Malta Football Association
Balzan and Hibs march on, Valletta lose ground
Feb 6, 2017
Posted in:
BOV Premier League
Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar
Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar

  • Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar
  • Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar
  • Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar

Balzan maintained their grip on top spot in the BOV Premier League standings after a narrow victory over Ħamrun Spartans on Saturday. Alan Da Silva Souza’s stunning goal midway into the first half handed the Reds three important points at the expense of a battling Ħamrun Spartans side who succumbed to their second straight defeat.

Hibernians needed a last-gasp goal from Brazilian defender Rodolfo Soares to see off the tenacious challenge of St Andrews.


Ivan Edgardo Paz had fired the Saints in front on 27 minutes but Malta U-21 striker Juergen Degabriele equalised with his second goal in as many games for Hibernians.


The game looked destined to end in a draw but, in stoppage time, Soares was first to Gilmar's cross to hit past Jake Galea, the St Andrews goalkeeper.


Gilmar was making his debut for Hibs this season after returning from a loan spell with a club in Saudi Arabia.


With this win, Hibs stayed second on 43 points, two behind Balzan.


Valletta have slipped seven points off the top after failing to go beyond a 1-1 draw with the resilient Tarxien Rainbows.


Justifying their hard-to-beat reputation, Tarxien Rainbows broke the deadlock early in the second half courtesy of Swedish forward Alex Nilsson but Argentine left-back Leandro Aguirre came to the champions’ rescue with a late equaliser.


Andrew Cohen marked his debut for Gżira United with a goal but his effort proved futile as his new team went down 2-1 to the resurgent Birkirkara, now only one point behind Valletta in fourth place.


Quick goals from Edward Herrera and Mislav Andelkovic between the 16th and 18th minutes put Birkirkara in a strong position.


The game looked as good as over when Gżira United defender Souleymane Diamoutene was sent off for denying striker Santiago Malano a goalscoring opportunity but Gżira set up a tense finale after Cohen scored from the penalty spot seven minutes from time.


The penalty was given after Birkirkara playmaker Srdjan Dimitrov stopped Ian Azzopardi’s header with his hands.


A straightforward 4-0 victory over Mosta eased the pressure on Floriana who snapped a run of three games without a win.


Leading 1-0 at half-time thanks to Ignacio Varela’s strike, the Greens sealed their win in the second half. Sebastian Nayar converted a penalty, given for a foul by Mosta goalkeeper Yenz Cini on Mario Fontanella, to open his account for Floriana six minutes into the second half, Maurizio Vella made it 3-0 midway through and Ryan Camenzuli rounded the scoring late on.


Mosta, who had striker Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza making his bow, were hit hard by the early dismissal of Cameroonian winger Njongo Priso.


Another Cameroonian player, Raphael Kooh Sohna, caught the attention for the right reasons after scoring on his debut for Pembroke Athleta. The former Gżira United and Valletta striker hit the target six minutes from time to cancel out Frank Temile’s opener for Sliema Wanderers.


The Blues lost midfielder Mark Scerri to injury after just 10 minutes.

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