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Birkirkara bounce back to winning ways after overcoming neighbours Balzan

Andrei Ciolacu scores Birkirkara's third goal against Balzan. Photo: Darrin Zammit Lupi

BALZAN                   0

BIRKIRKARA         3

Yankam 16; Ciolacu 31 pen., 47

BALZAN

D. Golovic; I. Bozovic, M. Raso, S. Arab, L. Souza, R. Michibuchi, N. Braunovic (46 A. Prates), T. Caruana (46 P. Fenech), A. Andrejic (46 A. Katanic), J. Grech (67 B. Hili), P. Olawale (46 O. Awosanya).

BIRKIRKARA

M. Zapytowski; D. Mariani, J. Pajovic, E. Pepe, K. Zammit (72 M. Gambin), P. Mbong (87 M. De Filippis), E. Pena (87 N. Cross), S. Zibo, A. Diakite, Y. Yankam (79 M. Durisic), A. Ciolacu (72 A. Satariano).

Referee Philip Farrugia.

Yellow cards Souza, Pepe, Pajovic, Arab, Braunovic, Olawale, Hili.

BOV Player of the Match Andrei Ciolacu (Birkirkara).

Birkirkara bounced back to winning ways after dispatching of Balzan in the early kick-off game on Sunday.

The Stripes were at the back of a 2-0 defeat at the hands of Mosta last week and were eyeing the three points to keep track of the top three positions.

Led by Giovanni Tedesco, the current FA Trophy champions put on a strong display securing a well-deserved victory over a lacklustre Balzan side.

Birkirkara have now joined Marsaxlokk on 10 points in third place, pipping Balzan who remain on nine after six outings.

For Oliver Spiteri’s side, this was a disappointing display following last weekend’s precious win over Hibernians.

In what was a nervy first half, Birkirkara forged ahead through midfielder Yannick Yankam when he found the net from close-range after a set-piece situation.

Balzan did not muster an immediate reaction, with Giovanni Tedesco’s Birkirkara threatening from more set-pieces in search of a second goal in this game.

In fact, it was the Stripes who scored the game’s second through forward Andrei Ciolacu who converted from the penalty spot after Enmy Pena Beltre was floored by Balzan’s Triston Caruana.

Balzan squandered a brilliant opportunity to cut the deficit when Leonardo Souza lifted his effort over the bar from inside the small area.

Trailing by two goals and another 45 minutes to play for, Balzan’s coach Oliver Spiteri made a bold move by making four substitutions to bolster his side.

However, Balzan’s comeback plans were immediately handed a heavy blow when Birkirkara extended their lead through another Ciolacu goal who profited from a mistake at the back and slotted into an empty net.

Yankam tried his luck in search for Birkirkara’s fourth but his long-range effort went wide from Golovic’s goal.

Balzan’s reply came from Jake Grech but the former Hibernians midfielder could not direct his close-range shot towards goal as he missed the target.

Birkirkara almost struck a fourth through substitute Matteo Gambin who made a good incursion from the left side before seeing his low drive glance past Golovic’s goal.

Mbong and Ali Diakite recorded efforts towards Golovic’s goal as well as Birkirkara continued to dominate proceedings in the final stages of the match while preserving their three-goal lead.

In the final stages of the game, Souza threw a couple of efforts towards Marcel Zapytowski’s goal but Birkirkara had already done enough to clinch the three points.

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