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Balzan keep Euro hopes alive with Birkirkara win

Balzan's Angel Torres speeds towards the Birkirkara goal. Photo: Domenic Borg

BALZAN                  2

Andrejic 11 pen.

Sousa 47


Cabrera 34


R. Briffa-6; I. Bozovic-6, S. Arab-6, P. Fenech-6.5, A. Torres-6.5, C. Ndinga-6, A. Satariano-6.5, N. Braunovic-6, M. Raso-6, M. Sousa-6.5 (78 M. Grima), A. Andrejic-6 (78 B. Kaljevic).


G. Nava-6 (58 A. Sylla-6); E. Pepe-6.5, Y. Yankam-6, P. Mbong-6, K. Zammit-6.5, M. Fedele-6 (62 A. Ciolacu), C. Attard-6, E. Cabrera-6.5, S. Zibo-6,  D. Ribeiro-6 (62 A. Alves), K. Tulimieri-6 (58 O. Iorio-6).

Referee Glen Tonna.

Yellow cards Nava, Bozovic, Attard, Ndinga, Ribeiro, Pepe. 

BOV Player of the Match Enzo Cabrera (Birkirkara).

Balzan managed to keep alive their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Europa Conference League after beating Birkirkara at the Tony Bezzina in the season’s finale on Friday.

The Reds finished fifth on 46 points, joint-level with Hibernians and Mosta who also won their final league encounters.

The three teams are still in contention for a spot to represent Malta in the UEFA club competitions next season – Balzan and Hibernians through the fourth place while Mosta can access Europe via an FA Trophy success.

Birkirkara came close to forging ahead inside the first five minutes when Enzo Cabreba was teed up by Yannick Yankam but he fired his close-range effort over the bar.

Balzan replied through Mathias Sousa who failed to capitalise on Alexander Satariano’s low cross from inside the small area.

The Reds were handed a golden opportunity to break the deadlock when Sousa was floored by Birkirkara’s goalkeeper Giacomo Nava. Serbian forward Aleksa Andrejic made no mistake in converting from the penalty spot.

The Stripes staged an immediate reaction with Denis Ribeiro coming close to finding a leveller but failed to make the most from a Kevin Tulimieri’s cross.

Balzan’s Andrejic tried to find a second for his side but his curling effort was blocked by Nava at the half-hour mark.

It was Birkirkara, though, who found the game’s next goal when Cabrera met a well-weighted Matteo Fedele’s corner to beat Rudy Briffa to the far post.

Satariano tried to restore Balzan’s lead but he could not hit the target from long distance.

At the restart, Balzan immediately took the lead for the second time when Sousa fired past Nava from inside the penalty area.

Cabrera tried to equalise for Birkirkara with a header from close range but could not beat goalkeeper Briffa.

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