Hibernians scored three goals in the first half and hit the posts twice early in the second but could only beat Mosta by the odd goal in five.
The team led by Michael Woods was the better side during the first half and the beginning of the second half. However with the two goals they scored after the break, the Blues gained courage and put their opponents under constant pressure in the final thirteen minutes.
Mosta were a completely new side with no less than eight player making their debut, namely Justin Haber, Ferdinando Apap, Luke Dimech, Steve Bezzina, Ryan Grech, Danail Mitev, Carlos Campagnoli and Daniel Bogdanovic. On the other hand, the Paolites were unable to field their best formation as they lacked a number of players including Adrian Pulis, Clayton Failla, Edward Herrera, Jason Vandelannoite, Triston Caruana, John Nwoba and Jean Paul Farrugia but Zoran Levnaic was making his debut after re-joining the club last week.
The Paolites held the initiative in the early stages, going close with a Marcelo Dias effort from the right which was deflected into a corner on 16 minutes.
Hibs managed to take the lead on 34 minutes when Andrew Cohen concluded a good move on the left with a perfect pass for the unmarked Steve Pisani who tapped the ball home past goalkeeper Justin Haber.
Marcelo Dias doubled the score on the 38th minute when off a Jackson Lima cross from the right, he hit home past Haber.
One minute later, Hibs scored the third goal thanks to another goal by Marcelo Dias who received a pass on the left flank, hitting hard past the Mosta goalkeeper from inside the area.
Photos: Copyright © Joe Borg
Nine minutes in the second half, substitute Ayrton Azzopardi could have made it 4-0 but his powerful shot from the left hit the upright.
Mosta pulled one back on 58 minutes thanks to substitute Jonathan Bajada whose shot from the left beat goalkeeper Mario Muscat following a deflection by Rodolfo Soares.
Hibs were unlucky once again when a fine shot by Andrew Cohen from outside the area hit the upright on 65 minutes.
A direct freekick by Danail Mitev which beat goalkeeper Mario Muscat reduced the gap even further for Mosta on 77 minutes.
In the remaining minutes, the Blues increased the pressure but failed to score the goal which could have enabled them to rescue a point.
Marcelo Dias was voted BOV Player of the Match.
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Jonathan Pearson, Steve Pisani (88′ Brandon Muscat), Rodolfo Soares, Marcelo Dias (59’ Anderson Mendes Ribeiro), Andrew Cohen, Bjorn Kristensen (46’ Ayrton Azzopardi), Johann Bezzina, Zoran Levnaic, Jackson Di Lima Siqueira.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Scott Chircop, Keith Tanti, Karl Conti.
Coach: Michael Woods
Asst. Coach: Richard Mercieca
MOSTA Justin Haber, Ferdinando Apap, Alex Cini, Luke Dimech, Steve Bezzina (70’ Bryan Agius), Ryan Grech, Danail Mitev, Firas Aboulezz (56’ Jonathan Bajada), Carlos Campagnoli, Daniel Bogdanovic, Obinna Obiefule.
Subs not used: Noel Attard, Mark Brincat, John Paul Grima, Adrian Farrugia, Kurt Zammit.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: Dias, Obiefule, Azzopardi, Ribeiro, Levnaic, Pisani, Campagnoli
Scorers: 34’ Steve Pisani (H); 38’ Marcelo Dias (H); 39’ Marcelo Dias (H); 58’ Jonathan Bajada (M); 77’ Danail Mitev (M)
A brace by Brazilian striker Joselito dos Reis paved the way for a comfortable 4-0 win over newly-promoted Melita.
Birkirkara were clearly the better side right from the start but a good performance by Melita goalkeeper Karl Zahra stopped the Stripes from adding more goals especially during the first half.
Melita had two new players in squad, namely Rudi Alhinho and Jose Luis Armaro Negrin. Birkirkara, on the other hand, had three players making their debut – Zach Muscat, Alejandro Mendoza Corujo and substitute Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao while Joselito dos Reis Santos was making his first league appearance after playing for the Stripes in the UEFA Europa League.
The Stripes made their intentions clear right from the start with a powerful shot from outside the area ending just wide on the 3rd minute.
Brazilian striker Joselito dos Reis Santos put them ahead on the 8th minute thanks to a direct freekick which beat goalkeeper Karl Zahra.
As Birkirkara continued to hold the initiative, Melita goalkeeper Karl Zahra performed a good save on a close-range effort by Gareth Sciberras on 33 minutes.
Karl Zahra was prominent once again on the 40th, blocking a Mendoza effort from close range following a corner by dos Reis and off the rebound, Shodiya’s conclusion was turned into a corner by the Melita custodian.
Birkirkara finally managed to double the score seven minutes in the second half with another goal by Joselito dos Reis who received a through pass by Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza, advanced into the area, rounding the goalkeeper and placing the ball at the back of the net.
Four minutes later, Shola Shodiya served Ryan Camenzuli whose rising shot from outside the area ended just over the bar.
Birkirkara were awarded a penalty on 65 minutes after a defender handled the ball inside the area. From the penalty spot, Harun Shola Shodiya made no mistake to increase the lead.
Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza missed a good opportunity on the 71st when all alone in front of Zahra after receiving a perfect pass by Shodiya but hit low shot was blocked by the Melita goalkeeper.
Substitute Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao made it 4-0 on 76 minutes when he received a through pass on the left, rounded the goalkeeper and placed the ball at the back of the net.
Joselito dos Reis Santos was voted BOV Player of the Match.
B’KARA Reuben Gauci, Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, Ryan Camenzuli, Gareth Sciberras, Rowen Muscat (90’ David Spiteri), Paul Fenech, Ryan Scicluna, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (72’ Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao), Zach Muscat, Joselito dos Reis Santos (80’ Joseph Zerafa), Harun Shola Shodiya.
Subs not used: Karl Magri, Ian Schembri, Patrick Borg, Fabian Zammit.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Asst. Coach: Peter Pullicino
MELITA Karl Zahra, Karl Vella Petroni (88’ Daniel Gravino), George Gribbon, Rudi Alhinho, Jovan Vukanic, Luke Sammut, Julian Galea, Michael Valenzia (46’ Kane Micallef), Luke Micallef, Nicolo Baldacchino Orland (46’ Simon Galea), Jose Louis Armaro Negrin.
Subs not used: Andrew Abela, Andrew Caruana Scicluna, Michael Cachia, Marc Attard.
Coach: Martin Gregory
Asst. Coach: Carmel Busuttil
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Mitchell Scerri, Emmanuel Grech
Fourth Official: Andre Arciola
Yellow Cards: Negrin
Scorers: 8’ Joselito dos Reis Santos, 52’ Joselito dos Reis Santos, 65’ Harun Shola Shodiya pen, 76’ Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao