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Balzan share point with Marsaxlokk after goalless draw

Balzan forward Alexander Satariano (right) rises for a header against Marsaxlokk. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier



BALZAN R. Briffa-6, I. Bozovic-6.5, S. Arab-6, M. Grima-6, B. Mladenovic-7 (65 B. Kaljevic), P. Fenech-6.5, A. Satariano-6.5 (86 B. Hili), N. Braunovic-6, M. Raso-6, M. Nogureira-7, A. Andrejic-6.5 (54 A. Torres).

MARSAXLOKK M. Drobnjak-6, A. Attard-6 (71 T. Vella), K. Keqi-7, P. Xuereb-6.5, S. Ferraris-6, J. Cruz Aguilar-5.5 (46 E. Vella-6), O. Carniello-6, L. Aguirre-5.5, R. Scicluna-6, D. Agius-6 (51 V. Sanago), T. Fonseca-6.5.

Referee Daniel Portelli

Yellow cards Aguilar, Carniello, Fenech, Arab, Vella, Braunovic, Kaljevic

BOV Player of the match Alexander Satariano

Balzan and Marsaxlokk had to settle for a point on Sunday at the Centenary Stadium after a goalless draw, a result which benefited neither side after a physical battle throughout the 90 minutes.

Balzan coach Oliver Spiteri made two changes to his side after their victory over Gudja in the previous matchday, Bogdan Mladenovic and Nikola Braunovic starting ahead of Nikola Zerjal and Angel Torres. On the other hand, Marsaxlokk’s Pablo Doffo kept faith in most of his starters despite a 3-0 loss to Gzira United, with Daniel Agius starting in place of Dejan Vukovic as the only change.

The game took a slow start with Balzan having the first real opportunity on 13 minutes when a run into the area by Alexander Satariano led to a short pass to Matheus Nogureira but his effort was parried away by Marsaxlokk goalkeeper Marko Drobnjak.

Nogureira threatened again three minutes later but after dribbling his marker into the area on the left, his final touch was clumsy as the ball drifted above the post.

As the first half progressed, Marsaxlokk struggled to find a way towards goal and with the ball mostly centered in their half, Aleksa Andrejic added to Balzan offensive with a freekick on 27 minutes but once again, the shot went over. 

Marsaxlokk finally had their first opportunity on target right past the half-hour when from a freekick by Daniel Agius, Oscar Carniello tipped the ball in between a crowded area. But Balzan shotstopper Rudy Briffa was alert to collect.

Right before the break, it was Marsaxlokk who went closest to opening the score when a miscommunication in defence left Kristian Keqi all alone as he sped towards goal. Chased by two defenders, the Albanian angled a low shot from distance but the ball went just wide.

Four minutes into the restart, Balzan continued right where they left off with the ball falling into the net past Drobnjak but Nogureira’s effort was annulled for offside.

Marsaxlokk brought on French forward Vamara Sanogo two minutes later to bolster their attack and it nearly paid off immediately when he laid his first touch of the game to Tiago Fonseca but the latter’s shot was blocked by Briffa.

The match fell into a lull as both sides struggled to get into each other’s defensive area, Leandro Aguirre going closest 72 minutes in with a shot from distance that drifted wide off the mark.

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