Clayton Failla and Edison Luis dos Santos were on target once again as Hibernians defeated Naxxar Lions 2-0 to register the seventeenth win in eighteen matches. This was the twentieth goal for BOV Premier League leading scorer Tarabai.
For Naxxar, this was the third consecutive defeat, leaving them in joint-eighth place with Qormi.
With Julian Azzopardi, Daren Falzon and Albert Bruce ruled out through suspension, David Alejandro Reano and Uchenna Emenike Mbachu released earlier this week, Naxxar had five changes from the team which lost to Floriana as Luke Pecorella, Victor Bellia, Gilmar, David Fenech, the returning Angus Buhagiar and debutante Jorge Santos Silva.
Hibs once again lacked Rui de Gracia Gomez and had Joseph Mbong and Bjorn Kristensen replacing Timothy Tabone Desira and Johann Bezzina from the team which defeated Zebbug last week.
After a quiet start, Hibernians had the opportunity to take the lead on 24 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Andrew Scicluna floored Tarabai inside the area but Clayton Failla’s effort was superbly turned into a corner by Luke Pecorella.
However four minutes later, Clayton Failla was not to be denied as his direct freekick from the right gave the Naxxar goalkeeper no chance.
Three minutes in the second half, Tarabai caught the Naxxar goalkeeper out of place after rushing to the edge of the area but the Paolites’ striker effort was cleared off the goal line by Andrew Scicluna.
On the hour, Hibernians doubled the score thanks to Edison Luis dos Santos who tapped the ball home from close range following an inviting pass by Bjorn Kristensen from the right.
NAXXAR Luke Pecorella, Andrew Scicluna, Emmanuel Ibok Edet, Victor Bellia (74′ Duane Bonnici), Terence Vella, Mattia Del Negro, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Pablo Doffo, David Fenech, Angus Buhagiar, Jorge Santos Silva.
Subs not used: Slaven Micallef, Kurt Drago, Yaron Sammut, Ryan Gilmour Cassar, Jurgen Debono, Ryan Mercieca.
Coach: Jesmond Zerafa
HIBS Henry Bonello, Joseph Essien Mbong, Jonathan Pearson, Jackson di Lima Siqueira (73′ Johann Bezzina), Rodolfo Soares, Andrew Cohen (85′ Jurgen Degabriele), Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla, Andrei Agius, Edison Luis dos Santos (90′ Dunstan Vella), Jorge Pereira da Silva.
Jurgen Borg, Keith Tanti, Marcelo Dias, Clive Gauci.
CoachL Branko Nisevic.
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Jurgen Spiteri
Additional Assistant Referees: Fyodor Zammit, Malcolm Spiteri
Fourth Official: Edward Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Edet, Lima, Pearson
Scorers: 28′ Clayton Failla, 60′ Edison Luis dos Santos
BOV Player of the Match: Clayton Failla