Hibernians registered a seventh consecutive win in the BOV Premier League thanks to a most comfortable 5-1 win over Naxxar Lions. The Paolites therefore move six points clear of second-placed Birkirkara.
For Naxxar, this was the fourth defeat in seven matches, remaining second from bottom on just three points.
With David Fenech and Sidney da Silva ruled out injured, Naxxar had one change from the team which drew with Floriana as new recruit Uzeh Edafe replaced the injured Pablo Doffo. Hibernians coach Branko Nisevic named Johann Bezzina and Rui da Gracia Gomes in the starting line-up, replacing Keith Tanti and Jackson Lima.
Hibernians took the lead on the 10th when off a Clayton Failla freekick, Andrew Cohen’s first attempt was blocked by a defender and off the rebound, his second attempt ended in the bottom left corner behind Julian Azzopardi.
Four mintues later, a diagonal shot by Jorge Pereira da Silva scraped past the post following a slight deflection with the ball ending into a corner. Naxxar replied with a Gilmar effort which was partially saved by Henry Bonello on 23 minutes. Then late in the first half, the Naxxar goalkeeper was prominent with a fine save into a corner on a Tarabai header following a cross by Failla from the left.
Ten minutes in the second half, Hibs doubled the score thanks to Edison Luis dos Santos who slotted the ball past the Naxxar goalkeeper following a good move by Andrew Cohen on the left.
Two minutes later, Tarabai was again on target heading the ball home when served by Clayton Failla from the left.
On the 64th minute, Hibernians were awarded a penalty after Jorge da Silva Pereira was brought down inside the area by Uzeh Edafe. From the penalty spot, Clayton Failla converted.
Clayton Failla scored the fifth goal on the 70th with a powerful rising shot when served by Bjorn Kristensen on the left.
Eight minutes from time, Naxxar scored a consolation goal thanks to Gilmar whose powerful drive gave Jurgen Borg no chance after a first attempt by substitute Duane Bonnici was blocked by the goalkeeper.
HIBS Henry Bonello (68′ Jurgen Borg), Rui da Gracia Gomez (46′ Jonathan Pearson), Rodolfo Soares, Marcelo Dias (74′ Jackson di Lima Siqueira), Andrew Cohen, Bjorn Kristensen, Johann Bezzina, Clayton Failla, Andrei Agius, Edison Luis dos Santos, Jorge da Silva Pereira.
Subs not used: Keith Tanti, Timothy Tabone Desira, Isaak Briffa, Jurgen Degabriele.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
NAXXAR Julian Azzopardi, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Mattia Del Negro, Christopher Uzeh Edafe, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Daren Falzon (71′ Victor Bellia), Pape Gueye, David Alejandro Reano (70′ Mbachu Uchenna Emenike), Andrew Scicluna, Terence Vella (81′ Duane Bonnici).
Subs not used: Luke Pecorella, Jurgen Debono, Ryan Mercieca, Yaron Sammut.
Coach: Winston Muscat
Referee: Chris Lautier
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, Thomas Debono
Additional Assistant Referees: Andre Arciola, Malcolm Spiteri
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Scicluna
Scorers: 10′ Andrew Cohen, 55′ Edison Luis dos Santos, 57′ Edison Luis dos Santos, 64′ Clayton Failla pen, 70′ Clayton Failla, 82′ Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro
BOV Player of the Match: Clayton Failla