Hibernians found no difficulty in beating Birkirkara 5-0 in another match from the Euro Cup at the Centenary Stadium.
With Jean Paul Farrugia in excellent form, the Paolites dominated from start to finish to take home the first three points.
Neither side had any new players in squad except for players who returned with their respective clubs after being on loan last season, namely Triston Caruana, Jean Paul Farrugia and Christian Cassar for Hibernians and Patrick Borg for Birkirkara. Missing for Hibernians were Edward Herrera, Jackson Lima and Tarabai while Gareth Sciberras and Shaun Bajada were missing for Birkirkara. The only one making his debut was Hibernians coach Michael Woods who could not expect a better start.
The Paolites managed to take the lead on the 6th minute when off a cross by Andrew Cohen from the right, Jean Paul Farrugia headed the ball past goalkeeper Karl Magri.
Hibs doubled the score on 14 minutes when Clayton Failla advanced into the area and after having a first attempt blocked by the goalkeeper, he chipped the ball over Magri with the ball ending at the back of the net.
Andrew Cohen went close to increasing the lead on 38 minutes when he advanced on the left and into the area but his conclusion was blocked by Karl Magri.
Three minutes from the end of the first half, Shodiya released Jorge Santos Silva on the right and the latter’s effort was deflected by Mario Muscat onto the crossbar before the ball was cleared into safety.
Nine minutes in the second half, Clayton Failla hit the upright with a cute lob when served by Jean Paul Farrugia.
Jean Paul Farrugia made it 3-0 on the hour with a perfect lob after intercepting a header by Zerafa in the direction of the goalkeeper.
Two minutes later, a freekick by Failla was turned into a corner by Magri. Failla served Farrugia from the left with the latter’s effort saved in two attempts by the Stripes’ custodian on 72 minutes. A minute later, a diagonal shot by Steve Pisani from the left ended just wide.
Twelve minutes from time, Birkirkara were reduced to ten men as defender Rodrigo Pereira was given marching orders by referee Glen Tonna for a foul in midfield.
Hibernians scored a fourth goal on the 80th when off an Andrew Cohen freekick from the left, substitute Steve Pisani headed the ball home past Karl Magri.
In the dying minutes, Shola Shodiya had two attempts from the edge of the area – the first being saved partially by Mario Muscat and the second ending just over the bar.
But the game was not over yet as on the 91st minute, Andrew Cohen hit the crossbar with a shot from the edge of the area and Jean Paul Farrugia headed the ball home from close range.
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri (74’ Matthew Gauci), Rodolfo Soares, Jason Vandelannoite, Adrian Pulis, Bjorn Kristensen (63’ Steve Pisani), Clayton Failla (74’ Marcelo Dias), Johann Bezzina, Triston Caruana, Jean Paul Farrugia, Andrew Cohen.
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Brandon Muscat, Ayrton Azzopardi, Scott Chircop.
Coach: Michael Woods
Asst. Coach: Richard Mercieca
B’KARA Karl Magri, Michael Camilleri (77’ Ian Schembri), Joseph Zerafa (81’ Patrick Borg), Nikola Vukanac, Rowen Muscat, Paul Fenech (46’ Fabian Zammit), Ryan Scicluna, Rodrigo Pereira, Jorge Santos Silva, Haruna Shola Shodiya, Ryan Camenzuli.
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, Andre Cassar, David Spiteri, Antoine Borg.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Peter Pullicino
Referee: Glen Tonna
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Sammy Attard
Fourth Official: Marco Borg
Yellow Cards: Zerafa, Bezzina, Pereira
Red Cards: 78’ Rodrigo Pereira
Scorers: 6′ Jean Paul Farrugia, 14′ Clayton Failla, 60’ Jean Paul Farrugia, 80’ Steve Pisani, 91′ Jean Paul Farrugia
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