Hibernians moved to just one point behind leaders Balzan after defeating Tarxien Rainbows 2-1 in the derby at the National Stadium on Saturday.
Tarxien had four changes from the team which drew with Balzan as Matthew Tabone, Kurt Zammit, Dylan Micallef, Julian Galea replaced the suspended Ebiabowei Baker, Emerson Marcelina, Daniel Ponce de Leon and Alex Nilsson. For Hibernians, Johann Bezzina and Joseph Mbong were preferred to Dunstan Vella and Juan Manuel Varea.
The Paolites took the lead six minutes from the end of the first half when off a cross from the right by Joseph Mbong, Jurgen Degabriele’s low shot was blocked by a defender and off the rebound, Jackson di Lima Siqueira whose low shot beat Andrea Cassar.
Tarxien equalised five minutes in the second half when they were awarded a penalty after Andrei Agius tripped Julian Galea inside the area; from the penalty spot, Triston Caruana converted.
Hibs regained the lead on the 72th minute when Jorge da Silva Pereira concluded a good run with a rising shot which gave goalkeeper Andrea Cassar no chance.
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TARXIEN Andrea Cassar, Daniel Zerafa, Matthew Tabone, Sacha Borg, Alex da Paixao Alves, Triston Caruana, Kurt Zammit (66’ Andrew Agius), Sergio Fernandez Prendez, Dylan Micallef (76’ Eloy Edu Nkene), Claudio Daniel Frances, Julian Galea
Subs not used: Philip Schranz, Matthew Brincat, Luke Zahra, Matthew Degiorgio, Mauro Hammett.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
HIBS Andrew Hogg, Rodolfo Soares, Marcelo Dias, Jackson Da Lima Siquero, Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla, Joseph Mbong (88’ Timothy Tabone Desira), Jorge Da Silva Pereira, Jurgen Degabriele (68’ Renan Pimenta Telles), Johann Bezzina (46’ Andrew Cohen), Andrei Agius.
Subs not used: Rudy Briffa, Juan Manuel Varea, Dunstan Vella, Kyle O’Brien.
Coach: Mark Miller
Referee: Clayton Pisani
Assistant referees: Camilleri, Christopher Francalanza
Fourth Official: Etienne Mangion
Yellow Cards: Lecao
Scorers: 39’ Jackson Lima, 50’ Triston Caruana (pen), 72’ Jorge da Silva Pereira
BOV Player of the Match: Jorge Da Silva Pereira
Renato Vella reporting from the National Stadium
Meanwhile at the Victor Tedesco Stadium, St. Andrews collected three precious points in a narrow win over Gzira United.
This was the second consecutive win for St. Andrews and the fourth successive defeat for the Maroons.
The Saints had no changes from the team which drew with Valletta while for Gzira, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino was named in the starting line-up instead of Jacob Borg.
St. Andrews scored the all-important goal on the 20th minute when off a cross by Ziga Kastrevec from the right, Godwin Mckay slotted the ball past goalkeeper Jurgen Borg.
ST. ANDREWS Jake Galea, Michael Johnson, Karlo Kesinovic, Bong Won Che, Felix Udooh Okon, Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre, Godwin Mckay (85′ Jacob Walker), Joseph Farrugia, Dale Camilleri, Ivan Edgardo Paz (46′ Kyrian Nwoko), Ziga Kastrevec (76′ Nenad Belacevic).
Subs not used: Dean Sciberras, Ryan Sammut, Liam Grech, Ryan Darmanin.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
GZIRA Jurgen Borg, Rafael Pompeo Rodrigues Ledesma, Gianmarco Contin, Antonio de Queiroz Machedon Neto, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino (82′ Jacob Borg), Moises Avila Perez, Jonathan Bondin, Zachary Scerri (74′ Karl Pulo), Souleymane Diamoutene, Yanis Tonna (73′ John Nwoba).
Subs not used: Jamie Azzopardi, Salvatore Grixti, Andre White.
Coach: Branko Nisevic
Referee: Eman Grech
Assistant Referees: Jurgen Spiteri, Chris Azzopardi
Fourth Official: Fyodor Zammit
Yellow Cards: Camilleri, Johnson, Galea
Scorers: 20′ Godwin Mckay
BOV Player of the Match: Dale Camilleri