Eleventh consecutive win for Hibernians

Leaders Hibernians registered an eleventh consecutive league win to extend their unbeaten run to nineteen matches as they beat Balzan 4-0.

For fourth-placed Balzan, this was a first defeat after five positive results.

With Rui da Gracia Gomes ruled out due to international duty, Hibs had two changes as Johann Bezzina and Marcelo Dias replaced Joseph Mbong and Jackson Lima. Balzan lacked the suspended Clive Brincat but welcomed back Oscar Guerrero after serving a two-match ban and was drafted in the starting line-up along with Samir Arab as Lydon Micallef started the game on the bench.

The Paolites maintained the Balzan defence under constant pressure in the early stages but the best opportunity fell at the feet of Jorge Pereira on the half-hour when he entered the penalty area but his low shot was blocked by the Balzan goalkeeper.

Three minutes later, Hibs took the lead when off a freekick from the left by Rodolfo Soares, Edison Luis dos Santos headed the ball home.

Two minutes in the second half, Andrew Cohen hit the crossbar with a direct freekick from the left.

Hibs doubled the score on 59 minutes when a freekick by Tarabai Santos was partially saved by Sultana and off the rebound, Andrew Cohen placed the ball at the back of the net.

To make matters worse for Balzan, Elkin Serrano was sent off on the 65th after receiving a second yellow card for a foul just outside the area.

Jorginho concluded a good run on the right with a diagonal shot which however scraped past the post on 73 minutes.

The Paolites increased the lead on 85 minutes when off a great move between Joseph Mbong and Tarabai Santos, the ball reached Jorge Pereira da Silva who controlled before slotting past Steve Sultana.

Two minutes later, Hibs added another when Jurgen Degabriele, who had just replaced Andrew Cohen, beat the Balzan goalkeeper with a shot from the right.

HIBS Henry Bonello, Jonathan Pearson, Rodolfo Soares, Marcelo Dias (79′ Joseph Essien Mbong), Andrew Cohen (86′ Jurgen Degabriele), Bjorn Kristensen (69′ Jackson di Lima Siqueira), Clayton Failla, Johann Bezzina, Andrei Agius, Edison Luis dos Santos, Jorge da Silva Pereira.
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Keith Tanti, Zachary Scerri, Timothy Tabone Desira.
Coach: Branko Nisevic

BALZAN Steve Sultana, Justin Grioli, Steve Bezzina, Elkin Orlando Serrano Valero, Edison David Bilbao Zarate, Osa Ice-Cream Guobadia, Samir Arab, Oscar Dario Guerrero Alvarado, Jean Pierre Mifsud Triganza (64′ Lydon Micallef), Luke Sciberras (64′ Terence Agius), Gianmarco Piccioni.
Subs not used: Christian Cassar, Michael Borg, Ryan Darmanin, Godwin Mckay, Dylan Grima.
Coach: Oliver Spiteri

Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referee: Mitchell Scerri, Jurgen Spiteri
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann

Yellow Cards: Serrano, Zarate, Dias, Sciberras, Grioli
Red Cards: 65′ Elkin Serrano
Scorers: 33′ Edison Luis dos Santos, 59′ Andrew Cohen, 85′ Jorge Pereira da Silva, 87′ Jurgen Degabriele
BOV Player of the Match: Andrew Cohen