Europa League – Balzan edged by Domzale in seven-goal clashPublished: 12-07-2019 09:45
BOV Premier League
The encounter between Balzan and Slovenian side NK Domzale on Thursday was a thrilling affair with the Slovenians emerging 4-3 winners at the Centenary Stadium. Balzan showed resilience as they came through a difficult start to take a 2-1 half-time lead but Domzale scored three times in the second half to win this first leg of the Europa League first qualifying round match. Domzale opened the scoring after five minutes. Ivan Bozovic was adjudged to have brought down Slobodan Vuk inside the box and captain Senijad Ibričić made no mistake from the spot. Midway into the first half, goalkeeper Kristijan Naumovski, who was making his debut for Balzan, blocked a Tonći Mujan shot. Paul Fenech then hit wide from a good position but Balzan equalised on 34 minutes. Alfred Effiong made a powerful run on the right before serving Ricardo Correa whose angled shot sailed past Grega Sorčan. Three minutes later, Balzan went 2-1 up, Ubos Ljubomirac scoring with a low strike after being put through by Effiong. Domzale levelled three minutes into the second half thanks to Vuk who headed home from a cross by Matej Podlogar. The match remained open with Effiong putting Balzan ahead after being teed up by Stefan Dimic’s back-heeled assist. However, Domzale took only six minutes to equalise again, punishing Balzan’s failed to clear the ball in their own box as Gregor Sikošek capitalised on a rebound to make it 3-3. With 15 minutes remaining, Domzale scored the winning goal. Josip Corluka crossed for Podlogar who beat Naumovski from close in. The second leg will be played this coming Thursday at Sportni Park in Domzale. NARROW DEFEAT FOR HIBSHibernians were also in action in the Europa League on Thursday. The Paolites produced a disciplined performance in a 1-0 defeat to FC Shakhtyor Soligorsk in Belarus, a result that keeps their qualifying hopes alive ahead of the second leg at the Centenary Stadium on Thursday. Valeriy Gromyko scored the winning goal for Shakhtyor 21 minutes from time. Hibernians coach Stefano Sanderra gave a debut to Italian Leonardo Nanni and Dutch striker Terence Groothusen with German defender Jens Wemmer, another summer signing, came on in the second half.