Balzan found their scoring touch in the second half as they hit eight goals to beat Naxxar 8-0.

Naxxar’s cause was not helped by the first-half dismissal of goalkeeper Luke Pecorella. He was sent off for a foul on Alfred Effiong that led to Pedrinho effectively wrapping up the points from the spot before half-time.

The second half was exhibition stuff as Lydon Micallef completed his hat-trick with another dazzling display of attacking football that ensured of bridging the gap with Valletta in just three points, albeit the latter have a game in hand.

On their part, Naxxar were again on the receiving end of a heavy defeat and Clive Mizzi must now go back to the drawing board to lift up the spirits of the Lions ahead of a crucial end of the season.

Balzan opened the scoring eight minutes from half-time, Paul Fenech slipped the ball towards Alfred Effiong complimented the move with a fine shot that bent viciously away from Pecorella’s despairing dive and enabled his colleagues to control the proceedings more comfortably.

With half-time looming, Effiong chased a long ball by Fenech. He avoided the despairing challenge of Pecorella but the goalkeeper reacted by bringing the striker down, giving referee Philip Farrugia, an easy decision to send him off and awarded Balzan a penalty. Pedrinho blasted the ball low into the right bottom corner, whizzing past replacement goalkeeper Alberto Gallinetta for a 2-0 half-time lead.

There was only one team on the pitch now as Naxxar were unable to stem the tide that was threatening to sweep them off their feet.

The inevitable third goal could not be delayed when Kaljevic picked up the ball from the overlapping Grioli and pulled it back for Micallef to shoot low into the corner.

Balzan extended their lead again with a devastating attack on the hour mark. Pedrinho cutting the ball back towards Vujacic who flicked home from close range. Olivier Spiteri’s troops soon made it 5-0 when Effiong lifted the net with a shot on the run.

There was no reprieve for the confused Naxxar. Micallef gathered a through ball from substitute Alan Souza da Silva, rounded the goalkeeper before powering a shot into the vacant goal.

Balzan’s onslaught continued. They struck their seventh goal and Vujacic his second. Profiting from a long pass from Valero Serrano Valero, the striker rifled past the goalkeeper. In the 76th minute, the Montenegrin player turned provider as Micallef completed his hat-trick with an easy tap-in.

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