Hibernians moved another step towards securing their Premier League status as they defeated Qormi by the odd goal in seven in a clash from the Relegation Pool.
With seven minutes to go, the team led by Stephen Azzopardi seemed heading towards a comfortable win as they were leading 3-1. However the Paolites had other ideas and scored three in the final stages to take home the three points.
Qormi lacked Keith Fenech, Joseph Farrugia, Jonathan Bondin, Abubakar Bello-Osagie and George Mallia while Steve Pisani and Jean Paul Farrugia were missing for Hibernians.
The Yellow-Blacks had the first attempt at goal on 13 minutes when Joseph Chetcuti served Michael Mifsud from the left and the latter’s effort was parried by Muscat.
Qormi managed to take the lead on 16 minutes when Cleavon Frendo sent Michael Mifsud through and the latter advanced into the area before hitting low past the Hibs custodian.
Mifsud went close to adding another on 29 minutes with a great long-distance dipper from the left but Mario Muscat somehow turned the ball into a corner. A minute later, Jonathan Pearson cleared into safety an inviting pass by Joseph Chetcuti from the left.
On the other side of the pitch, Matthew Farrugia blocked a close-range effort by Paul McManus following a cross from the right by Edward Herrera on 34 minutes.
Abdelilah Taki was unlucky to hit the foot of the post for Hibernians following a freekick by Cohen six minutes from the end of the first half. Then just before half-time, Jason Vandelannoite headed the ball into a corner following an Andrew Cohen freekick. From the resulting corner by Cohen, Aaron Xuereb headed just over the bar.
The Paolites continued where they had left going close with a diagonal shot by Paul McManus from the left which was turned into a corner by Matthew Farrugia three minutes in the second half. On 52 minutes, following a cross by Josue Souza Santos from the right, Mario Muscat anticipated Michael Mifsud and Joseph Chetcuti saving the ball in two attempts.
Qormi doubled the score on 55 minutes with a long-distance freekick by Cleavon Frendo which beat goalkeeper Mario Muscat, ending in the right corner at the back of the net.
Four minutes later, Hibs missed another good opportunity when off a good pass by Herrera, the ball was deflected by the Qormi goalkeeper and Paul McManus hit wide from close range. A Patrick Osei effort from outside the area was deflected into a corner on 64 minutes.
In a counter-attack for Qormi, Joseph Chetcuti advanced into the area but his conclusion was rather poor and Muscat saved.
The Paolites pulled one back on 72 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Christos Karamanolis handled the ball inside the area. From the penalty spot, Abdelilah Taki converted.
A minute later, Jason Lee Vandelannoite had a great header which hit the upright with Muscat beaten following a Cleavon Frendo corner from the right.
Michael Mifsud made it 3-1 on 84 minutes when he concluded a solo effort by rounding a defender before beating Muscat with a rising shot, the ball hitting the crossbar before ending at the back of the net.
Two minutes later, Hibs narrowed the gap once again after being awarded another penalty for a foul inside the area. Paul McManus made no mistake from the penalty spot.
A diagonal shot from the right by McManus just missed the target for Hibernians and a minute later, Josue also had a diagonal shot from the left which ended just wide.
But the game was not over yet as the Paolites notched the equaliser one minute in added time thanks to long distance shot by Richie Hart.
Two minutes later, in a counter-attack for Hibernians, Edward Herrera concluded a good run on the left flank with a powerful shot which was partially saved by Matthew Farrugia and off the rebound, Andrew Cohen slammed the ball home.
Jason Lee Vandelannoite was voted BOV Player of the Match.
Photo: Copyright © www.stephengatt.com
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Aaron Xuereb, Adrian Pulis, Jonathan Pearson (80’ Bjorn Kristensen), Patrick Osei, Richie Hart, Abdelilah Taki (82’ Matt Clarke), Edward Herrera, Andrew Cohen, Paul McManus.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Triston Caruana, Matthew Gauci, Matthew Tabone, Brian Fairbairn
Coach: Mark Miller
Assistant Coach: Edmond Lufi
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Jason Vandelannoite, Stefan Giglio, Christos Karamanolis, Michael Mifsud, Joseph Chetcuti, Matthew Bartolo (69’ Gabriel Buttigieg), Luke Sciberras, Cleavon Frendo, Kang Hojung, Josue Souza Santos.
Subs not used: Matthew Camilleri, Gaetano Gesualdi, Carmelo Farrugia, Ben Camilleri, Ibraima Vaz Sani, Steve Agius.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Assistant Coach: Charles Scerri
Referee: Paul Caruana
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Chris Francalanza
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: L. Sciberras, A. Xuereb, C. Karamanolis
Scorers: 16’ Michael Mifsud (Q), 55’ Cleavon Frendo (Q); 72’ Abdelilah Taki pen (H); 84’ Michael Mifsud (Q); 86’ Paul McManus pen (H); 90+1′ Richie Hart (H); 90+3′ Andrew Cohen (H)