Qormi stroll past dispirited Balzan
Avila Perez 8 pen, 90 pen; Zarate 13; Thackray 52; Bondin 78 og;
Agius 43; Darmanin 85;
The last time they met, Qormi and Balzan traded eight goals in a 4-4 draw. The goals flowed again yesterday but this time it was Qormi who took the three points after easing past a dispirited Balzan in a meaningless match as both teams have secured their top-flight status.
Both coaches seized the opportunity to give a run-put to some fringe players.
Qormi coach Jesmond Zerafa named youngsters Alessio Cassar and Dylan Pirotta in his initial XI.
Goalkeeper Fredrick Tabone was handed a start by Balzan coach Riccardo Tumiatti while Matthew Camilleri, who has just recovered from a cruciate operation, was among the substitutes.
Tabone was called into action inside the opening two minutes to repel Alfred Effiong’s effort. From the ensuing corner, taken by Cassar, Pirotta’s flick was cleared off the line.
Qormi’s pressure produced a penalty after seven minutes when Effiong was brought down by Stefan Giglio. Moises Avila Perez drilled his shot past Tabone from the spot.
Balzan fell 2-0 down on 13 minutes when Edison Bilbao Zarate arrowed a rising shot into the top corner from the edge of the box.
Balzan showed signs of life in the closing stages of the first half.
Giglio’s free-kick was deflected away for a corner and, from the ensuing flag-kick, Aaron Agius’s cross-cum-shot deceived Farrugia.
Early in the second half, Qormi threatened to restore their two-goal lead. Matthew Bartolo advanced on the right before squaring to Zarate whose point-blank effort was repelled by Farrugia.
It was not long before Qormi scored their third with a Kris Thackray free-kick that took a deflection that wrong-footed Tabone.
Pirotta should have scored after coming one-on-one with the goalkeeper but shot just wide.
Qormi almost got their fourth but Bartolo’s shot was wide while Tabone denied Christian Cassar.
In a rare Balzan foray, Elie Moises N’Dekre supplied a teasing cross but Duncan Pisani cleared away.
Avila Perez further staked his claim for the man-of-the-match award with a curling shot that hit the post.
On 78 minutes, Qormi increased their lead as Bjorn Bondin headed into his own net in an attempt to clear Avila Perez’s free-kick.
Balzan reduced the deficit on 85 minutes, Ryan Darmanin stroking the ball home from Borg’s pass.
Qormi were then awarded their second penalty after substitute Andrew Cassar floored Avila Perez in the box. The Spaniard again made no mistake from the spot as Qormi made it four wins on the trot.
M. Farrugia-5, K. Thackray-7, M. Bartolo-6.5 (82 I. Borg), A. Effiong-6.5 (74 L. Sciberras), M. Avila Perez-8, E. Bilbao Zarate-7, D. Pisani-6.5, J. Bondin-7, A. Cassar-6, C. Cassar-5.5, D. Pirotta-5 (68 L. Grech-5).
F. Tabone-5, A. Agius-5.5, E.M. N’Dekre-4 (75 A. Cassar), B. Bondin-4 (86 S. Bugeja), K. Camilleri-4, C. Caruana-4, R. Darmanin-5.5, R. Forace-5.5, S. Giglio-5, J. Borg-6, M. Mendy-5.
Referee: Chris Lautier.
Yellow cards: Caruana; Sciberras.
BOV player of the match: Moises Avila Perez (Qormi).