Three goals in the first half were enough for Hibernians to beat Melita 3-1 and claim their third win in as many matches.
For the Amateurs, this was the second defeat in three matches.
Melita lacked George Gribbon, Manuel Ramon Sierra Camacho and Michael Martin. Hibernians, on the other hand, missed Jean Paul Farrugia.
The Paolites took the lead on 8 minutes when off a cross by Ryan Camilleri from the right, Steve Pisani failed to connect as goalkeeper Karl Zahra tried to block and Andrew Cohen slotted the ball home. This was Cohen’s hundredth goal for Hibernians.
Three minutes later, Anderson Ribeiro’s weak header was parried by Zahra off a cross by Dias from the right.
Hibernians doubled the score on 15 minutes thanks to Jackson Lima Siqueira, served by Cohen on the right, who chipped the ball over goalkeeper Karl Zahra.
In a counter attack for the Amateurs, Luke Micallef served Jose Luis Armaro Negrin whose shot was neutralised by Mario Muscat on 23 minutes. A minute later, Camilleri sent an inviting pass for Ribiero who however hit high.
Jackson Lima scored the third goal on 29 minutes when he rounded Karl Vella Petroni and with a cute lob from the right, he beat the Melita custodian.
Melita pulled one back on 52 minutes thanks to Julian Galea who received a long through-pass and beat Mario Muscat with a low shot from inside the area.
Jovan Vukanic went close for the Amateurs with a low shot from the edge of the area which scraped past the post on 62 minutes. On the other side of the pitch, Marcelo Dias headed just wide off an inviting cross by Jackson Lima from the right on 83 minutes. Substitute John Nwoba and Bjorn Kristensen then missed good opportunities from close range in the dying minutes.
Ryan Camilleri was voted BOV Player of the Match.
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Jonathan Pearson (77’ Zoran Levnajic), Rodolfo Soares, Marcelo Dias, Andrew Cohen, Bjorn Kristensen, Adrian Pulis, Steve Pisani (46’ Johann Bezzina), Anderson Mendes Ribeiro (71’ John Nwoba), Jackson Lima Siqueira.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Ayrton Azzopardi, Brandon Muscat, Keith Tanti.
Coach: Michael Woods
Asst. Coach: Richard Mercieca
MELITA Karl Zahra, Karl Vella Petroni (31’ Ivan Tufegdzic), Daniel Gravino, Rudi Alhinho, Andrew Caruana Scicluna (83’ Michael Valenzia), Luke Micallef, Julian Galea, Luke Sammut (77’ Tobias Terpougoff), Kane Micallef, Jose Luis Armaro Negrin, Jovan Vukanic.
Subs not used: Andrew Abela, Simon Galea, Nicolo Baldacchino, Marc Attard.
Coach: Martin Gregory
Asst. Coach: Carmel Busuttil
Referee: Andre Arciola
Assistant Referees: Sammy Attard, Alex Grech
Fourth Official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: K. Micallef, Caruana Scicluna, Tufegdzic, R. Camilleri, Kristensen
Scorers: 8′ Andrew Cohen (H), 15′ Jackson Lima (H), 29′ Jackson Lima (H); 52’ Julian Galea (M)
Meanwhile a brace by Ryan Fenech paved the way for a comfortable 3-0 Valletta win over Qormi.
Valletta join Hibernians and Birkirkara on top with maximum points from three matches.
The Citizens had an excellent start, taking the lead on the 6th minute thanks to Ryan Fenech, who received an intelligent pass by Roderick Briffa on the right and flicked the ball past goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia.
Valletta continued to hold the initiative and William Barbosa was unlucky to hit the crossbar with a direct freekick on 25 minutes.
Just before the end of the first half, Valletta doubled the score thanks to another goal by Ryan Fenech who received a pass on the right flank and advanced into the area before slotting the ball past goalkeeper Farrugia.
Leandro Almeida headed just wide off a cross by Dyson Falzon from the left on 67 minutes. Substitute Michael Mifsud was included on 73 minutes and within one minute, he had a close-range shot ending just wide and another blocked into a corner.
The Citizens sealed the issue with a third goal seven minutes from time when Ryan Fenech sent Roderick Briffa through and the latter hit low past the Qormi goalkeeper.
Ryan Fenech was voted BOV Player of the Match.
VALLETTA Manuel Bartolo, Steve Borg, Dyson Falzon, Jonathan Caruana, Ricardo Barreto da Rocha Filho, William Barbosa, Joao Gabriel da Silva, Shaun Bajada (73’ Michael Mifsud), Ryan Fenech (83’ Edmond Agius), Denni Rocha dos Santos (41’ Leandro da Silva Almeida), Roderick Briffa.
Subs not used: Yenz Cini, Ian Azzopardi, Ian Zammit, Kurt Magro.
Coach: Mark Miller
Asst. Coach: Gilbert Agius
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Kris Thackray, Roderick Sammut, Matthew Bartolo, Joseph Chetcuti (80’ Gabriel Buttigieg), Abubakar Bello-Osagie (46’ Gaetan Spiteri), Matthew Gauci, Sebastian Siritto, Jonathan Bondin, Alessio Cassar, Vincenzo Pisani (61’ Leighton Grech).
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Carmelo Farrugia, Jeremy Farrugia, Kane Guedjouma.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: Gauci, Bello-Osagie, Thackray, Pisani, Ricardo Filho
Scorers: 6’ Ryan Fenech; 45’ Ryan Fenech; 83’ Roderick Briffa