The Malta Independent 19 October 2019, Saturday

BOV Premier League: Back to winning ways for Paolites as Senglea taste first defeat

Simon Farrugia Saturday, 21 September 2019, 19:55 Last update: about 27 days ago
Photos: Jonathan Bugeja
Photos: Jonathan Bugeja

Hibernians               2
Senglea A.                1

Hibernians.: M. Jovicic, T. Tabone Desira, F. Apap, J. Mbong, J. Grech (M. Calleja Cremona 60'), T. Groothusen (C. Atsina 67'), B. Kristensen, D. Vella, G. Izquier, A. Agius, L. Nanni (L.Barbosa 73')

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Senglea A.: A. Curmi, S. Olberkis, E. Sakyi, L. Grech, M. Micallef, T. Marukawa, J. Teixeira, J. Tanti (W. Zamble 46'), M. Todorovic (A. Spiteri 79'), D. Xuereb (S. Cipriott 86'), M. Dias

Referee: Stefan Pace

Asst refs: Thomas Debono, Duncan Spencer

4th official: Daniel Portelli

Yellow Cards: Dias, Zamble,  Olberkis, Grech

Red Card: Jovicic (Hibernians)

Scorers: Nanni 8', Groothusen 27', Teixeira 62'

BOV Player of the Match:   T. Marukawa (Senglea A.)  

TMI Best Players: 1.  T. Marukawa            2.    J. Teixeira               3.  M. Calleja Cremona  

Hibernians bounced back after last week's defeat against Sirens when they defeated Senglea  by the odd goal in three to inflict on the Cottonera outfit their first defeat of the campaign.

The Paolites had drawn against Gudja in their first outing and grabbed an easy win at the expense of neighbours Tarxien. On the other hand Senglea were still unbeaten prior to this match with wins against Birkirkara and Mosta and a draw against Sirens.

Hibernians held the edge in the first half and were more clinical in front of goal with their opponents Senglea also having their moments but failing to have the desired punch to convert. In fact for the second half coach Mario Muscat drafted Zamble instead of Tanti and this move paid dividends.

Hibernians took the lead as early as the 8th minute when off a Jake Grech free kick in came Italian striker Leonardo Nanni whose low drive found the net.

Senglea's reaction was an immediate one and on 12 minutes Leighton Grech's cross found Jan Tanti but the latters shot hit the crossbar and from the rebound Teixeira's headed effort was cleared by Apap.

And in the 24th minute a good run by Sakyi ended with his shot sailing just over the bar.  Two minutes later Hibernians responded through Groothusen but his shot was turned onto a corner.

But the Dutch striker was not to be denied just a  minute later when he received a long ball from Dunstan Vella and from just inside the area fired a fierce shot which gave Curmi no chance at all.

On resumption Senglea were the first to have a sight of goal when an low drive from the left side by Teixiera missed by a whisker. The Paolites were reduced to ten man just off the hour when goalkeeper Jovicic was given the marching orders for a foul on Zamble who was going to find himself free to score.  In the process Andre Agius was injured and it took some time for the Hibernians defender to gain consciousness.

And from the resultant free kick Senglea reduced the gap when Teixeira's well taken low shot found the corner of the net. This was the best moment for Senglea who were unlucky not to draw level just two minutes later when off a Leighton Grech cross a Marukawa volley was turned by Calleja Cremona onto the upright.

Senglea kept piling on the pressure and in the 65th minute Marukawa was once again in the thick of action only for his shot from inside the area being saved once again by an alert Calleja Cremona.

Fifteen minutes from the end Marukawa twisted and turned on the left and crossed towards Zamble but the striker's effort was saved by Calleja Cremona. And on 77 minutes a deflected shot by Sakyi was turned onto a corner by the Hibernians goalkeeper.

Though Senglea increased their tempo in the final moments they failed to break a stubborn Hibernians defence and thus succumbed to their first defeat of the season.

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