Birkirkara made sure of staying ahead of Valletta before next Saturday’s decisive clash as they defeated Hibernians 4-1 to move temporarily five points ahead of the Citizens who will be facing Balzan on Monday.
Photo: Copyright © Paul Zammit Cutajar
The Stripes welcomed back Joseph Zerafa after serving a two-match ban. Hibernians, on the other hand, lacked Scott Chircop.
Birkirkara showed their true intentions from the kick off and immediately took possession of the midfield. A freekick by Matheus Bissi found no takers and ended up wide past the upright on the 16th. Four minutes later, Jackson Lima’s scorcher from the 30 metres ended a little bit high over the crossbar. On the 23rd, a cross by Edward Herrera was deflected by the goalkeeper and off the rebound, Haruna Shola Shodiya hit high from in front of an empty net.
Four minutes later, Birkirkara took the lead when a cross from the right by Herrera was deflected by the goalkeeper and Jhonnattan Benites da Conceicao hit the ball home.
Nine minutes in teh second half, off a through pass by Matheus Bissi from the centre to Jhonnattann, the ball was intercepted by Failla who cleared to safety before the nippy striker could do any damage.
The Stripes doubled the score on 61 minutes when off an inviting freekick by Jhonnattann, Zach Muscat’s magnificent header beat Daniel Balzan.
To make matters worse for the Paolites, Obinna Obiefule was sent off by referee Mario Apap on the 73rd.
Birkirkara scored the third goal on 74 minutes when a screamer by Edward Herrera left the Hibernians goalkeeper astounded as the ball hit the bar before ending at the back of the net.
Eight minutes from time, Ryan Scicluna’s through pass brought Jhonnattan Benites da Conceicao in an ideal position to score and the Birkirkara striker dribbled past the onrushing Hibernians keeper and placed the ball into an empty net.
Hibernians scored a consolation goal on the 87th minute when off a cross by Failla from the left, Jackson di Lima Siqueira connected well, placing the ball past Haber.
HIBERNIANS Daniel Balzan, Timothy Tabone Desira (83’ Jurgen Degabriele), Igor Radusinovic, Jonathan Pearson, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Bjorn Kristensen (68’ Andrew Cohen), Zoran Levnaic, Clayton Failla, Obinna Obiefule, Edison Luis dos Santos, Jean Paul Farrugia (68’ Johann Bezzina).
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Ryan Camilleri, Matthew Bartolo, Brandon Muscat.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
BIRKIRKARA Justin Haber, Zach Muscat, Nikola Vukanac, Matheus Bissi, Joseph Zerafa, Rowen Muscat (83’ Frank Temile), Paul Fenech (71’ Gareth Sciberras), Ryan Scicluna, Haruna Shola Shodiya, Edward Herrera (76’ Ryan Camenzuli), Jhonnattann Benites da Conceicao.
Subs not used: Reuben Gauci, Daniel Zerafa, Terence Vella, Ronaille Calheira Seara.
Coach: Paul Zammit
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Sammy Attard
Fourth Official: Paul Caruana
Yellow Cards: N. Vukanac, Tarabai
Red Cards: 73’ Obinna Obieule
Scorers: 27’ Jhonnattann Benites, 61’ Zach Muscat, 74’ Edward Herrera, 82’ Jhonnattann Benites, 87’ Jackson di Lima Siqueira
BOV Player of the Match: Edward Herrera (Birkirkara)
Meanwhile in a match from the Relegation Pool, Tarxien Rainbows secured their Premier League status thanks to a most comfortable 7-1 win over Rabat Ajax.
The Rainbows managed to take the lead on the 8th minute when they were awarded a penalty after David Azzopardi floored William Barbosa inside the area. From the penalty spot, Demba Toure converted.
Tarxien doubled the score on 16 minutes thanks to Jorge Santos Silva who concluded a good move on the right with a shot which gave Jonathan Azzopardi no chance.
Six minutes later, Steve Bonnici made it 3-0, heading the ball home when served by Jorge Santos Silva.
William Barbosa increased the lead further on 28 minutes with a rising shot from the left.
Six minutes from the end of the first half, William Barbosa served Demba Toure who hit low past the Rabat custodian.
But the first half was not over yet as on the 42nd minute, Karl Pulo scored the sixth goal when off a cross from the left by Carlo Mamo, he slotted the ball past Azzopardi.
Three minutes in the second half, Daniel Mariano Bueno made it 7-0, flicking the ball past Azzopardi, off a corner by Karl Pulo.
The Magpies scored a consolation goal on the 70th when off a cross from the right by Aidan Azzopardi, Diego Carrillo controlled the ball before hitting past Nicky Vella.
TARXIEN Nicky Vella, Carlo Mamo, Luca Martinelli, Demba Toure (51′ Nigel Vella I), William Barbosa, Carlos Menendez Hevia, Daniel Mariano Bueno, Karl Pulo, Josef Mifsud (46′ Steve Sadowski), Steve Bonnici, Jorge Santos Silva (51′ Nigel Vella II).
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Fernando Lopez Alcantara, Miguel Ciantar, Ryan Sammut.
Coach: Clive Mizzi
RABAT Jonathan Azzopardi, Shaun Gauci, David Azzopardi, Ivan Carapic, Zachary Tanti, Patrick Borg, Jonathan Bajada (21′ Aidan Azzopardi), Joseph Caruana, Ryan Micallef (60′ Sorin Oproiescu), Malcolm Licari, Diego Carrillo Pendas.
Subs not used: Pavle Velimirovic, Chris Vella, Jamie Muscat, Etienne Scicluna, Stefan Cortis.
Coach: Steve D’Amato
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Albert Borg Cardona
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: D. Azzopardi, Jorge Santos
Scorers: 8′ Demba Toure pen, 16′ Jorge Santos Silva, 22′ Steve Bonnici, 28′ William Barbosa, 39′ Demba Toure, 42′ Karl Pulo, 48′ Daniel Mariano Bueno, 70′ Diego Carrillo
BOV Player of the Match: William Barbosa
Attendance at Hibernians Stadium: 636