A decider to determine the champions of the BOV Premier League is necessary as Hibernians took the three points they needed to end their commitments on level points with Birkirkara as they defeated rivals Valletta 2-1.
The Paolites showed greater determination, taking an early lead and although Valletta equalised, Hibs regained the lead early in the second half to claim victory.
The championship decider will be played on Saturday, kick-off at 17:00.
Hibernians took the lead after just five minutes when Clayton Failla managed to beat Yenz Cini with a direct freekick.
The Paolites went close once again on the 12th minute when Failla released Tarabai with a cross from the left but the latter’s diagonal shot scraped past the post. Valletta replied with a Roderick Briffa header off a cross by Vandelannoite ending just wide.
Valletta equalised on the 29th when off a Ryan Fenech freekick from the right, Luke Dimech beat Muscat with a fine shot from inside the area.
On the half hour, Demba Toure headed just wide off an inviting cross by Denni from the right. A minute later, a diagonal shot by Marcelo Dias was not held by Cini and Tarabai hit home but the Brazilian striker was in an offside position
Yenz Cini then blocked a powerful drive by Marcelo Dias from the right one minute from half-time.
Three minutes in the second half, Hibernians regained the lead as substitute Jackson Lima surprised Yenz Cini with a long-distance shot which ended at the back of the net.
The Paolites appealed for a penalty on the 53rd minute as they claimed Luke Dimech handled the ball in the area following a cross by Tarabai. Marcelo Dias, relased on the right by Tarabai, had an angled shot deflected into a corner by Cini on 62 minutes. Eight minutes later, Cini rushed out of the area to deny Tarabai from entering the area.
Clayton Failla was voted BOV Player of the Match.
VALLETTA Yenz Cini, Jonathan Caruana, Ian Azzopardi (59′ Michael Mifsud), Ryan Fenech, Edmond Agius (59′ Joao Gabriel da Silva), Roderick Briffa, Demba Toure, Denni Rocha dos Santos (75′ Abubakar Bello-Osagie), Dyson Falzon, Jason Lee Vandelannoite, Luke Dimech.
Subs not used: Manuel Bartolo William Barbosa, Joseph Jo Jo Ogunuppe, Llywelyn Cremona.
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Jonathan Pearson, Rodolfo Soares, Clayton Failla, Marcelo Dias (73′ Obinna Obiefule), Andrew Cohen, Bjorn Kristensen, Zoran Levnajic (46′ Jackson di Lima Siqueira), Edison Luis dos Santos, Jean Paul Farrugia.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Adrian Pulis, Allan Kardeck dos Santos, Johann Bezzina, Brandon Muscat.
Coach: Michael Woods
Asst. Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Kevin Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: William Debattista, Paul Apap
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow Cards: Denni, Levnajic, Briffa, Falzon
Scorers: 5′ Clayton Failla; 29′ Luke Dimech; 48′ Jackson Lima