The Malta Independent 21 March 2019, Thursday

BOV Premier League: Hibernians’ second half comeback not enough to beat inspired Wanderers

Chris Cassar Tuesday, 12 March 2019, 21:09 Last update: about 8 days ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Hibernians-Sliema W      2-2

Hibernians: M. Jovicic, D. Vella, N. Radojevic, M. Leandro Barbosa, J. Mbong, J. Grech, B. Kristensen, M. Dias (A. tardini 83’), M. Sahanek, A. Agius, T. Fonseca (T. Tabone Desira 90’).

Sliema W: T. Aquilina, M. Muchardi, K. Shaw, J. Mintoff (K. Amehi 75’), I. Varela, R. Fenech (J. Pearson 85’), N. Ashong, M. Sansone, C. Pani, S. Bianciardi, Y. Marzouk

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Referee: Fyodor Zammit

Ass.referees: Roberto Vella, Duncan Sultana

Fourth official: Malcolm Spiteri

Scorers: I. Varela 21’, Y. Marzouk 41’, J. Mbong 53’, J. Grech 68’ pen

Yellow cards:  T. Fonseca, J. Grech, N. Radojevic, J. Mintoff, Y. Marzouk

Red card:  N. Radojevic 86’

Player of the match: Ryan Fenech (Sliema W)

Hibernians made a great comeback in the second half to salvage a point against the in-form Wanderers yesterday. The result means that Hibernians can lose their leadership this evening if champions Valletta manage to beat Mosta.

Sliema were the better team in the first half taking their opponents by surprise and taking a deserved two-goal advantage, with the second goal scored by Marzouk a real beauty.

In the second half however Hibernians were a transformed side taking the game in control and after obtaining the equalizer, even went close a dramatic winner but Fonseca's shot finished against the crossbar.

Sliema were more on the ball in the opening minutes as the league leaders were outnumbered in midfield. Ryan Fenech and Marzouk combined well but the latter's effort was off target.

On 21 minutes Sliema broke the deadlock when from a corner action, Fenech crossed low towards Ignacio Varela who shot low into the net from close range. Hibernians tried a timid reaction but were rather erratic and the Sliema defence withstood the pressure. Andrei Agius

Sliema were menacing in their breaks with Mintoff and Marzouk very effective on the flanks. Hibernians had an opportunity on 28 minutes but Sahanek blasted high from an ideal position. Four minutes later Aquilina saved a Jake Grech low angled shot.

On 41 minutes Sliema doubled the score when Younes Marzouk scored a gem of a goal from an almost impossible distance, with a lob that completely deceived the Hibs custodian. The Hibs goalkeeper made amends minutes later when he made a great save off a Ryan Fenech low shot.

Just before the break, the Paolites had an opportunity to pull one back, but Fonseca hesitated, giving time for the Sliema rearguard to close the gap.

Hibernians started the second half on the offensive and the Sliema goalkeeper Aquilina made a great save off a close range shot from Fonseca. Hibernians were now a different lot and on 53 minutes Joseph Mbong scored a great goal with a shot on the turn that gave Aquilina no chance to save.

Minutes later a Sahanek drive missed the base of the upright by a whisker. The match was now an open contest and Fonseca hit the side netting for an ideal position. On 68 minutes Hibernians drew level when Jake Grech made his way inside the area but was tripped by goalkeeper Aquilina, and from the resultant penalty the same Grech easily slotted home sending Aquilina the wrong way.

Hibernians even went close a complete turn-around when a Fonseca drive finished against the crossbar. In the remaining minutes both sides went all out for victory with Sliema missing a glorious chance through Marzouk who was denied by Jovicic.

Hibernians finished the match with ten men when Radojevic received a second booking on 86 minutes. 

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