Leaders Hibernians extended their positive record thanks to a most comfortable 5-0 win over Floriana. A win which puts Branko Nisevic’s side thirteen points clear following Birkirkara’s 3-4 defeat to Pietà.
The Greens definitely expected something better from this game after winning two of the previous three matches, including a 2-1 win over Birkirkara but this time, Hibernians were far too superior.
Nisevic kept faith in the same players that had started the last game against Balzan. Floriana coach Giovanni Tedesco also named the same line-up following the fine win over Birkirkara.
The Greens went close after just two minutes with Vito Plut’s diagonal shot when served by Conor Borg, scraping past the post.
However on the 4th minute, the Paolites took the lead wehn off a corner from the left by Clayton Failla, Bjorn Kristensen headed the ball down and Edison Luis dos Santos flicked the ball past goalkeeper Valerio Senatore after Nfollowing a corner from the left by Clayton Failla.
Five minutes later, Hibernians doubled the score when off a cross by Johann Bezzina from the left, Tarabai served to Jorge Pereira da Silva who placed the ball at the back of the net from close range.
Three minutes from the end of the first half, the score was 3-0 after Douglas Cobo lost the ball to Clayton Failla just outside the area and the Malta international had the first attempt blocked by Senatore but off the rebound, he rifled the ball past the Floriana goalkeeper.
Five minutes in the second half, Hibs scored the fourth goal when Kristensen served Tarabai inside the area and the Brazilian striker intelligently served Jorge Pereira da Silva who rounded a player before hitting hard past the Floriana goalkeeper.
Hibernians increased the lead further on 65 minutes when off a Clayton Failla freekick from the right, Andrew Cohen headed the ball home.
HIBS Henry Bonello, Rui da Gracia Gomes, Rodolfo Soares (80′ Jonathan Pearson), Marcelo Dias (70′ Jackson di Lima Siqueira), Andrew Cohen, Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla, Johann Bezzina, Andrei Agius, Edison Luis dos Santos, Jorge Pereira da Silva (71′ Jurgen Degabriele).
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Keith Tanti, Dunstan Vella, Joseph Essien Mbong.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
FLORIANA Valerio Senatore, Andre Scicluna, Douglas Felipe Cobo Moreira (46′ Emerson Marcelina), Steve Pisani, Clyde Borg (46′ Brooke Farrugia), Vito Plut (74′ Giovanni Galea), Matteo Piciollo, Conor Borg, Emanuel Briffa, Amadou Samb, Steve Bonnici.
Subs not used: Andrew Zammit, Luke Micallef, Neil Spiteri, Isaac Galea.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Sammy Attard
Fourth Official: Chris Lautier
Yellow Cards: Clyde Borg, Soares, Cobo, Samb
BOV Player of the Match: Edison Luis dos Santos
Attendance at the Hibernians Stadium: 751
Meanwhile at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, Michael Mifsud scored his first goal for Sliema Wanderers as the Blues returned to winning ways, defeating Tarxien Rainbows 2-0.
With Paltemio Barbetti and Filippo Andrea Scozzese ruled out through suspension, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino injured and with Filippo Talato starting on the bench, Sliema coach Stephen Azzopardi handed the debut to Portuguese striker Bocar Djumo, who is on loan from Inter, and named Peter Xuereb and Beppe Muscat in the starting line-up. Tarxien, on the other hand, had two changes as Manuel Caruana and Clebinho were preferred to Matthew Tabone and Alvaro Silva Branquinho.
Goal-mouth action was rare, especially during the first half with the only serious goal-scoring opportunity being a diagonal shot by Carlos Menendez Hevia which hit the upright on the 20th.
Early in the second half, a shot from just outside the area by Clebinho was well-saved by Glenn Zammit and a few minutes later, Sean Mintoff performed a good save on Bocar Djumo.
The Wanderers managed to break the deadlock on 63 minutes thanks to Michael Mifsud who concluded a solo effort with a powerful diagonal shot from outside the area which gave Mintoff no chance.
On the 78th, Mifsud almost doubled the score, when served by Gnabouyou, but was unlucky to hit the posts.
However Sliema were not to be denied on 81 minutes as Fabio Mangiacasale doubled the score with a low shot which beat the Tarxien goalkeeper.
SLIEMA Glenn Zammit, Luca Martinelli, Bocar Djumo (89’ Filippo Talato), Guy Gnabouyou (90’ Trevor Cilia), John Mintoff, Mark Scerri, Michael Mifsud (90+2′ Clive Psaila), Peter Xuereb, Fabio Mangiacasale, Beppe Muscat, Stefano Bianciardi.
Subs: Daniel Balzan, Iousef Meli, Aiden Friggieri, Carl Cassar.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
TARXIEN Sean Mintoff, Manuel Caruana, Owen Bugeja (83’ Matthew Tabone), Cleber Barbosa Viana, Triston Caruana (46’ Kane Paul Farrugia), Wesley Lima Silva, Ryan Sammut, Carlos Hevia Menendez, Alexander Cini, Alessandro Lopes Pereira (71’ Alvaro Andre Rodrigues Silva), Jorge Santos Silva.
Subs not used: Sean Cini, Steven Marc Sadowski, Manuel Xerri, Matthew Tabone, Luke Aquilina
Coach: Clive Mizzi
Referee: Philip Farrugia
Assistant Referees: Alan Camilleri, David Castillo
Fourth Official: Alan Mario Sant
Yellow cards: B. Muscat, M. Caruana, Menendez Hevia
Scorers: 63’ Michael Mifsud 81’ Fabio Mangiacasale
BOV Player of the Match : Michael Mifsud
Attendence at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 585