Narrow wins for Hibs, Valletta

Tarxien Rainbows vs Hibernians FC 1-2 (HT 1-0)

Hibernians returned to winning ways as they came from behind to register a dramatic 2-1 win over Tarxien Rainbows.

The result is quite harsh on Tarxien who definitely did not deserve to leave Ta’ Qali empty-handed. They were clearly the better side during the first half and shared the exchanges for most of the second half.

Hibernians lacked foreign duo Rumen Galabov and Christian Callejas besides Ben Camilleri. Tarxien, on the other hand, had one change from the team which drew with Valletta as Andrew Decesare replaced Warren Chircop in the starting line-up.

Tarxien held the initiative early in the game. Following a cross from the left by Steve Sadowski, Gianluca Calabretta addressed the ball in the direction of Denni Rocha Dos Santos who hit wide. Two minutes later, Calabretta was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a cross shot from the right. On the 11th minute, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro entered the penalty area but his conclusion was neutralised by Mario Muscat.

The Rainbows took the lead on 16 minutes when off a perfect pass by Mark Tanti from the left, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro managed to beat Mario Muscat with a fine shot from the edge of the area.

There was no reaction by the Paolites and Tarxien went close once again on 23 minutes when off an intelligent pass by Calabretta for Anderson Mendes Ribeiro who rounded a defender but his conclusion was neutralised by the Hibs custodian. Five minutes later, off a corner by Calabretta from the left, Everton Antonio Pereira’s close-range header was cleared off the goal line by a defender.

Just before the end of the first half, Hibs went close to equalising with a first-timer by Edward Herrera following a corner from the left by Triston Caruana.

On the hour, Denni Rocha Dos Santos tested Muscat with a good shot from inside the area. Four minutes later, on the other side of the pitch, a cross shot by Edward Herrera was turned into a corner by Anthony Curmi.

Hibernians equalised on the 80th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Elkien Cauchi was brought down inside the area by Ryan Mintoff. From the penalty spot, Andrew Cohen made no mistake.

Three minutes later, the Paolites forged ahead when off a corner by Triston Caruana from the right, Adrian Pulis headed home past goalkeeper Anthony Curmi.

Anderson Mendes Ribeiro tried to surprise Muscat with a lob from half-pitch but the Hibs custodian managed to turn the ball into a corner. From the resulting corner, Denni Rocha Dos Santos had a goal disallowed for a handling infringement.

On the 89th minute, Mario Muscat received a second yellow card for time-wasting and since Hibernians had already performed the three substitutions, defender Jonathan Caruana had to deputise as goalkeeper.
However in the remaining minutes, the Paolites controlled their opponents well to take the three points home.

TARXIEN Anthony Curmi, Steve Sadowski (85′ James Shead), David Camilleri, Gianluca Calabretta, Everton Antonio Pereira, Anderson Mendes Ribeiro, Mark Tanti (58′ Manuel Caruana), Andrew Decesare (71′ Warren Chircop), Luke Vella Critien, Denni Rocha Dos Santos, Ryan Mintoff.
Subs not used: David Cassar, Stacey Vella, Lee Galea, Kurt Magro.
Coach: Noel Coleiro
Asst. Coach: Michael Church

HIBS Mario Muscat, Edward Herrera (88′ Ryan Camilleri), Adrian Pulis, Jonathan Caruana, Jonathan Pearson, Matthew Tabone (60′ Elkien Cauchi), Triston Caruana, Etienne Barbara, Andrew Cohen, Olegs Malasenoks, Leighton Grech (67′ Yan Cauchi).
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Christian Briffa, Dylan Sammut, Kevin Cassar.
Asst. Coach: Edmond Lufi

Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Joe Camilleri, Alan Camilleri
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: Muscat, Pulis, Grech, Calabretta, Dos Santos, Ribeiro, Shead, D. Camilleri
Red Cards: 89′ Muscat
BOV Player of the Match: Anderson Mendes Ribeiro
Scorers: 16′ Anderson Mendes Ribeiro (T)80′ Andrew Cohen pen (H)
83′ Adrian Pulis (H)

Hamrun Spartans vs Valletta FC 2-3 (HT 2-2)

Valletta once again failed to impress although they returned to winning ways, beating Hamrun Spartans by the odd goal in five.

Valletta lacked once again Roderick Briffa but for the second successive game, Gilbert Agius was among the substitutes. Missing for Hamrun were Neville Galea, John Debattista and Jonathan Holland.

The Citizens took the lead on 11 minutes when off a Kevin Sammut freekick from the left, Jordi Cruyff beat Ivan Casha with a fine header.

Six minutes later, the Citizens were awarded a penalty after Terence Scerri was brought down inside the area by Ivan Casha. From the penalty spot, Njongo Priso converted to double the score.

Valletta went close once again on 27 minutes with a Jordi Cruyff header ending just over the bar following a cross by Edmond Agius from the right.

Hamrun pulled one back on the 40th minute. Joao Mawete served Marcelo Pereira on the left and the latter advanced into the area before hitting low past Hogg.

One minute from the end of the first half, the Spartans levelled matters when Joao Mawete was floored by Luke Dimech inside the area. Referee Chris Lautier ordered a penalty and Marcelo Pereira made no mistake from the penalty spot.

Fourteen minutes in the second half, Roderick Fenech headed just wide off a freekick from the right by Rupert Mangion.

However on 64 minutes, Valletta regained the lead when they were awarded another penalty for a foul by Roderick Fenech on Jamie Pace. From the penalty spot, Njongo Doding Priso converted.

Joao Mawete went close with a good header following a cross from the right on 67 minutes and finally nine minutes from time, substitute Diego Cucciardi headed just wide off a corner from the left by Clyde Camoin.

HAMRUN Ivan Casha, Mark Anthony Bonnici, Rupert Mangion, Roderick Fenech, Manolito Micallef, Mark Barbara (74′ Diego Cucciardi), Marcelo Pereira, Gaetan Spiteri, Martin Hrubsa, Joao Mawete.
Subs not used: Andrea Cassar, Dalton Caruana, Mead Mifsud, Lee James Agius, Mauro Busuttil, Daniel Bonnici.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Asst. Coach: Marco Grech

VALLETTA Andrew Hogg, Steve Bezzina, Justin Grioli (46′ Steve Borg), Luke Dimech, Kenneth Scicluna, Njongo Doding Priso, Kevin Sammut, Jordi Cruyff (83′ Gilbert Agius), Terence Scerri (66′ Ian Zammit), Jamie Pace, Edmond Agius.
Subs not used: Nicky Vella, Dyson Falzon, Stefan Giglio, Dylan Grima.
Coach: Ton Caanen
Team Manager: Nicky Saliba

Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: Philip Agius, Gordon Barbara
Fourth Official: Silvio Tanti
Yellow Cards: Casha, Dimech, Scicluna, Priso, Fenech
BOV Player of the Match: Marcelo Pereira
Scorers: 11′ Jordi Cruyff (V)
17′ Njongo Doding Priso pen (V)
40′ Marcelo Pereira (H)
44′ Marcelo Pereira pen (H)
64′ Njongo Doding Priso pen (V)