Hibernians and Birkirkara missed the opportunity to join Balzan in second place as they shared the spoils in a 1-1 draw at the National Stadium on Sunday.
The two teams therefore continue to share the third place, three points behind leaders Valletta and two behind Balzan.
Birkirkara had three changes from the team which defeated Sliema as Nikola Vukanac, Ryan Camenzuli and Marcelina Emerson replaced Cain Attard, Juan Quero Barraso and Vito Plut. On the other hand, the Paolites had Jonathan Pearson and Gilmar Ribeiro replacing Rodolfo Soares and Denni.
Hibernians took the lead on the 19th minute thanks to a powerful drive by Jorge Santos Silva, served by Cohen and anticipating Nikola Vukanac, which gave Justin Haber no chance.
Birkirkara levelled matters just before half-time when off a cross by Mauricio Mazzetti from the left, goalkeeper Jurgen Borg blocked, Liliu’s attempt off the rebound was partially saved by the Hibs custodian and Ryan Camenzuli slammed the ball home.
HIBS Jurgen Borg, Rui da Gracia Gomes, Jonathan Pearson, Jackson di Lima Siqueira, Marcelo Dias, Andrew Cohen (84′ Jurgen Degabriele), Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla (47′ Joseph Mbong), Andrei Agius, Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro, Jorge Santos Silva (45′ Denni Rocha dos Santos).
Subs not used: Rudy Briffa, Rodolfo Soares, Zach Scerri, Dunstan Vella.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
B’KARA Justin Haber, Zach Muscat, Nikola Vukanac, Mauricio Mazzetti, Marcelina Emerson, Joseph Zerafa, Ryan Camenzuli, Paul Fenech (83′ Edmond Agius), Rowen Muscat, Fabrizio Miccoli, Ellinton Antonio Costa Morais (73′ Vito Plut).
Subs not used: Ini Etim Akpan, Cain Attard, Kurt Zammit, Gareth Sciberras.
Coach: Giovanni Tedesco
Referee: Marco Borg
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Sammy Attard
Additional Assistant Referees: Fyodor Zammit, Philip Farrugia
Fourth Official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Mazzetti, Z. Muscat, Dias, Lima
Scorers: 19′ Jorge Santos Silva, 45′ Ryan Camenzuli
BOV Player of the Match: Ryan Camenzuli