Hibernians moved five points clear on top the BOV Premier League as they defeated Gzira United at the Hibernians Stadium while Valletta could only earn a point in a 3-3 draw with Birkirkara at the National Stadium.
The Paolites defeated Gzira United 2-0 thanks to two first-half goals by Brazilians Jorge Pereira da Silva and Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro. This was the sixth win in seven matches for the team led by Mark Miller and another three precious points which put them closer towards another championship.
The Paolites took the lead on the 11th minute thanks to Jorge Pereira da Silva who received a perfect pass by Jurgen Degabriele and beat goalkeeper Jurgen Borg with a powerful shot from the right.
Six minutes from the end of the second half, Hibs doubled the score thanks to a low drive by Gilmar Ribeiro da Silva which ended in the bottom left corner.
Twelve minutes from time, Gzira had Louis Rene Zome sent off for hitting Clayton Failla.
HIBS Andrew Hogg, Jackson Lima, Rodolfo Soares, Marcelo Dias, Jurgen Degabriele (80’ Momodou Jallow Salieu), Bjorn Kristensen, Johrann Bezzina (79’ Dunstan Vella), Andrei Agius, Clayton Failla, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Jorge Pereira da Silva (85’ Dejan Boljevic).
Subs not used: Rudy Briffa, Daniel Buckle, Connor Zammit, Kieran Xuereb.
Coach: Mark Miller
GZIRA Jurgen Borg, Jacob Borg, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Souleymane Diamoutene, Ian Azzopardi, Ige Adeshina, Louis Rene Zome, Moises Avila Perez (66’ Dyson Falzon), Carlos Reyna, Zach Scerri (66’ Antonio de Quieroz Machedo Neto), Gianmarco Conti.
Subs not used: Andrew Cohen, Emerson Amaira, Andre White, Jonathan Bondin, Karl Pulo
Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Stefan Pace
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Paul Apap
Additional Assistant Referees: Sandro Spiteri, Darryl Agius
Fourth Official: Martin Borg
Yellow Cards: Diamoutene
Red Cards: 78′ Louis Rene Zome
BOV Player of the Match: Gilmar Ribeiro da Silva
Attendance at the National Stadium: 1,080
Meanwhile at the National Stadium, Valletta and Birkirkara shared the spoils in an entertaining 3-3 draw. A draw which puts Valletta back in third place, six points behind the leaders while the Stripes extend their positive run to eight matches but stay four points behind the Citizens.
Valletta had four changes from the team which was held in a draw by Gzira as Juan Cruz Gill, Ryan Camilleri, Llywelyn Cremona and Santiago Malano replaced Roderick Briffa, Claudio Pani, Valdo Alhinho and Maxi Velasco. Pani, along with Steve Borg, were ruled out through suspension. Birkirkara, on the other hand, had no changes as Nikola Jaros maintained faith in the same players who had started the last game against Balzan.
Valletta managed to take the lead on the 8th minute when off a cross from the left by Michael Mifsud, Romeu Romao served Santiago Malan who connected from close range.
The Stripes appealed for a penalty on the 25th minute but the referee waved play on. Five minutes later, Valletta almost doubled the score when Henry Bonello failed to hold a long-distance shot by Aguirre with the ball hitting the foot of the upright. Luke Montebello was also unlucky to hit the foot of the upright with a shot from the left on the 41st minute.
Birkirkara equalised three minute from the end of the first half Nikola Vukanac’s fine volley following a corner by Dimitrov gave the Valletta goalkeeper no chance.
One minute in added time, the Stripes forged ahead with Christian Bubalovic beating Bartkus following a cross from the right by Dimitrov.
Valletta equalised on the 74th minute thanks to Maxi Velasco who beat Henry Bonello from close range after Radzinevicius headed the ball down off a cross by Romao.
However two minutes later, Birkirakra regained the lead thanks to a penalty by Edward Herrera after Romeu Romao brought Srdjan Dimitrov down inside the area.
But ten minutes from time, Valletta restored equilibrium thanks to another goal by Maxi Velasco whose low diagonal shot beat the Birkirkara custodian following a pass from the right, deflected by Radzinevicius.
VALLETTA Dziugas Bartkus, Jonathan Caruana, Ryan Camilleri, Juan Gill Cruz (56’ Maximiliano Alejandro Velasco), Santago Malano, Michael Mifsud, Luke Monteello, Jean Borg, Llywelyn Cremona (74’ Tomas Radinevicius), Leandro Aguirre, Romeu Pericles Romao.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Roderick Briffa, Russell Fenech, Shaun Dimech, Nicholas Pulis.
Coach: Paul Zammit
B’KARA Henry Bonello, Edward Herrera, Christian Bubalovic, Gareth Sciberras, Mislav Andelkovic, Matthew Guillaumier (70’ Edmond Agius), Nikola Vukanac, Joseph Zerafa, Gonzalo Malan (60’ Vito Plut), Cain Attard, Srdan Dimitrov (83’ Miguel Angel Alba).
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Steven Bonnici, Ryan Scicluna, James Brincat.
Yellow Cards: Bubalovic, Camilleri, Sciberras
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, William Debattista
Additional Assistant Referees: Alan Mario Sant, Etienne Mangion
Fourth Official: Christopher Azzopardi
BOV Player of the Match: Srdjan Dimitrov
Attendance at the National Stadium: 1483
Renato Vella reporting from the National Stadium