Malta Football Association
NEWS:
Balzan draw opens way for Hibs to secure title
Apr 30, 2017
Posted in:
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BOV Premier League
Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

Hibernians could win their 12th championship on Sunday afternoon after Balzan, their nearest pursuers, blew up the chance to pile the pressure on the Paolites following a 1-1 draw against a much-improved Ħamrun Spartans side.


Starting the day two points behind the leaders, Balzan had to win to take the title race down to the wire but they could only manage a draw,

 

The game at the National Stadium began on a flying note for Balzan as Bojan Kaljevic’s free-kick gave them a 13th-minute lead but their joy was shortlived as the Spartans equalised five minutes later.

 

Mathieu Manset scored with a low shot after coming face to face with Balzan goalkeeper Christian Cassar.

 

Two minutes from half-time, Balzan had a great chance to regain the lead as they were awarded a penalty after Sean Cipriott was floored in the box by Ħamrun goalkeeper David Cassar but Kaljevic hit wide from the spot.

 

Gaining in confidence, it was the Spartans who came closest to scoring in the second half but Motta Dos Santos fired wide with only Cassar to beat.

 

The draw left Balzan one point behind Hibernians who will open an unassailable lead at the top if they beat St Andrews on Sunday afternoon.

 

VALLETTA SLUMP

Valletta face an uphill struggle to hold on to third place in the standings after slipping to their second consecutive defeat, losing 2-0 to Tarxien Rainbows.

 

The outgoing champions are now only one point ahead of Birkirkara who will move up to third place if they beat Gżira United on Sunday afternoon.

 

The Rainbows opened the scoring with a brilliant shot from Alex Nilsson on 16 minutes but Valletta had a great chance to equalise nine minutes from half-time. They were given a penalty for Daniel Zerafa’s challenge on Maximiliano Velasco but the Argentine’s chipped effort was well saved by Andrea Cassar.

 

Tarxien all but sealed the issue just past the hour when Alex Alves’s shot was partially saved by Dziugas Bartkus and in came Ebiabowei Baker to steer the ball into the net.

 

In other games, FA Trophy semi-finalists Foriana and Sliema Wanderers obtained identical 2-0 league victories over bottom duo Mosta and Pembroke Athleta respectively.

 

Stefano Bianciardi and Jean Paul Farrugia were on target for Sliema in the second half of their clash with Pembroke while Floriana also left until the final 20 minutes of the second period to see off the challenge of Mosta with goals from Ryan Camenzuli and Mario Fontanella.
 

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