Levnaic pulled Bojan Kaljevic’s shirt but Bojan Kaljevic failed to transform from the spot.
Two minutes later, Balzan suffered a severe setback when they ended with ten men after Pedro Calcado was shown a straight red card for elbowing Siraj Arab. From the ensuing free-kick, taken by Paltemio Barbetti, Ariel Laudisi headed wide.
However Balzan insisted and on the 85th minute, Alexandar Vujacic had a dangerous effort deflected over the crossbar.
Their efforts gave fruit as with three minutes left they took the lead again. Following a swinging corner kick from the left by Da Silva Souza, Rennie Tant headed into his own net, in a bid to clear the ball.
During the last minutes of the game Pembroke put everything on the attack, forcing Balzan to defend. In the added time, Christian Cassar denied Pembroke an equaliser when he save well over a Ariel Laudisi header. Pembroke came close again when, from a corner action, Paul Fenech cleared off the line a Monalito Micallef’s header and from the rebound Gustavo Villalobos hammered wide.