Hibernians defeated Birkirkara for the second time this season to stop the leaders from regaining a comfortable lead. In fact, Birkirkara lie just two points ahead of Valletta and the two teams cross swords in next Sunday’s big match.
It was a goal by Jackson Lima mid-way through the first half that gave Hibs three precious points which re-ignite the Paolites’ hopes of re-joining the challenge for the title as they now lie five points behind Valletta and seven behind Birkirkara.
Jurgen Borg, Ryan Camilleri and Zoran Levnajic were all missing for Hibernians while Birkirkara could not count on Rowen Muscat.
Hibernians took the lead on the 19th minute when Jean Paul Farrugia released Obinna Obiefule on the right and off the latter’s cross, Jackson di Lima Siqueira tapped the ball home from close range.
Birkirkara replied with a rising shot from the left which just missed the target on 37 minutes. Just before half-time, Scott Chircop came to the rescue blocking into a corner an attempt by Shola Shodiya.
Thirteen minutes in the second half, Jhonnattann had a freekick saved by Daniel Balzan aided by the upright while in a swift counter-attack for Hibernians, Zach Muscat came to the rescue clearing the ball into a corner.
Finally a fine freekick by Jhonnattann on the 90th was turned into a corner in style by Daniel Balzan.
B’KARA Justin Haber, Zach Muscat (81′ Terence Vella), Nikola Vukanac, Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, Joseph Zerafa (85′ Ryan Camenzuli), Edward Herrera, Gareth Sciberras, Paul Fenech, Ryan Scicluna (66′ Ronaille Calheira Seara), Haruna Shola Shodiya, Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao.
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, Matheus Bissi da Silva, Antoine Borg, Daniel Zerafa.
Coach: Paul Zammit
HIBS Daniel Balzan, Timothy Tabone Desira, Jonathan Pearson, Scott Chircop (94′ Brandon Muscat), Igor Radusinovic, Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla (91′ Jurgen Degabriele), Obinna Obiefule, Edison Luis dos Santos, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Jean Paul Farrugia (59′ Andrew Cohen).
Subs not used: Rudi Briffa, Neil Falzon, Matthew Bartolo, Johann Bezzina.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, David Castillo
Additional Assistant Referees: Andre Arciola, Trustin Farrugia Cann
Fourth Official: Chris Lautier
Yellow Cards: Kristensen, R. Scicluna, Chircop, Sciberras
Scorers: 19′ Jackson di Lima Siqueira
BOV Player of the Match: Igor Radusinovic