The Malta Independent 17 November 2019, Sunday

BOV Premier League: Hibs move to joint 4th after hard-earned win over Sliema

Henry Brincat Sunday, 3 November 2019, 18:04 Last update: about 3 days ago
Photos: James Galea
Photos: James Galea

Hibernians: M. Jovicic, T. Tabone Desira, F. Apap, L. Da Silveira, J. Mbong, J. Grech (J. Wemmer 70), D. Vella, G. Izquier, A. Agius, L. Nanni (B. Kristensen 85), I. Iriberri

Sliema: E. Elezaj, K. Shaw, J. Pearson, J. Mintoff, M. Scerri, C. Zappa (S. Miloskovic 68), J. Cisotti, R. Carvajal, E. Agius (A. Satariano 68), S. Seydou, C. Pani 

Referee: M. Spiteri

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Asst. refs: D. Sultana, C. Francalanza

4th official: E. Grech

Scorer: D. Vella 58,

Yellow cards: F. Apap 45, R. Carvajal 57, S. Seydou 65,

Red card: M. Scerri 83

BOV Player of the match: D. Vella

TMI Top 3: 1. D. Vella 2. J. Grech, 3. K. Shaw

Attendance: 1,343

Hibernians moved to joint 4th with Hamrun on 16 points as they overcame a stiff challenge from Sliema in yesterday's second match.

A Dunstan Vella strike on 58 minutes proved to be the difference between both sides at the end, even if the Paolites richly deserved their win.

Despite having to play mostly in defence, Sliema showed improvement over recent performances but they still failed to get the desired result as they were found wanting up in front whenever they moved forward.

It was the fifth win for Hibernians this season while Sliema suffered their sixth defeat, remaining in a lowly 12th place with just five points.

Hibernians were aiming for a second consecutive win after beating Santa Lucia the previous weekend, while Sliema were searching for a positive result after three consecutive defeats against Sirens, Senglea and Mosta.

Hibernians dominated most of the first half and attacked for long stretches, but Sliema managed to close all gaps at the back as they frustrated the Paolites with several blocks on shots at goal.

Hibs were strong at the back and Sliema only created one or two half chances which went abegging.

Otherwise, Sliema concentrated mostly at the back thwarting the Paolites on several occasions by packing their area.

In the second half, the Paolites went out in search of a goal and obtained it on 58 minutes.

From then on, they administered their slender lead confidently so much so that goalie Marko Jovicic was rarely called into action by Sliema's ineffective front line.

On 10 minutes, Sliema almost took the lead. From an Edmond Agius cross, the Hibs defence failed to clear and Jonathan Pearson was face to face with goalie Marko Jovicic. But the Hibs goalie managed to block his effort and Andrei Agius then cleared the ball away.

In the 24th minute, it was Hibs who created their first real opportunity when Iriberri forced his way past two Sliema defenders. His shot was blocked but the ball rebounded to Jake Grech who, however, hit wide from a favourable position.

Hibs again threatened on 32 minutes when an Izquier dangerous cross had Sliema goalie Entonjo Elezaj punching out before two Hibs players could make contact.

The Paolites insisted on attack and on 39 minutes, it was Grech who bustled his way past two defenders in the Sliema area only to see Elezaj thwarting him with a fine save.

At the other end, five minutes later, it was Edmond Agius who had the better of a tackle with a Hibs defender in the area, but then hit wide of the right post.

Six minutes into the second half, Sliema goalie Elezaj came to his side's rescue by blocking a close range shot from Leonardo Nanni after a perfect cross from Jake Grech.

Moments later, Iriberri missed a sitter for the Paolites, missing an inviting cross from Timothy Tabone Desira.

Hibernians opened the score in the 58th minute when a Dunstan Vella cross surprised everyone and ended at the back of the net. It proved to be the winner.

On 67 minutes, as Hibs maintained their dominance, it was goalie Elezaj who denied Joseph Mbong.

Sliema ended in 10 men on 83 minutes when Mark Scerri floored Wemmer in an incident without the ball and was shown a red card.

On 87 minutes, in a rare Sliema counter-attack, they won a freekick on the left flank from which Juri Cisotti saw his cross-shot landing on the net.

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