The Malta Independent 23 July 2019, Tuesday

BOV Premier League: Hibs turn defeat into victory with late goals from Marcolino and Agius

Henry Brincat Friday, 5 April 2019, 21:03 Last update: about 5 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Birkirkara    2
Hibernians   3

Birkirkara: A. Hogg, D. Chapoval, M. Andelkovic, M. Vella, L. Montebello, J. Bezzina, C. Failla (K. Zammit 65), E. Ferreira, N. Vukanac, C. Attard (T. Souza 79), J. Pereira (M. Mifsud 65)

Hibernians: M. Jovicic, D. Vella, N. Radojevic, M. Barbosa (M. Sahanek 52), J. Mbong, J. Grech, B. Kristensen, I. Ntow, T. Marcolino (T. Tabone Desira 90), A. Agius, T. Fonseca

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Referee: AM Sant

Asst refs: E. Spiteri, M. Scerri

4th official: S. Pace.

Scorers: L. Montebello 3, T. Fonseca 43, C. Failla 47 pen., T. Marcolino 84, A. Agius 89

Yellow cards: J. Mbong 29, M. Andelkovic 33, J. Pereira 34, C. Attard 69, I. Ntow 86

BoV Player of the Match: M. Vella

TMI Top 3: 1. L. Montebello, 2. T. Marcolino, 3. M. Vella

Attendance: 609

Two late strikes from Taylon Marcolino and Andrei Agius enabled Hibs to turn a 1-2 deficit into a 3-2 win against a sturdy Birkirkara side.

Birkirkara had taken the lead with early goals in both halves while the Paolites had temporarily equalised near the end of the first half.

The victory sent Hibernians to the top of the table, two points ahead of Valletta, who can return to the top spot tomorrow if they beat Gzira.

It was a return to victory for Hibernians who had been held to draws in their previous three matches.

For the Stripes, this was a setback to their hopes of finishing 4th. Though not everything is lost yet, however, they are now in sixth place with Sliema 4th and Hamrun 5th ahead of the latter's match today against Senglea.

Birkirkara paraded four former Hibs players in their starting formation - Andrew Hogg, Clayton Failla, Johan Bezzina and Jorge Pereira.

On their part, Hibernians had two former Birkirkara players among their ranks - Jake Grech and Andrei Agius.

The match had a dramatic start as Birkirkara took an early third minute lead.

From then on, it was very lively with the Paolites reacting strongly and hitting the post before saves from both goalies at either end which kept the score 1-0 for the Stripes. It was only near the end of the half that the Paolites finally scored a deserved equaliser.

On the whole, Birkirkara appeared to be better organised at the back where Chapoval and Vukanac were in command of the central approaches until they suffered the equaliser.

On their part, Hibernians were a sort of disappointment having a good number of passes going astray at some opportune moments which they should have availed of much better.

In the second half, Birkirkara again took the lead early from a penalty and after that it was Hibs who assaulted the Stripes fort.

But the Stripes appeared more composed and sharper in their attacks, although they collapsed in the final seven minutes when they suffered the two goals which saw Hibs emerging triumphant from a match which they never appeared to be going to end in a victory for them.

Birkirkara had a perfect start when after only three minutes they had already taken the lead. It was Luke Montebello who forced his way into the Hibs area, only to be foiled by a Hibs defender. The ball went to Mauricio Vella who returned it to Montebello. This time the Stripes striker managed to find the net with a strong shot.

Hibs' reply arrived on eight minutes when Marcolino forced goalie Hogg into a diving save to corner.

Three minutes later, they were unlucky not to have equalised when Marcolino saw his great effort hitting the crossbar and from the rebound, the same player hit wide of the target.

In the 19th minute, Birkirkara threatened seriously again as Vella set Montebello who entered the area unhindered only to see his effort being blocked to a corner by goalie Jovicic.

On 35 minutes, Mbong tried his luck with a long distance effort which went harmlessly over the bar.

On 41 minutes Jake Grech made the most of a bad Ferreira pass to set colleague Tiago Fonseca, but the latter's shot was saved by Hogg.

A minute later Hibs equalised. It was Jake Grech who served Fonseca with a low cross, and the latter's flick went past goalie Hogg.

Birkirkara were again in the lead on the 47th minute. In a fast Stripes move, goalie Jovicic partially saved a Bezzina effort , and in the follow up, Radojevic floored Jorginho in the area. Referee Sant had no doubt in awarding the Stripes a penalty. From the spotkick, it was Clayton Failla who beat Jovicic with a splendid shot.

On 63 minutes, Vella advanced to the Hibs area, but his effort went wide. A minute later, Jovicic had to dive sideways to save a Jorginho shot.

On 72 minutes, Hibs went close to an equaliser when from a Kristensen cross, a Jake Grech shot was turned to corner by Hogg.

In the 77th minute, it was substitute Mifsud who served Montebello in the Hibs area, but the latter' shot was saved by Jovicic.

Hibs pressed hard and on 83 minutes it was Hogg who saved the day for the Stripes with a good save off a Marcolino overhead kick. But a minute later, Hogg could do nothing as he was anticipated by the same Marcolino following a cross from the right.

The Paolites fans went into raptures on 89 minutes when they took the lead. From a Sahanek corner, it was Andrei Agius who headed home. That goal meant Hibs were back on top of the standings.

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