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Clinical Gżira United punish Balzan to reclaim third spot

BALZAN          0

GŻIRA UNITED              2

Jefferson 33

Kolega 49


J. Debono-4, S. Arab-5, M. Grima-5 (53 A. Satariano-5), P. Fenech-6, A. Torres-5, N. Zerjal-5, N. Braunovic-5 (82 B. Hili), M. Raso-5, Matheus-5 (65 B. Mladenovic), A. Andreijic-5 (53 C. Ndinga), B. Kaljevic.


D. Zarkov, G. Bohrer, L. Tabone, S. Pisani, Z. Scerri, M. Dias, L. Riascos-7 (72 Ewertton), T. Kolega, M. Cosic, Jefferson, J. Mendoza.

Referee: Fyodor Zammit.

Yellow cards Riascos, Braunovic, Torres.

BOV Player of the match Toni Kolega (Gżira United)

Gżira United revived their hopes of securing a place in European football this summer when they produced a clinical display to overcome rivals Balzan at the National Stadium.

It was far from a comfortable win for the Maroons who had to weather the storm early in the match. But once they took the lead through Jefferson, with the complicity of Balzan goalkeeper Jonathan Debono, they continued to grow in stature and went on to seal the points through Toni Kolega early in the second half.

With this win, Gżira United have now regained third place in the standings on 45 points. But with one match to go the Maroons have still work to do as they need to preserve their placing on the final day of the season as they are just two points ahead of Balzan, Mosta and Hibernians.

It was Balzan who took the ground running and the woodwork denied them the lead.

The clock marked 14 minutes when Angel Torres won a free-kick just outside the area. The Colombian forward picked himself up and let fly a spectacular inswinger that came off the bar with goalkeeper Darijan Zarkov beaten.

Balzan kept pushing forward an on 22 minutes Zarkov had to dive full stretch to keep out Paul Fenech’s long range strike and from the rebound the Croatian goalkeeper was alert to deny Matheus from the rebound.

However, it was Gżira United who were regaled with the opener on 33 minutes.

Jefferson ran to meet a pass inside the area and hit a fierce low shot that goalkeeper Jonathan Debono looked well placed to block but the Balzan custodian let the ball past through his hands and finish into the net.

After that setback, Balzan tried to claw themselves back into the match but they had a couple of efforts from the edge of the area to show that finished well off target.

Gżira United started the second half in some style as they managed to double their lead on 49 minutes.

Marcelo Dias broke through on the right and sent a low cross into the path of Jefferson who left the ball roll for Toni Kolega who had the easiest of tasks to stab the ball into an empty net.

Gżira United continue to show the better ideas and on 70 minutes Debono came to his team’s rescue when he produced a good save to keep out Jackson Mendoza’s shot.

On 72 minutes, Torres managed to find some space on the edge of the Gżira United area but his shot finished over.

Fourteen minutes from time, Debono produced another reflex save when he somehow kept out Jefferson’s header from close distance.

At the other end, it was the turn of Zarkov to pull off a fine save to keep the ball out after Kolega inadvertently deviated the ball towards his own goal.

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