Birkirkara were declared BOV Premier League Champions 2012/13 after they came back from one goal down to beat Hibernians 3-1 in the Championship Decider after both had ended their commitments on level points.
Hibernians showed greater determination during the first half, taking a deserved lead but after the break, it was different story as the Stripes were a transformed side to score the goals which handed them the fourth title in the history of the club.
Birkirkara coach Paul Zammit named Zach Muscat and Jhonnattann Benites da Conceciao in the starting line-up, replacing the suspended Joseph Zerafa and Shola Shodiya who started the game on the bench. Hibernians, on the other hand were in full strength wth coach Michael Woods opting to start with Jackson Lima rather than Zoran Levnajic.
Hibs showed the better ideas in the first half, having the first attempt at goal on the 5th minute with Marcelo Dias serving Jean Paul Farrugia whose conclusion ended high. On the 18th, a header by Andrew Cohen off a corner from the left by Failla was blocked with particular difficulty by Justin Haber. Three minutes later, a long-distance freekick by Jackson Lima was neutralised by the Birkirkara custodian. The Paolites maintained the pressure on their opponents, going close with a Rodolfo Soares header, off another corner by Failla, but Haber saved his attempt.
Hibernians were awarded a penalty on 32 minutes when in a counter-attack for the Paolites, Clayton Failla’s shot was blocked by Gareth Sciberras who handled the ball. From the penalty spot, Failla made no mistake to put Hibernians ahead.
The Stripes replied with a shot from the left by substitute Shola Shodiya, who had just replaced the injured Jhonnattann, but Mario Muscat blocked his attempt. But in the remaining minutes,
After the break, the Paolites adopted a more cautious approach, therefore allowing the Stripes to venture out more out of their half-pitch.
Birkirkara equalised eleven minutes in the second half when off a cross by Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza from the left, Edward Herrera slotted the ball past Muscat.
On the 67th minute, the Stripes made it 2-1 when off a Rodrigo Pereira freekick from the left, Nikola Vukanac anticipated Mario Muscat with a header.
Birkirkara kept pushing for more and scored the third goal on the 74th when off a corner from the right, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza served Rowen Muscat on the edge of the area and the latter passed the ball to Zach Muscat who flicked the ball home from close range.
Rodrigo Pereira was voted BOV Player of the Match.
B’KARA Justin Haber, Zach Muscat, Nikola Vukanac, Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, Rodrigo Pereira, Paul Fenech, Gareth Sciberras, Rowen Muscat (84′ Ryan Scicluna), Edward Herrera, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (78′ Ryan Camenzuli), Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao (34′ Harun Shola Shodiya).
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, Godwin Mckay, Yosimar Hernandez, Joselito dos Reis.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Assistant Coach: Peter Pullicino
Goalkeepers’ Coach: Simon Grech
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Jonathan Pearson, Rodolfo Soares (74′ Obinna Obiefule), Marcelo Dias (85′ Allan Kardeck dos Santos), Andrew Cohen, Bjoran Kristensen, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Clayton Failla, Edison Luis dos Santos, Jean Paul Farrugia (74′ Adrian Pulis).
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Scott Chircop, Johann Bezzina, Zoran Levnajic.
Coach: Michael Woods
Assistant Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Mitchell Scerri
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Haber, Herrera, Tarabai, Kristensen
Photos courtesy of Bank of Valletta