The Malta Independent 21 January 2020, Tuesday

BOV Premier League: Paolites edge past Maroons and climb third

Simon Farrugia Friday, 13 December 2019, 17:56 Last update: about 2 months ago
Photo: Trevor Sollars
Photo: Trevor Sollars

Hibernians               2
Gzira Utd.                 0

HiberniansM. Jovicic, R. Apap, L. Da Silveira, J.  Mbong, J. Grech (J. Degabriele 78'), T. Groothusen (J. Wemmer 74'), B. Kristensen, D. Vella, A. Izquier, A. Agius, I. Iriberri (M.Beerman 89')

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Birkirkara: J. Haber, F. Barbosa, G. Conti, N. Muscat, Z. Scerri, R. Soares (C. Gatt Baldacchino 48'), J. Corbalan, H. Kone, A. Samb, A. Oyama, J. De Assis

Referee: Matthew Degabriele

Asst. Referees: Alan Camilleri, Ivan Galea

Fourth Official: Emanuel Grech

Yellow Cards:  Da Silveira, Barbosa, De Assis, Agius

Red Card: Kristensen (Hibernians), Jefferson de Assis, Fernando Barbosa (Gzira)

Scorers: Andrei Agius 59', Jurgen Degabriele 79'

BOV Player of the Match: Andrei Agius (Hibernians)

TMI Top 3 :  1.   A. Agius               2.   I. Iriberri                    3.   J. Grech

Hibernians registered a well deserved win when in a top of the table clash they beat second placed Gzira by two second half goals. This win means that the Paolites have now jumped into third place on level points with Sirens and one point shy off their opponents Gzira.

The Maroons had won seven out of the last eight matches while the Paolites unbeaten in five matches with three wins and two draws.

Maximum points were important for both sides with Gzira all out in order to keep the pressure on the leaders Floriana whereas  Hibernians in their bid to close in on the top two.

Hibs could not count the suspended Leonardo Nanni.

Gzira were first to venture forward and on eleven minutes a Corbalan shot just missed the target. Six minutes later Hibernians replied through an Mbong cross shot from the right side which was saved by Haber.

In the space of a minute Kone fed Conti whose shot went wide and a Groothusen shot sailed over the bar.

The Maroons had to wait till the 27th minute to threaten when an acute shot by Jefferson de Assis from the edge of the area was tipped over by Jovicic.

Hibernians were dealt a severe blow seven minutes from the end of the first half when Bjorn Kristensen was sent off for passing remarks to the match official.

Though playing with a man less it was the Paolites who could have forged ahead  on the stroke of half time when an Andre Agius low shot from the edge of the area was tipped aside by Haber.

The second half started with Gzira having Jefferson de Assis sent off following a second bookable offence and thus both teams were now on level terms even as regards players on the pitch.

Hibernians were now holding the upper hand and dominating proceedings. And it was no surprise when just off the hour they took the lead. An Izquier corner from the right side was headed against the upright and in came captain Andre' Agius who blasted into the net.

And to make matters worse for the Maroons they were further reduced when Fernando Barbosa fouled Dunstan Vella and with the player being already booked the referee had no other option but to send the Brazilian defender for an early shower.

Twenty minutes from the end Jake Grech could have finished better but he shot straight into Haber's hands.  On 71 minutes another chance for the Paolites when in a fast break Grech passed towards Iriberri but his shot was saved by an alert Haber.

Eleven minutes from the end Hibernians all but sealed their win when Iriberri fed with a perfect pass Jurgen Degabriele who had just come in and the Paolites striker fired the ball into the roof of the net.

Deep into added time Gzira were awarded a penalty following a Wemmer handling infringement but Samb's effort was saved by Jovicic.

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