Gzira United moved four points clear in the BOV Premier League table as they defeated champions Hibernians 3-2 in an action-packed match at the National Stadium on Saturday.
The Paolites, who had two players sent off, now share third place with Valletta, Hamrun Spartans and Senglea Athletic but the Citizens have a game in hand. This was the first defeat for Mark Miller’s side following a draw in their last outing.
The Maroons took the lead on the 21st minute thanks to an Amadou Samb penalty after Rui da Gracia handled the ball inside the area off a shot by Ndubisi Emmanuel Okoye. da Gracia also received a second yellow card and was therefore sent off.
Four minutes later, the Paolites were also awarded a penalty after Clifford Gatt Baldacchino brought Jurgen Degabriele down just inside the area but the latter’s effort from the penalty spot hit the upright.
Just before the end of the first half, Hibernians equalised when off a Jackson Lima corner, Martin Kreuzriegler flicked the ball home past goalkeeper Anthony Curmi to level matters.
Hibernians were reduced to nine men on the 62nd minute after Marcelo Dias received a second yellow card for remarks.
The Maroons regained the lead on the 77th minute when Amadou Samb stole the ball off substitute Joseph Mbong and managed to beat Hogg with an angled shot from the left.
Hibernians restored equilibrium four minutes from time when they were awarded another penalty after Moises Avila Perez floored substitute Dunstan Vella inside the area with substitute Clayton Failla making no mistake from the penalty spot.
But one minute in added time, the Maroons notched the winner thanks to former Hibs captain Andrew Cohen who beat Hogg with a well-placed shot from outside the area.
GZIRA Anthony Curmi, Gary Muir, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino (69’ Souleymane Diamoutene), Sem Kamana Ogolong, Karl Pulo, Moises Avila Perez, Roderick Briffa, Andrew Cohen, Ndubisi Emmanuel Okoye (80’ Nicky Muscat), Samba Tounkara, Amadou Samb (90+3’ Zack Scerri).
Subs not used: Justin Haber, Andre White, Luca Brincat, Christian Sammut.
Coach: Darren Abdilla
HIBS Andrew Hogg, Martin Kreuzriegler, Rui da Gracia Gomes, Jackson de Lima Siqueira (80’ Dunstan Vella), Rodolfo Soares, Marcelo Dias, Jurgen Degabriele (67’ Joseph Mbong), Bjorn Kristensen (84’ Clayton Failla), Jorge Elias dos Santos, Andrei Agius, Marco Sahanek.
Subs not used: Rudy Briffa, Daniel Buckle, Conner Zammit, David Xuereb.
Coach: Mark Miller
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: Kemana, Rui da Gracia, Gatt Baldacchino, Dias, Jorge Elias, Samb, Avila Perez, Tounkara
Red Cards: 20′ Rui da Gracia, 62′ Marcelo Dias
BOV Player of the Match: Amaodou Samb
Meanwhile at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Balzan earned a point in a goalless draw by Hamrun Spartans despite having two players sent off.
Another positive result for the Spartans who move third along with Valletta, Hibernians and Senglea, two points ahead of Balzan. Balzan, on the other hand, have now gone three matches without a win.
Balzan could have taken the lead on the 45th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Tiago Indigo Souza de Silveira floored Bojan Kaljevic down inside the area. However Carlos Eduardo de Fiori Mendes hit high from the penalty spot.
Paul Fenech was sent off on the 58th minute for Balzan and four minutes later, Bojan Kaljevic was also sent off.
HAMRUN Steve Sultana, Karl Micallef, Daniel Zerafa, Lydon Micallef, Tiago Indigo Souza de Silveira (77′ Maurício José Marinho), Guilherme Felipe de Castro, Thiago Espindola de Paula, Terence Agius, Valerio Gomes dos Santos (42′ Philip Chircop), Francisco Manoel Clavero (34′ Dale Camilleri).
Subs not used: Jake Galea, Luke Sciberras, Pedro Henrique Oliveira, Jeremy Busuttil.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
BALZAN Ivan Janjusevic, Steve Bezzina, Paul Fenech, Bojan Kaljevic, Uros Ljubomirac, Ryan Fenech, Justin Grioli (25′ Samir Arab), Michael Johnson, Elkin Serrano Valero, Carlos Eduardo de Fiori Mendes (46′ Alfred Effiong), Alex da Paixao Alves.
Subs not used: Sean Mintoff, Milos Lepovic, Clive Brincat, Jacob Borg, Jamie Zerafa.
Coach: Marko Micovic
Referee: Matthew De Gabriele
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Theodore Zammit
Fourth Oficial: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Grioli, P. Fenech, Kaljevic, Zerafa, Serrano
Red Cards: 58′ Paul Fenech, 62′ Bojan Kaljevic