Hibernians regained the top spot in the BOV Premier League as they extended their positive run with a fifth successive win, defeating neighbours Tarxien Rainbows 2-0.
The Paolites held the initiative during the first half but they showed greater determination in the second half, scoring the two goals that gave them the three points. For Tarxien, this was the fourth defeat in six matches.
Hibs lacked Adrian Pulis and Diego Balbinot while Justin Grioli and Orosco Anonam were missing for Tarxien.
The Paolites had the first attempt at goal with Edison Luis dos Santos trying his luck with an angled shot from the right which was blocked into a corner by David Cassar on 7 minutes.
On 39 minutes, off a cross by Herrera from the right, a header by Tarabai was neutralised by David Cassar. A freekick by the same player ended just wide a minute later.
One minute in the second half, Herrera went close through Edward Herrera following a cross from the left by Dias. A minute later, Triston Caruana hit the crossbar with a long-distance shot.
Hibs finally managed to break the deadlock on 49 minutes when off a cross by Marcelo Dias from the right, Clayton Failla was at the right place at the right time to slot the ball past David Cassar.
The Rainbows replied with a powerful shot by Daniel Mariano Bueno from the right which was blocked by Muscat on 52 minutes.
On 64 minutes, Dias failed to connect off an inviting cross by dos Santos from the right.
Tarxien were awarded a penalty on 69 minutes after Daniel Mariano Bueno was brought down inside the area by Rodolfo Soares. However Bueno’s effort from the penalty spot was neutralized by Mario Muscat.
Five minutes later, Hibernians doubled the score when off a cross by Cohen from the right, David Cassar anticipated Dias, punching the ball for Edison Luis dos Santos to head home with the ball being deflected by Luke Vella Critien on the goal line.
Edison Luis dos Santos was voted BOV Player of the Match.
HIBS Mario Muscat, Aaron Xuereb, Rodolfo Soares, Bjorn Kristensen, Andrew Cohen, Edward Herrera, Triston Caruana (87′ Jonathan Pearson), Marcelo Dias (78’ Peter Anizoba), Clayton Failla, Ryan Camilleri (83′ Steve Pisani), Edison Luis dos Santos.
Subs not used: Luke Bonnici, Dylan Sammut, Johann Bezzina, Ayrton Azzopardi.
Coach: Mark Miller
Assistant Coach: Richard Mercieca
TARXIEN David Cassar, Carl Sammut, Manuel Caruana, Everton Antonio Pereira, Stefan Giglio (66’ Karl Pulo), Ricardo Costa (75’ Roberto Fagundes Saraiva), Rodrigo Andreis Galvao, Daniel Mariano Bueno, Luke Vella Critien, Julian Vella, Lee Galea.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Steve Sadowski, Adrian Carabott, Ryan Mintoff, Caio Garcia Suguino.
Coach: Noel Coleiro
Assistant Coach: Michael Church
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant referees: Konrad Borg, Alex Grech
Fourth official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Everton, Bueno, R. Camilleri, C. Failla, M. Muscat, J. Vella
Scorers: 49’ Clayton Failla, 74’ Edison Luis dos Santos
Brazilian striker Cadu handed Hamrun Spartans the three points in a clash between the bottom two teams in the BOV Premier League. The Spartans therefore join Tarxien and Marsaxlokk on four points, leaving the Blues at the bottom with just one side.
Both sides were unable to field their best formation due to the absence of Luis Fernando Silva and Anderson Mendes Ribeiro for Hamrun and Gilbert Martin for Mosta.
After a quiet start for the two teams, an Ian Zammit long-distance freekick was turned into a corner by Omar Borg on 11 minutes. A minute later, Roderick Fenech hit the crossbar with a good header off a cross from the right by Kevin Sammut.
Then on 25 minutes, Ian Zammit served Sheldon Grech with a short freekick and the former Pietà midfielder’s rising shot was turned into a corner in style by the Hamrun custodian. One minute later, Gaetan Spiteri served Toneto Porcari but his long-distance shot scraped past the post.
Jonathan Debono performed a good save on a Massimo Grima freekick on 37 minutes and a few seconds later, Carlo Polli was unlucky to hit the upright with a powerful shot from the right. The Mosta goalkeeper then saved a Gianluca Calabretta effort from the right.
Just before half-time, on the other side of the pitch, off a cross by captain Nikola Bogdanovic, Bertrand Maki-Mvondo tested Omar Borg with a close-range header but the Hamrun goalkeeper turned the ball into another corner.
Hamrun managed to take the lead on 55 minutes when a shot by Massimo Grima was deflected by Carlos Eduardo Toneto Porcari to beat goalkeeper Jonathan Debono.
The Spartans went close once again on 59 minutes with a powerful shot by Kevin Sammut which ended just wide. On the other side of the pitch, a diagonal shot by Kurt Magro from the right for Mosta missed the target.
Massimo Grima then had a freekick from the left ending high on 74 minutes. Five minutes later, off a cross from the left by Alex Cini, Ian Zammit’s close-range effort was turned into a corner by Omar Borg. From the resulting freekick, Arilson’s header was blocked on the goal line by a defender.
In stoppage time, Lee James Agius hit the upright with an angled shot from the right.
Massimo Grima was voted BOV Player of the Match.
MOSTA Jonathan Debono, Luca Martinelli, Kane Farrugia (75’ Alex Cini), Arilson Mello da Silva, Nikola Bogdanovic, Ian Zammit, Kurt Magro, Adrian Borg, Yannick Ossok, Michel Maki Mvondo (71’ Firas Aboulezz), Sheldon Grech (46’ Jonathan Bajada).
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Kurt Zammit, Bryan Agius, Federico Tisbi.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Assistant Coach: Ramon Zammit
HAMRUN Omar Borg, Nikica Gacesa, Roderick Fenech (70’ Rupert Mangion), Kevin Sammut, Matthew Gauci, Carlos Eduardo Toneto Porcari, Carlo Polli, Gaetan Spiteri (76’ Daniel Zerafa), Steve Bonnici, Gianluca Calabretta (87’ Lee James Agius).
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Ryan Spiteri, David Camilleri, Clyde Camoin.
Coach: Jesmond Zammit
Assistant Coach: Vince Carbonaro
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Joe Camilleri
Fourth official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: Sammut, Farrugia
Scorers: 55’ Cadu