The Malta Independent 17 August 2019, Saturday

BOV Premier League: Paolites join Valletta at the top as Maroons suffer first defeat

Associated Press Sunday, 10 February 2019, 16:04 Last update: about 7 months ago
Photo: Domenic Aquilina
Photo: Domenic Aquilina

Hibernians                 1
Gżira Utd.                   0

Hibernians: M. Jovicic, D. Vella, N. Radojevic, M. Barbosa Da Silveira, J. Mbong, J. Grech (D.Xuereb 83'), J. Degabriele (T.Tabone Desira 89'), B. Kristensen, T. Marcolino (M.Sahanek 69'), A.Agius, T. Fonseca

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Gżira Utd.:  J.Haber, N. Muscat (S. Borg 64'), Z. Scerri, R. Soares, A. Cohen (E. Bilboa Zarate 64'), R. Briffa, G. Conti, J. Mengolo ( J. Domoraud 64'), F. Barbosa Pereira, M. Beerman, H. Garba

Referee: Alan Mario Sant

Asst refs: Edward Spiteri, Roberto Vella

4th official: Malcolm Spiteri

Scorers: J. Grech 38'

Yellow cards: J. Mengolo, G. Conti, B. Kristensen, F. Barbosa Pereira

Red Card: F. Barbosa Pereira

Player of the match:   Jake Grech (Hibernians)

TMI Top 3:  1.  J. Grech         2.    B. Kristensen         3.    J. Haber

Hibernians gained three precious points against Gżira United inflicting the first defeat of the season on the Maroons and practically making the fight for the ultimate prize a two horse race. This win put Hibernians and Valletta six points clear on third placed Gżira.

It was a well deserved win for the Paolites who were the better team with Gżira once again failing to live up to expectations.

This was the  match of the weekend with only three points seperating both teams . The Paolites were coming from a narrow win against Floriana in their last match with their opponents failing to win in their last three outings , drawing against Tarxien, Ħamrun and Sliema.

Hibernians had to do without the suspended Ntow and were led from the bench by assistant coach Ryan Pulis since Sanderra was seeing out his two match ban.  Gżira coach Darren Abdilla opted to start with Juan Corbalan on the bench.

In the first round the Maroons emerged winners by a 3-2 scoreline.

As on 8 minutes Haber came to his side's rescue when he dashed out to anticipate Marcolino who was about to conclude.  Gżira responded six minutes later when Garba played the ball towards Zach Scerri but his conclusion when well positioned went well over the bar.

In the 20th minute Kristensen found some space in the opposing defence setting up Jake Grech but his diagonal shot sailed over the bar. Seven minutes later a clear cut chance for Hibernians. A long ball by Kristensen found Marcolino only for his shot to be blocked by an agile Haber.

And on the half hour Andrei Agius found Jake Grech in the box but his low drive was saved by Haber. Eight minutes from the end of the first half Hibernians borke the deadlock. Mbong sent a cross from the right side with Haber failing to intercept and in came Jake Grech who tapped in from close range.

Gżira reacted immediately and in the 39th minute a shot by Scerri from the edge of the area was palmed into a corner by Jovicic.

But it was Hibernians who could have double the score in first half stoppage time when Degabriele play the ball towards an unmarked Marcolino but his close range shot went over the bar.

In the 56th minute a Radojevic cross shot from the left flank who punched away with some difficulty by goalkeeper Haber. In the 64th minute coach Darren Abdilla made a triple substitution to try and give more strength and have more attacking options.

On 66 minutes off a Jake Grech free kick Agius headed effort was saved by Haber. And two minutes later a Grech shot was saved by Haber. On 82 minutes Hibernians went near when a Kristensen shot missed the target by inches.

A minute from the end Gżira were reduced to ten man when Barbosa Pereira was sent off for a second bookable offence. And deep into stoppage time Soares was denied by Jovicic who tipped his low drive into a corner.

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