Malta Football Association
Resilient Valletta beat Balzan to keep double bid alive
Apr 30, 2018
Posted in:
Cups & Competitions

Valletta kept their double bid alive after coming from a goal down to beat Balzan 2-1 and secure a place in the final of the BOOST Diesel FA Trophy.

The champions showed admirable resilience as they overcame the dismissal of Steve Borg and a one-goal deficit to set up a KO showdown with Birkirkara on Saturday.


Valletta dictated proceedings in the early stages. 


In the 15th minute, Miguel Angel Alba’s free-kick was stopped by Balzan goalkeeper Sean Mintoff. 


The Balzan goalkeeper repelled an effort from Kyrian Nwoko effort. 


It was all Valletta in these initial stages.


Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre had an attempt cleared away by Michael Johnson while on 28 minutes, Raed Ibrahim Saleh headed wide from Miguel Alba’s free-kick. 


Valletta threatened again when a rising shot by Piciollo crashed against the crossbar 11 minutes from half-time.


The feeling that Valletta’s failure to translate their first-half pressure into goals might return to haunt them increased four minutes into the second half.


Defender Borg was sent off after earning a second booking for pulling Carlos De Fiori Mendes.


Borg’s dismissal boosted Balzan’s confidence as the Reds took the initiative.


Bojan Kaljevic sent a through-ball to Alfred Effiong who stayed on his feet despite Juan Cruz Gill’s close attentions but the Malta striker curled his shot wide.


A minute later, Alex da Paixao Alves made headway on the right before dragging the ball back to Milos Lepovic whose dangerous effort was cleared away for a corner.


Midway into the second half, Balzan opened the scoring.


Effiong’s low strike was parried away by Bonello but Alves was on hand to stab the ball home at the far post.


With 11 minutes left, Valletta equalised.


They were awarded a penalty after substitute Ryan Fenech was adjudged to have pushed Saleh inside the box.


Denni Rocha dos Santos, who had also come on as a substitute, beat Mintoff from the spot.




Three minutes later, Valletta scored the winner.


Saleh advanced on the right before releasing Matteo Piciollo who cut into the box before unleashing an angled drive that soared above Mintoff and into the net.


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