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Watch: Impressive Balzan in charge after stunning win over Domzale in Conference League

DOMZALE       1

Kovacevic 57 pen.

BALZAN           4

Andrejic 8; Grech 43 pen.

Olawale 53; Zerjal 90


G. Tratnik, M. Mutavcic, A. Nwankwo, A. Duric, J. Dapo, B. Markus, D. Sturm (58 L. Topalovic), Z. Repas, E. Julardzija (46 J. Pisek) (64 J. Husmani), F. Kovacevic, M. Krstovski.


D. Golovic, I. Bozovic, S. Arab, T. Caruana, P. Fenech (61 R. Michibuchi), A. Torres, P. Olawale (71 M. Aguek), J. Grech, N. Braunovic, M. Raso, A. Andrejic.

Refereee Paul McLaughlin (Ireland).

Yellow cards: Grech, Braunovic, Andreijic, Duric.

Red card: Husmani (D) 88.

Balzan have put themselves in a strong position to progress to the second qualifying round of the UEFA Conference League when they stunned NK Domzale, of Slovenia, and secured a 4-1 away win.

It was without doubt a memorable night for Balzan FC who arguably produced their best performances in European football as they outplayed their more-quoted opponents throughout their match.

In fact, once Aleksa Andreijic put the Maltese side ahead, there was no way back for the home side who conceded two more goals until the hour through a penalty conversion from Jake Grech and Peter Owomela.

Domzale did pull a goal back with 30 minutes to go but Balzan managed to administer their lead to take a commanding advantage for next week’s second leg.

Oliver Spiteri, the Balzan coach, handed a debut to four close-season signings as goalkeeper Danilo Golovic started in goal while Triston Caruana and Jake Grech were deployed in midfield while upfront Peter Olawale partnered Aleksa Andreijic.

Balzan took the lead after seven minutes of play when Aleksa Andrijic connected to Angel Torres cross and his first effort was somehow kept out by NK Domzale goalkeeper Gasper Tratnik but from the rebound, the Serbian was quick to fire the ball into the net.

Andreijic almost struck again soon after but this time his effort was blocked by Domzale goalkeeper Tratnik.

Rocked by this setback, Domzale tried to hit back but only had a Ziga Repas’ long-range shot that was blocked in two attempts by goalkeeper Danilo Golovic.

From then on, Domzale dominated possession but they found the going tough to breach the solid Balzan defence.

Instead, it was Balzan who came close to double their lead just past the half-hour mark, when Jake Grech picked up a short rebound and fired a rasping volley that just missed the upright with the Maribor goalkeeper well beaten.

Balzan threatened again with another fast transition on 40 minutes, when Angel Torres raced clear but his shot from the edge of the area flew over.

But the Maltese side were not to be denied as three minutes from the break, Triston Caruana was upended inside the area by Domzale midfielder Markus and from the spot Jake Grech made no mistake to score his first goal for Balzan since his summer transfer.

Domzale started the second half strongly and Andrej Duric unleashed a powerful drive from the edge of the area that just missed the upright.

But it was Balzan who delivered the goods once more on 53 minutes when Olawale latched to a Jake Grech delivery from a corner-kick and the Nigerian sent a firm header past Tratnik.

However, the home side were handed a lifeline three minutes later when Torres inexplicably tackled Repas inside the area, and from the spot Franko Kovaceivc made no mistake from the spot.

Domzale almost scored a second on the hour mark but Abraham Nwanwko incredibly headed over with only Golovic to beat.

Twenty minutes from time, Spiteri was forced to replace Olawale, who picked up a knock, and roped in Manyluak Aguek.

Frustration crept into the Domzale clan as two minutes from time Zeni Husmali was shown a straight red card for hitting Balzan goalkeeper Golovic in an off-the-ball incident.

Balzan took full advantage of their numerical advantage as in stoppage time they added a fourth goal.

Torres did well to move past his marker and pick substitute Nikola Zerjal who stabbed home to seal a memorable night for Balzan.


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