Grech 15 pen
Birkirkara opened the new campaign on a fine note after they needed a Jake Grech first half penalty to overcome Balzan 1-0 at the National Stadium.
The Stripes' all important goal arrived on 15 minutes when Justin Grioli was judged to have fouled Thiago De Brito inside the area and from the spot Grech made no mistake.
Balzan should have drawn level a minute later when Kaljevic did the impossible when driving the ball widefrom underneath the crossbar, with the goalkeeper already beaten.
Balzan continued to show the better ideas and on 24 minutes a Milos Lepovic drive from 30 metres finished high and wide.
Balzan continued to push men forward and on 28 minutes a Grioli cross fell into the path of Effiong, with the Malta striker seeing his effort deflected by Chapoval who cleared the danger.
In the second half wa Grioli drive from outside the box was fumbled by Naumovski with the ball somehow finishing for a corner.
On 62 minutes the Birkirkara custodian made up for such an error when he brilliantly turned awar for a corner a Lepovic firm drive from the edge of the area.
Balzan tried their best to draw level but the Stripes were well organised at the back with last season’s runners up never troubling the Stripes custodian.
To make matters worse for Balzan, substitute Riccardo Correa was sent-off for dissent two minutes into injury time.
Jake Grech was voted as the BOV Player of the match.
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