Ten-man Hibernians came back from two goals down to beat Sliema Wanderers 3-2 to extend their unbeaten run to twenty-nine matches and move nine points clear of Valletta and ten ahead of Birkirkara.
It was a most dramatic win for the Paolites as after going one goal down and having a player sent off, a second goal for the Wanderers seemed to put Stephen Azzopardi’s side comfortably in control. However Hibernians had other thoughts and after hitting twice between the 69th and 73rd, captain Andrew Cohen notched the winner deep into stoppage time.
Sliema took the lead on the 8th minute when off a Pedrinho freekick, there was a short clearance, Alex Muscat crossed and Filippo Andrea Scozzese placed the ball at the back of the net from close range.
Ten minutes later, the Paolites were reduced to ten men after a headbutting incident by Rui da Gracia Gomes on Mateus Ribeiro dos Santos.
On the 25th, Michael Mifsud caught Henry Bonello out of place but his shot from midfield scraped past the post. A minute later, a fierce shot by Jorginho from the left was parried by Glenn Zammit.
Hibs were unlucky not to equalise with an Andrew Cohen freekick which hit the crossbar on 36 minutes.
A freekick by Jorginho ended just over the bar twelve minutes in the second half.
A minute later, Sliema doubled the score thanks to a swift counter-attack which saw Michael Mifsud receive a through pass on the right by Aidan Friggieri before slotting the ball past the Hibernians goalkeeper.
Hibernians went close to reducing the gap on 68 minutes with an Andrew Cohen effort which was neutralised by Zammit following a freekick by Clayton Failla.
A minute later, Bjorn Kristensen pulled one back with a low shot from outside the area which ended in the bottom left corner behind Zammit, when served by Jorginho.
The Paolites equalised on the 73rd minute when they were awarded a penalty after Cohen was brought down inside the area; from the penalty spot, Clayton Failla converted.
Nine minutes from time, Cohen sent Jorginho through but the latter’s powerful shot was blocked by the Sliema goalkeeper.
Three minutes in added time, Hibs notched the winner when a cross from the left created havoc inside the penalty area and Andrew Cohen placed the ball at the back of the net from close range.
HIBS Henry Bonello, Rui da Gracia Gomes, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Rodolfo Soares, Andrew Cohen, Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla, Luis Andre De Melo Lima (46′ Marcelo Dias), Andrei Agius, Jorge da Silva Pereira, Jean Paul Farrugia.
Subs not used: Jurgen Borg, Keith Tanti, Jonathan Pearson, Jurgen Degabriele, Johann Bezzina, Joseph Mbong.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
SLIEMA Glen Zammit, Alex Muscat (14′ Trevor Cilia), Filippo Andrea Scozzese, Mark Scerri, Michael Mifsud, Djumo Bocar (80′ John Mintoff), Clifford Gatt Baldacchino, Mateus Ribeiro dos Santos, Aidan Jake Friggieri, Pedro dos Santos Calcado (89′ Beppe Muscat), Stefano Bianciardi.
Subs not used: Sam Bartolo, Luca Martinelli, Peter Xuereb.
Coach: Stephen Azzopardi
Referee: Esther Azzopardi
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, Jurgen Spiteri
Additional Assistant Referees: Adrian Azzopardi, Sandro Spiteri
Fourth Official: Tristin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Scerri, Mifsud, Jorginho, Mateus Ribeiro, Scozzese, Pedrinho, Luis Andre, Kristensen, Failla, Bocar, Farrugia, Cohen
Red Cards: 18′ Rui da Gracia
Scorers: 8′ Filippo Andrea Scozzese, 58′ Michael Mifsud, 70′ Bjorn Kristensen, 73′ Clayton Failla pen, 90+3′ Andrew Cohen
BOV Player of the Match: Andrew Cohen