The Malta Independent 29 September 2022, Thursday
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Conference League - Another Latvian stumbling block for local champions

Friday, 12 August 2022, 07:56 Last update: about 3 months ago

After losing 1-3 to RFS in the second leg at the Centenary Stadium yesterday evening, Hibernians were ousted from the third qualifying round of the UEFA Europa Conference League by a Latvian team for the second year in a row.

The Latvian side will therefore go to the play-off round where they will compete against Linfield of Northern Ireland for a spot in the competition's group stages.

During the first half, the visitors had the upper hand, but the Hibs back line kept their opponents in check.

However, RFS were given a penalty moments before the first half ended as Petr Marek's run was stopped by Gonzalo Llerena. Kateryna Mosul, a Ukrainian referee, made a questionable choice. Petr Mares scored from the penalty spot to give RFS the advantage.

The second half of the game picked up as the Paolites sought an equalizer, and two minutes into it, Gabi Izquier missed wide on the right. Apap challenged Steinbors five minutes later with a strong header from the right that was turned into a corner.

On 57 minutes, RFS responded with a strong effort from Friesenbichler that was partially stopped by Kone and blocked by the

Guinean goalkeeper before Kouadio could score off the rebound.

Mares handled the ball after Jake Grech crossed the ball for Hibs on the 69th minute and the Paolites were awared a penalty. Jake Grech made the conversion from the penalty spot.

On the next quick counterattack, Jake Grech was assisted by Degabriele on the right, but his shot was blocked by the RFS goalie.

Emerson Santana's strong shot, which Kone was unable to stop, gave RFS the advantage again on minute 79 when Andrej Ilic scored from close range.

Andrej Ilic assisted Emerson Santana in the final three minutes as the Latvians secured the victory by putting the ball past Kone, who was defenseless.

Hibernians: I. Kone, F. Apap, G. Llerena Bravo, J. Grech, J. Degabriele, D. Vella, Z. Grech (B. Kristensen 60’), G. Izquier Artiles (Joseph Zerafa 90+2 Y. Muritala, A. Diakite (G. Mensah 85’), R. Soares.

RFS: P. Steinbors, A. Jatta, E. Santana, C. Kouadio (E. Stuglis 82’), A. Ilic, P. Mares, S. Panic, K. Friesenbichler (D. Rakeis 89’), Z. Lipuscek, J. Vlalukin, V. Jagodinskis

Referee: Kateryna Monzul

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