Champions Balzan make winning start
The FMA Futsal Premier League continued last week with champions Balzan launching their title defence with an easy 8-2 win over Luxol St Andrews.
Luxol, under the guidance of former Paola Downtown (now Hibs) coach Simone Montagno, fielded a relatively new side.
Balzan, who won the Super Cup on the eve of the first futsal league under the recently-formed FMA’s umbrella, are regarded as strong contenders to repeat last season’s title success.
Alexander Ribic was outstanding for Balzan but the player of the match was Jose da Silva, the Luxol goalkeeper, who produced an excellent performance.
In the other top-flight matches, title hopefuls Lija, Żejtun and Floriana cruised to straightforward victories over Sliema, Valletta and Ħamrun Spartans respectively.
Andy Mangion gave Floriana an early lead but Ħamrun levelled from a penalty. But the Greens, one of three teams that field only Maltese players, took control of the game with Kurt Bartolo hitting the final goal in an 8-2 victory for his side.
This was the second consecutive defeat for Ħamrun, who are led by former Malta striker Stefan Sultana.
Valletta also suffered their second straight loss, this time at the hands of Żejtun Corinthians.
Captain Jesmond Caruana was inspirational for Żejtun who built a strong lead early in the game.
The Citizens did make a reaction in the second half, pulling back two goals, but Żejtun kept their composure to win 6-2.
Lija Athletics extended their positive start with an 8-0 rout of Sliema.
For all their efforts, George Mallia and his Sliema team-mates could do very little to cope with Lija’s pressure as Jovica Milijic turned in another influential performance.
The attention of the futsal followers now turns to this evening’s classic encounter between champions Balzan and Hibernians at Corradino.
Both teams will be going all out to consolidate their position in the upper part of the table but mostly to lift their morale ahead of the rest of the season.
Corradino Pavilion (Today): 19.45 Balzan vs Hibernians; 21.15 Tarxien Rainbows vs St Andrews.
(Friday): 20.00 Floriana vs Lija Athletic; 21.30 Żejtun Corinthians vs Sliema Wanderers.