Hibernians scored twice in the second half to beat FCI Tallinn in the first leg of the first qualifying round of the UEFA Champions League at the Hibernians Stadium on Tuesday. A result which leaves a good chance for Mark Miller’s side to progress to the second qualifying round where a clash with Red Bull Salzburg awaits them.
The result is quite harsh on the visitors as Infonet Tallinn controlled the proceedings for most of the game but Hibs managed to score the goals that mattered and above all avoided conceding any goals.
Miller handed Andrei Agius an unusual role in midfield as Rui da Gracia Gomes was included n the starting line-up. Making his debut was Austrian attacking midfielder Marco Sahanek while Joseph Mbong made his return after his loan spell in Croatia when he was included as a substitute.
Photos: Copyright © Jonathan Bugeja
Hibernians soon received a cold shower when Swiss referee Fedayi San ordered a penalty on the 4th minute for what the referee adjudged that Rui da Gracia had committed a foul inside the area but Kirill Nestorov’s effort from the penalty spot was neutralised by Hogg.
The Paolites were constantly on the receiving end and on the half-hour, the visitors were unlucky not to take the lead with a Pavel Dõmov effort from outside the area which however hit the crossbar. Nine minutes later, Hogg had to rush out of the area to anticipate Kulinits who was heading towards goal following an inviting cross from the left.
Just before half-time, Jorginho’s close range header off a cross by Bezzina was deflected into a corner and from the resulting corner, the ball reached Bezzina whose cross was met by Kristensen with the latter’s header saved by the Estonian goalkeeper. A few seconds later, Jorginho hit just wide from inside the area.
Seventeen minutes in the second half, against the run of play, Hibs managed to break the deadlock when off a free kick by Marco Sahanek, Jorginho rose high to head home past Igonen.
The Paolites doubled the score on the 73rd minute when off a corner from the right by Sahanek, Bjorn Kristensen’s header was deflected by Aleksandr Volodin past the FCI Tallinn goalkeeper.
Five minutes from time, Joseph Mbong could have handed the Estonian side the killer blow but his conclusion from close range was parried by Igonen.
In stoppage time, Andrew Hogg performed a good save on Prosa to stop the visitors from reducing the gap while a good move left by Mbong ended with an assist for Jurgen Degabriele whose shot from the right was parried by the Estonian goalkeeper. Finally a Joseh Mbong effort from the edge of the area was deflected into a corner with Rodolfo Soares’ goal-bound header from the resulting corner by Bezzina was cleared off the goal line by a defender.
The second leg will be played at the A. Le Coq Arena in Tallinn on Tuesday 4th July.[gallery_bank type=”images” format=”masonry” title=”true” desc=”false” responsive=”true” display=”all” sort_by=”sort_order” animation_effect=”bounce” album_title=”true” album_id=”60″]
HIBS Andrew Hogg, Rui da Gracia Gomes, Jackson Lima (90+3′ Dunstan Vella), Rodolfo Soares, Marcelo Dias, Bjorn Kristensen, Clayton Failla, Johann Bezzina, Andrei Agius, Jorginho (90+1′ Jurgen Degabriele), Marco Sahanek (77’ Joseph Mbong).
FCI TALLINN Matvei Igonen, Roman Nesterovski (38’ Andrei Kalimullin), Vladimir Avilov, Aleksandr Volodin, Jevgeni Harin (83’ Sergei Tumasyan), Kirill Nestorov (79’ Vladimir Voskoboinikov), Aleksandr Kulinitš, Pavel Dõmov, Dmitri Kruglov, Aleksandr Dmitrijev, Albert Prosa.
Referee: Fedayi San (SUI)
Assistant Referees: Stephane de Almeida, Carmine Sangiovanni (SUI)
Fourth Official: Sascha Amhof (SUI)