Hibernians extended their positive run at the top of the BOV Premier League table as they defeated Qormi 2-1 to maintain an eight-point lead over Birkirkara.
Qormi, on the other hand, suffer the eighth defeat in nine matches to remain anchored at the bottom of the table two points behind Naxxar, Pietà and Tarxien and three behind rivals Zebbug.
Hibs coach Branko Nisevic could not count on the suspended Marcelo Dias and Luis Andre.
Hibernians held the initiative right from the start, going close with a Clayton Failla freekick which was deflected by a defender before being saved by Matthew Farrugia on the 5th.
Six minutes later, off a cross from the right by Andrew Cohen, Edison Luis dos Santos flicked the ball past the Qormi goalkeeper to put Hibs ahead.
Jorginho almost doubled the score on 32 minutes but his final shot was slightly deflected into a corner. On the other side of the pitch, a Zoran Levnajic effort, off a freekick by Marcelinho, was parried by Henry Bonello two minutes from half-time.
Eight minutes in the second half, following a good run, Cohen served Tarabai who failed to connect with Cohen regaining possession and trying his luck with a diagonal shot which just missed the target. Matthew Farrugia performed a good save into a corner on a scissors-kick by Jorginho following a cross by Failla on 69 minutes.
Hibs doubled the score on 78 minutes when goalkeeper Matthew Farrugia failed to control a pass from half-pitch and Jorge Pereira da Silva slotted the ball home from outisde the area.
One minute from time, Qormi were awarded a penalty after Andrei Agius brought Duncan Pisani down inside the area; from the penalty spot, Alfred Effiong converted to pull one back.
Three minutes in added time, substitute Gustavo Villalobos almost shocked the Paolites with a good header but Henry Bonello stretched himself to stop the ball from ending at the back of the net.
HIBS Henry Bonello, Rui da Garcia Gomes, Jackson di Lima Siquiera, Rodolfo Soares, Andrew Cohen (90’ Jurgen Degabriele), Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla, Andrei Agius, Edison Luis dos Santos, Joseph Essien Mbong (79’ Jean Paul Farrugia), Jorge da Silva Pereira (82’ Marko Rajic).
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Keith Tanti, Jonathan Pearson, Johann Bezzina.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
QORMI Matthew Farrugia, Alejandro Mendoza Corujo, Marcelo Roberto Lima de Mattos, Steve Agius (34’ Leighton Grech), Joseph Chetcuti (77’ Bjorn Bondin), Alfred Effiong, Clifford Gauci, Zoran Levniac (67’ Gustavo Villalobos), Duncan Pisani, Jonathan Bondin, Billy Berntsson.
Subs not used: Mario Muscat, George Portelli, Ryan Micallef, Karl Sciortino.
Coach: Mark Miller
Referee: Mario Apap
Ass Referees: Michell Scerri, Christopher Francalanza
4th Official: Clayton Pisani
Yellow cards: Berntsson, Tarabai, Grech
Scorers: 11’ Edison Luis Dos Santos, 78’ Jorge Da Silva Pereira 89’ Alfred Effiong (pen)
BOV Player of the Match: Jorge da Silva Pereira