The Malta Independent 26 June 2022, Sunday

Premier League: Floriana sole leaders as ten-man Spartans block Hibernians

Chris Cassar Sunday, 27 February 2022, 07:17 Last update: about 5 months ago

Champions Hamrun Spartans played for an hour with ten men but still managed a deserved scoreless draw against Hibernians. For Hibernians this was another setback after suffering their first defeat against Birkirkara seven days ago.

Floriana moved to the top of the standings after beating Gudja United in a later match, taking a one-point lead over Hibs. The sending off of Dielna on 30 minutes was surely the turning point of the match, as the leaders took the initiative, especially in the second half, but the Spartans defended well with goalkeeper henry Bonello playing a blinder, his best match since joining the Spartans

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Hamrun had their moments too even if they were forced to play a defensive match and the point earned was surely a deserved one. The control of the referee Glen Tonna left much to be desired and some decisions are surely controversial.

Hibernians appealed for a penalty in the early stages when Dunstan Vella, arguably the best player on the field of play, was tripped inside the area. Then on 30 minutes Da Costa pounced on a Diuelna blunder and raced in the area where he was tackled by the same Dielna, with the referee awarding the penalty and sending off Dielna. It was a soft penalty with Da Costa doing the trick that forced the referee to send off Dielna. From the penalty spot Da Costa’s effort was brilliantly blocked by Bonello.

In the second half Hibernians were more determined and aggressive forcing Hamrun inside their own half with Henry Bonello coming in the spotlight with three great saves off Jurgen Degabriele, Artiles and Dunstan Vella. Jurgen Degabriele also had a close shave with the ball just missing the base of the upright.

The inclusion of Jake Grech halfway through the second half gave Hibernians a new lease of life in attack but they just could not break down Hamrun’s defensive wall.

Photo: Domenic Aquilina
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