Hibernians returned to winning ways as they defeated Tarxien Rainbows 3-1 in the derby. The Paolites are stil second from bottom but are now four points ahead of Vittoriosa.
For Tarxien, this defeat denies them the possibility of narrowing the gap with Valletta who enjoy a thirteen-point lead on top the BOV Premier League table.
Tarxien coach Noel Coleiro named Daniel Mariano Bueno in the starting line-up as he replaced the injured Ricardo Costa. Adrian Pulis was missing once again for Hibernians.
The two teams shared the exchanges in the opening minutes with the first attempt at goal occurring on 26 minutes when Cristiano concluded a good move on the right with a rising shot which hit the crossbar. Gianluca Calabretta took the rebound but hit conclusion was blocked by Ryan Camilleri.
Nine minutes later, it was the turn of Richie Hart to hit the upright for Hibernians following a short clearance by the Tarxien defence. On 37 minutes, Paul McManus headed just over the bar off an inviting cross by Andrew Cohen from the right. Just before half-time, a diagonal shot by McManus from the left ended just wide.
Hibernians finally managed to break the deadlock four minutes in the second half when Andrew Cohen managed to beat David Cassar with a cute lob.
The Paolites doubled the score five minutes later when Richie Hart effort from the left hit the crossbar and off the rebound, Edward Herrera controlled before hitting past the Tarxien custodian.
One minute later, the Rainbows were reduced to ten men as Daniel Mariano Bueno was sent off by referee Andre Arciola.
Brian Fairbairn tested Cassar with a powerful shot from the right which was turned into a corner on 62 minutes. Cohen headed just wide off a cross from the left a minute later.
Tarxien pulled one back three minutes from time when off a Mark Tanti freekick from the right, Cristiano Dos Santos Rodrigues headed home past goalkeeper Mario Muscat.
However one minute later, the Paolites restored a two-goal lead when off an Andrew Cohen corner, Brian Fairbairn managed to beat David Cassar with a fine shot from the edge of the area.
Edward Herrera was voted BOV Player of the Match.
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HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Matthew Gauci, Aaron Xuereb, Jonathan Pearson, Patrick Osei, Richie Hart, Andrew Cohen, Brian Fairbairn (92’ Matthew Tabone), Edward Herrera, Paul McManus (85’ Steve Pisani).
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Jean Paul Farrugia, Warren Chircop, Triston Caruana, Bjorn Kristensen.
Coach: Mark Miller
Assistant Coach: Edmond Lufi
TARXIEN David Cassar, Steve Sadowski (64’ Ryan Mintoff), Manuel Caruana, Everton Antonio Pereira, Gianluca Calabretta (59’ Mark Tanti), Cristiano Dos Santos Rodrigues, Sergio Pacheco De Oliveira, Daniel Mariano Bueno, Orosco Anonam, Lee Galea, Justin Grioli (46’ Julian Vella)
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Andre Farrugia, Sergio Hili, Luke Vella Critien.
Coach: Noel Coleiro
Assistant Coach: Michael Church
Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, William Debattista
Fourth Official: Kevin Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: A. Xuereb, D. Bueno, M. Caruana
Red Cards: 55’ Daniel Mariano Bueno
Scorers: 49’ Andrew Cohen (H), 54’ Edward Herrera (H); 87’ Cristiano Dos Santos Rodrigues (T), 88′ Brian Fairbairn (H)
Substitute Obinna Obiefule converted a penalty in the dying minutes as Sliema Wanderers maintained their slim chances of securing a top six finish after beating Floriana 1-0.
This was therefore a positive debut for new Sliema coach Danilo Doncic and new signing Etienne Barbara. On the other hand, for Floriana, this was the second consecutive defeat, leaving them fourteen points behind leaders Valletta.
The Wanderers lacked Beppe Muscat, John Mintoff, Mark Scerri and Jackson Lima. The Greens, on the other hand, could not count on Daniel Nwoke, Tyrone Farrugia and Manolito Micallef.
The Greens appealed for a penalty on the 6th minute after Ivan Woods was pushed down in side the area by Clifford Gatt Baldacchino but referee Clayton Pisani waved play on. Then on 28 minutes, Failla served Miguel Ciantar whose fine shot was tipped into a corner by Lotfi Saidi. From the resulting corner, Josef Mifsud headed wide.
The Wanderers went close on 35 minutes with a great header by Chakib Lachkhem which was followed by an equally great save by Lotfi Saidi following a cross from the left by Etienne Barbara.
A Sacha Borg effort was turned into a corner by Szentepeteri on 53 minutes and a minute later, on the other side of the pitch, Chakib Lachkhem had a fine shot parried by Saidi. Etienne Barbara took advantage of a mistake in the Floriana rear-guard and tried his luck with a shot from close range which was neutralised by the Tunisian goalkeeper.
Following a cross from the right by Ivan Woods, on 72 minutes, substitute Christian Caruana controlled the ball before testing Szentpeteri with a good shot which was parried by the Hungarian goalkeeper.
The Wanderers scored the all-important goal on the 90th when they were awarded a penalty after Brian Said brought Etienne Barbara down inside the area. From the penalty spot, Obinna Obiefule made no mistake.
In added time, Sliema went close to increasing the lead twice. First Obiefule concluded a good run on the right flank with a shot which was deflected by Saidi onto the upright and a few seconds later, following another good run by Obiefule on the left, Chakib Lachkhem’s close-range effort was blocked by Lotfi Saidi and off the rebound, Lachkhem and Barbara failed to connect. On the other side of the pitch, Pablo Doffo served Christian Caruana who flicked the ball just over the bar.
Seven minutes in added time, Thomas Paris was sent off for Floriana.
Pablo Doffo was voted was voted BOV Player of the Match.
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FLORIANA Lotfi Saidi, Brian Said, Thomas Paris, Sacha Borg, Owen Bugeja, Clyde Borg (88’ Duncan Pisani), Pablo Doffo, Joseph Borg, Ivan Woods, Kiril Dzhorov (51’ Marcal Guerreiro Fernandes), Dragomir Draganov (40’ Christian Caruana).
Subs not used: John Agius, Mark Gauci, Alan Abela, Carl Cutajar.
Assistant Coach: Todor Raykov
SLIEMA Viktor Szentpeteri, Julian Briffa, Steve Bezzina, Josef Mifsud, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Clayton Failla, Miguel Ciantar (75’ Noel Turner), Roderick Bajada, Etienne Barbara, Chakib Lachkhem (94’ James Paris), Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (63’ Obinna Obiefule).
Subs not used: Henry Bonello, Alex Muscat, Adam Spiteri, Andrew Caligari.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Assistant Coach: Joseph Bajada
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant Referees: Philip Agius, Malcolm Mercieca
Fourth Official: Adrian Azzopardi
Yellow Cards: Doffo, Gatt Baldacchino, Ciantar, Briffa, J. Borg
Red Cards: 97’ Thomas Paris
Scorers: 90’ Obinna Obiefule (pen)