A brace by Edison Luis dos Santos in the second half paved the way for Hibernians as they claimed the tenth FA Trophy in the history of the club, beating Qormi 3-1. A repeat of last year’s result in the final between the same two teams.
The Paolites were a better side throughout the ninety minutes and Qormi, who were chasing the first major honour, spent most of the time controlling their opponents in this 75th edition of the U*BET FA Trophy.
Photo: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA
A major setback for Qormi was the injury sustained by Alfred Effiong, forcing him to abandon the field of play after just fourteen minutes.
Hibernians lacked captain Mario Muscat who was suspended after being sent off in the semi-final against Valletta.
The Paolites held the initiative in the early stages, going close to taking the lead on the 24th minute with a Clayton Failla freekick but Matthew Farrugia tipped the ball into a corner. From the resulting corner by Failla, Tarabai’s header was parried by the Qormi custodian.
Qormi replied with a good cross by Leighton Grech from the right and Edison Bilbao Zarate’s header was saved by Daniel Balzan on the 26th. Four minutes later, an angled shot by Moises Avila Perez from the left was partially saved by Balzan.
Three minutes from the end of the first half, Bjorn Kristensen tried to surprise Farrugia with a shot from outside the area but the Qormi goalkeeper neutralised his attempt. A long-distance shot by Leighton Grech just before half-time was also parried by the Hibs goalkeeper.
Hibernians managed to take the lead on 53 minutes when a Jean Paul Farrugia effort was blocked by Matthew Farrugia, Edison Luis dos Santos took the rebound and placed the ball at the back of the net with a fine shot from the right.
On the 58th minute, Marcelo Dias released Jean Paul Farrugia on the right but the latter’s shot was blocked into a corner. From the resulting corner by Failla, Tarabai’s header was partially saved by the Qormi goalkeeper with Farrugia just failing to connect off the rebound.
Qormi replied with a cross shot from the right by Leighton Grech which ended just over the bar on 61 minutes. A minute later, a through pass found Moises Avila Perez in an ideal position just outside the area but his conclusion was blocked by the Hibernians goalkeeper.
Hibs doubled the score on the 66th minute when off a Clayton Failla freekick from the right, Edison Luis dos Santos headed the ball past goalkeeper Farrugia.
To make matters worse for Qormi, Matthew Gauci received a second yellow card by referee Adrian Azzopardi for a foul just outside the area on the 73rd and was therefore sent off. From the resulting freekick, Andrew Cohen just missed the target.
Hibs missed an excellent opportunity to increase the lead further two minutes from time as substitute Jackson Lima, served by Tarabai from the right, hit incredibly high from an ideal position.
One minute in added time, Moises Avila Perez scored a consolation goal for the Paolites beating Daniel Balzan with a fine shot from the left.
But it was not over yet as Jackson Lima, served by Bjorn Kristensen from the right, beat Matthew Farrugia on the 93rd minute to seal the issue.
Photos: Copyright © Joe Borg / MFA
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QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Kris Thackray, Roderick Sammut, Alfred Effiong (14′ Joseph Chetcuti), Moises Avila Perez, Luke Sciberras, Matthew Gauci, Edison Bilbao Zarate, Duncan Pisani, Jonathan Bondin, Leighton Grech (80′ Matthew Bartolo).
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Triston Caruana, Alessio Cassar, Christian Cassar, Dylan Pirotta.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
Asst Coach: Joe Brincat
HIBS Daniel Balzan, Ryan Camilleri, Jonathan Pearson (64′ Adrian Pulis), Rodolfo Soares, Marcelo Dias (58′ Jackson di Lima Siqueira), Andrew Cohen, Clayton Failla, Bjorn Kristensen, Zoran Levnajic, Jean Paul Farrugia, Edison Luis dos Santos (89′ Obinna Obiefule).
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Allan Kardeck dos Santos, Keith Tanti, Ayrton Azzopardi.
Coach: Michael Woods
Asst. Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Adrian Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Roberto Vella
Additional Assistant Referees: Esther Azzopardi, Andre Arciola
Fourth Official: Thomas Debono
Yellow Cards: Tarabai, Avila Perez, Gauci, Camilleri, Thackray
Red Cards: 73′ Matthew Gauci
Scorers: 53′ Edison Luis dos Santos, 66′ Edison Luis dos Santos, 90+1′ Moises Avila Perez, 90+3′ Jackson di Lima Siqueira