Hibernians returned to winning ways as they beat Vittoriosa Stars 5-1 at the Victor Tedesco Stadium to make sure to stay on top the BOV Premier League table.
Vittoriosa have now gone seven matches without a win as this was the fifth defeat in six matches.
Bjorn Kristensen was missing for the Paolites as he served a one-match ban. Vittoriosa, on the other hand, could not count on Ramon dos Santos and Marcio Teruel who will be leaving the club apart from the injured Sheldon Grech, Luke Velle Critien and Roberto Brincat.
Hibernians took the lead on the 15th minute thanks to a direct freekick from the right by Clayton Failla which gave goalkeeper Sean Cini no chance.
The Paolites went close once again on 34 minutes with a Rodolfo Soares header off a Jackson Lima corner. Vittoriosa replied with a freekick by Oscar Guerrero ending high just before half-time.
Sean Cini performed a good save on a first-time effort by Sean Cini early in the second half.
However on the 53rd minute, the Paolites increased the lead thanks to a header by Andrew Cohen off a freekick by Jackson Lima from the left.
Hibernians made it 3-0 on 61 minutes thanks to a Clayton Failla penalty after awarded after Samir Arab brought Clayton Failla down inside the area.
Vittoriosa, however, pulled one back on 65 minutes thanks to a goal by Marcelo Pereira.
Hibs restored a three-goal lead on 77 minutes through Edison Luis dos Santos who slotted the ball past Cini following a good solo effort.
Four minutes from time, Edison Luis dos Santos scored a fifth goal when he received a pass by Andrew Cohen, controlled the ball before hitting past Sean Cini.
Hibernians were awarded another penalty on the 90th minute but this time, Clayton Failla’s effort from the penalty spot was neutralised by the Vittoriosa custodian.
HIBS Mario Muscat, Ryan Camilleri, Jonathan Pearson (70′ Matthew Bartolo), Rodolfo Soares (83′ Obinna Obiefule), Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Marcelo Dias (70′ Brandon Muscat), Clayton Failla, Zoran Levnajic, Andrew Cohen, Edison Luis dos Santos, Jean Paul Farrugia.
Subs not used: Daniel Balzan, Scott Chircop, Timothy Tabone Desira, Jurgen Degabriele.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
VITTORIOSA Sean Cini, Adam Spiteri (72′ Olawafunmi Omoboy Ebiesuwa), Malcolm Buttigieg (82′ Liam Gauci), Clive Spiteri, Siraj Arab Eddin (63′ Gilbert Martin), Clive Brincat, Oscar Guerrero, Marcelo Pereira, Samir Arab, Jose Filipe Aguiar, Michael Camilleri.
Subs not used: Jean Matthias Vella, Justin Camilleri, Ryan Mifsud, Mark Barbara.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri
Referee: Glenn Tonna
Assistant Referees: Chris Francalanza, Duncan Sultana
Fourth Official: Sandro Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Cini, Brincat, Levnajic, Guerrero, Pearson
Scorers: 15′ Clayton Failla, 53′ Andrew Cohen, 61′ Clayton Failla pen, 65′ Marcelo Pereira, 77′ Edison Luis dos Santos, 86′ Edison Luis dos Santos
BOV Player of the Match: Clayton Failla
Meanwhile Sliema Wanderers dropped two important points in a 2-2 draw with Naxxar Lions.
The Blues lacked Mark Scerri, Abubakar Bello-Osagie and Stanley Ohawuchi. Louis Cutajar was missing for Naxxar.
Sliema took the lead after just five minutes when off a freekick by Trevor Cilia from the left, Pape Gueye headed the ball down for Alex Muscat to tap home.
A freekick by Barbetti was neutralised by Julian Azzopardi on the 8th and on the other side of the pitch, a Pablo Doffo freekick ended just over the bar.
The Wanderers doubled the score on the 15th when Trevor Cilia headed the ball home off a cross by John Mintoff and an assist by Pape Gueye.
Two minutes later, Naxxar reduced the gap when Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro released Andre Rocha Da Silva inside the penalty area and the latter’s powerful shot ended at the back of the net.
Naxxar levelled matters on the 59th minute when Evaldo Silva Dos Santos’ first timer, off a Pablo Doffo freekick from the right, gave Henry Bonello no chance.
Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro went close on 62 minutes concluding just high off a pass by Jerry Ani. On the other side of the pitch, Ivan Woods hit the upright and off the rebound, Paltemio Barbetti hit high. To make matters worse for Sliema, Alessandro Rapino was sent off on 73 minutes.
Naxxar inserted Ousseni Zongo and Terence Scerri as they aimed for the winning goal but the best attempt fell at the feet of Ousseni Zongo whose powerful diagonal shot ended inches wide past the upright.
SLIEMA Henry Bonello, Alex Muscat, Jacob Borg, Alessandro Rapino, John Mintoff, Trevor Cilia (80′ Clifford Gatt Baldacchino), Pape Gueye (46′ Ivan Woods), Paltemio Barbetti, Matias Muchardi, Beppe Muscat (65′ Andrea Navarra), Stefano Bianciardi.
Subs not used: Glenn Zammit, Carl Cassar, Axl Xuereb, Gabriel Aquilina.
Coach: Alfonso Greco
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Jeremiah Ani (69′ Terence Scerri), Mattia Del Negro, Marlon Briffa (83′ Victor Bellia), Angus Buhagiar, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Pablo Doffo, Thiago Lopes de Souza, Andre Rocha da Silva (75′ Ousseni Zongo), Evaldo Silva dos Santos.
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Jurgen Debono, Andrew Decesare, Daren Falzon.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Referee: Paul Caruana
Assistant Referees: Ingmar Spiteri, Albert Borg Cardona
Additional Assistant Referees: Adrian Azzopardi, Trustin Farrugia Cann
Fourth Official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Rapino, Doffo
Red Cards: 73’ Alessandro Rapino (S).
Scorers: 5’ Alex Muscat (S), 15’ Trevor Cilia (S), 16’ Andre Rocha Da Silva (N), 59’ Evaldo Silva Dos Santos
BOV Player of the Match: Gilmar Da Silva Ribeiro