The Malta Independent 15 November 2018, Thursday

Champions Hibernians show true mettle to lift Super Cup for a third time

Wednesday, 12 August 2015, 22:30 Last update: about 4 years ago

Hibernians 2

Birkirkara  1

 

Hibernians: J. Borg, R. da Gracia Gomes, J. Lima, R. Soares, M. Dias (J. Santos Silva), A. Cohen (J. Bezzina), B. Kristensen, C. Failla, A. Agius, G. Da Silva Ribeiro (J. Pearson), J. Da Silva Pereira.

Birkirkara: J. Haber, J. Zerafa, Z. Muscat, N. Vukanac, M. Latini Mazzetti, P. Fenech, R. Muscat (JQ Barros), R. Camenzuli (E. Murga), E. Marcelina, F. Miccoli, V. Plut.

Referee: M. Borg.

Asst refs: E. Spiteri, S. Attard.

Additional asst. referees: A. Mario Sant, T. Farrugia Cann

Reserve asst referee: David Castillo.

4th official: F. Zammit.

Scorers: F. Miccoli, Z. Muscat (og), J. Lima,

Yellow cards: C. Failla, A. Cohen, M. Latini Mazzetti, G. da Silva Ribeiro, N. Vukanac, J. Zerafa,

Attendance: 4,038

 

Henry Brincat

 

Champions Hibernians lifted the Super Cup yesterday evening after coming from behind to beat Birkirkara 2-1 with all the goals being scored in the first half.

It was the third time that Hibs won this Cup – the first major honour of the new season.

And it was a deserved victory for the Paolites. They ended the first half on top after a balanced 45 minutes, but were decisively better in the second half, when Birkirkara goalie Haber saved his side from a humiliating defeat with some great saves.

As already said, play was more or less balanced in the first half.

But the Stripes failed to live up to expectations after their early season promise in the Europa League matches against FC Ulisses and West Ham.

It was a surprise to see Paul Fenech, Rowen Muscat and Fabrizio Miccoli in the starting line-up after Italian coach Giovanni Tedesco said the previous day that all three were highly doubtful starters, giving the impression that they had already been ruled out of the game!

On the other hand, Hibernians seemed to be a steadier side and despite falling behind to an early goal, they showed their true character, retaliating quickly to score an equaliser and later also taking the lead before the end of the first half.

The Paolites appeared livelier on the ball with Jorge Pereira and Marcelo Dias giving the Birkirkara defence a very hectic time. Moreover, Gomes and Soares were outstanding at the back never allowing Miccoli to have a real pot at goal, apart from that corner which resulted in Birkirkara’s goal.

 

In the second half, it was a completely different story. The Paolites started dominating and were clearly in command as Birkirkara’s midfield left much to be desired.

In fact, had it not been for goalie Haber’s great saves, the Paolites’ win would have been much more comfortable.

The match had a quiet start as both teams sized each other up.

But in the 12th minute, Birkirkara threatened seriously through a Miccoli freekick which was deviated wide of the upright, to a corner from which the Stripes took the lead.

It was Miccoli, as usual, who took the corner and his swerving effort deceived goalie Borg to end over the line before the young goalie could push it out into play.

In the 17th minute, it was almost 1-1 had it not been for a superb save by Justin Haber off a Failla freekick from 25 metres – a save which earned the applause of all those present.

The Stripes again threatened on 27 minutes when a Plut dangerous cross was cleared to safety in time by Soares before a Birkirkara striker could connect.

In the 29th minute, Hibs managed to find the Birkirkara net through Jorge Pereira, but the point was disallowed because of an offside infringement.

Two minutes later, it was 1-1. Hibs earned a corner which was taken by the usual Failla. From his cross, the ball ended at the back of the net off a Zach Muscat header – a classic own goal.

A few moments later, at the other end, from a Miccoli freekick it was Plut headed over the bar from an ideal position.

Hibs replied on 38 minutes through a Gilmar Ribeiro shot being blocked to a corner. Moments later, the Paolites took the lead. From a Failla freekick, it was Jackson Lima who rose above friend and foe to head home– his header probably hitting Mazzetti’s back before going over Birkirkara goalie Haber and into the net.

The second half started with a Miccoli freekick being easily saved by Borg and a Jackson Lima effort which ended well wide of the target.

In the 49th minute, Haber was the great protagonist as Gilmar Ribeiro came face to face with him, but the Stripes goalie managed to block miraculously to corner, avoiding what appeared to be a certain goal.

In the 61st minute, it was Kristensen who tested Haber with a shot from the edge of the area, but the goalie responded in style, turning the ball to corner.

The Stripes were completely subdued and never responded until the 87th minute, when Spanish substitute Barros set Miccoli, only for the Italian to lift his effort well over the bar.

In added time, it was again Miccoli who tried his luck for the Stripes, but his freekick sailed harmlessly over the post.

Near the end, Hibs should have assured themselves with a third goal. With goalie Haber up with his players in the Hibs area for a corner, the ball was cleared upfield and Gomes went near the corner flag to cross to Kristensen, one of four completely unmarked players, but his shot was blocked by the goalie. Then two subsequent shots were blocked on the line by Birkirkara defenders as goalie Haber was still out of position.

At the end of the match, MFA president Norman Darmanin Demajo presented the Cup to Hibernians skipper Andrew Cohen to the delight of the Paolites’ supporters.

Photos Michael Camilleri

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