Connect with us


Second-half goals sink Balzan in Conference League first leg against Neman Grodno

Paul Fenech controls the ball for Balzan.


Savitski 54

Karpovich 85

BALZAN                  0

NEMAN GRODNO K. Rudzenok; S. Karpovich, I. Sadaunichy, Y. Parkhlomenko, Y. Pantia, R. Paparyha (77 A. Vasilyev), A. Sukurov, M. Kozlov (85 A. Legchilin), O. Evdokimov (74 M. Yablonski), P. Savitski (77 A. Yakimov), Y. Zubovich (85 M. Krautsou).

BALZAN D. Golovic; I. Bozovic, M. Raso, N. Braunovic, S. Arab, R. Michibuchi, P. Fenech (87 M. Grima), J. Grech, N. Zerjal, P. Olawale, A. Torres.

Referee Ivar Kristjansson (Iceland FA).

Yellow cards Olawale, Sadaunichy, Pantia, Parkhomenko.

A second-half brace by Neman Grodno propelled the Belarussian side to a 2-0 victory over Balzan in the first leg of the second qualifying game on Wednesday.

Paul Fenech captained a Balzan side that had central defender Andre Prates absent following his sending-off in last week’s second-leg tie against Domzale.

Ryohey Michibuchi and Nikola Zerjal were given the nod, replacing Triston Caruana and Aleksa Andrejic who started in the previous game.

The Belarussian team, on their part, were featuring in their first ever second round appearance of a European competition having eliminated Vaduz in the first round.

Neman Grodno vs Balzan match statistics. Image: Sofascore

Neman Grodno recorded the first chance of the game with Yegar Zubovich missing the target inside the opening 15 minutes.

The Belarus representatives were looking to follow up that chance with more goal-scoring opportunities but despite dictating proceedings, they failed to make the most of it.

Their next chance, a decent one, was produced from the feet of Oleg Evdomikov but his close-range shot was denied by Balzan’s Danilo Golovic.

Balzan tested Neman’s goalkeeper on the 38th minute when an Angel Torres’ long-range freekick was destined into the net just for Konstantin Rudzenok to divert into a corner just in time.

The hosts replied through a Zubovich header but once again, Golovic was alert to avert the danger and preserve the goalless stalemate.

Five minutes from half-time, Balzan’s forward Peter Olawale latched onto a neat through ball but rushed his decision, trying to beat Neman’s goalkeeper from a tight angle.

At the break, Balzan made one change with Andrejic coming on for Zerjal, the former having the opportunity to instantly find the net but he missed the target.

Moments later, the Belarus team had an effort that sailed over the bar produced by Roman Paparyha from the left-hand side.

On the 54th minute, Neman managed to break the deadlock. Pavel Savitski saw a first attempt blocked by Balzan’s backline before sending his rebound to the far post where Golovic could not reach to put his side one up.

On the hour mark, midfielder Triston Caruana was sent into the mix, replacing Michibuchi as Balzan were looking to win the midfield battle.

Balzan started to inch their way up the field with Torres having another opportunity, but once again the Reds failed to level terms.

Twenty minutes from time, Jake Grech had a long-distance effort sailing over the bar before coach Spiteri replaced Olawale with Manyualek Aguek in search of some inspiration in the final third.

The Australian forward almost scored with his first touch of the ball but could not capitalise from the small area. Nonetheless, the game’s next goal was scored by Neman with Sergei Karpovich making the most of a turnover to beat Golovic from inside the area.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


World Cup News


More in Football