Champions Hibernians found no difficulty in beating St. Andrews 4-0 at the Victor Tedesco Stadium on Friday.
The Saints had no less than eight players making their debut, namely Matthew Calleja Cremona, Adrian Borg, Matthew Gauci and foreigners Tristan Grant, Ricardo Martin, Nehemiah Perry, Kemmu Degran Jackson and Kevaughn Atkinson. On the other hand, Hibs had Austrian duo Marco Sahanek and Martin Kreuzriegler making their first league appearance while Brazilian striker Jorge Elias made his debut when he was included as a substitute after joining the club earlier this month.
Hibernians took the lead on the 9th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Marcelo Dias was brought down inside the area by Ricardo Martin and from the penalty spot, Clayton Failla made no mistake.
The Paolites doubled the score five minutes from the end of the first half thanks to Andrei Agius who headed the ball home off a corner by Jackson Lima from the left.
Fourteen minutes in the second half, Hibs scored the third goal when off an assist by Marco Sahanek from the right, Jackson Lima hit past Calleja Cremona.
Clayton Failla converted another penalty on the 77th minute after Adrian Borg was adjudged by referee Eman Grech to have floored Dunstan Vella inside the area for what seemed to be a rather harsh decision.
HIBS Andrew Hogg, Rui da Gracia Gomes, Clayton Failla, Rodolfo Soares, Marcelo Dias, Jurgen Degabriele (65′ Jorge Elias), Bjorn Kristensen, Andrei Agius, Marco Sahanek, Joseph Mbong (78′ Martin Kreuzriegler), Jackson de Lima Siqueira (72′ Dunstan Vella).
Subs not used: Rudy Briffa, Daniel Buckle, David Xuereb, Connor Zammit.
Coach: Mark Miller
ST. ANDREWS Matthew Calleja Cremona, Enmy Pena Beltre, Tristan Grant, Adrian Borg, Matthew Gauci, Ricardo Martin (56′ Tano Azian), Joseph Farrugia, Aiden Friggieri (65′ Marcus Grima), Nehemiah Perry, Kemmy Degran Jackson, Kevaughn Atkinson.
Subs not used: Duncan Formosa, Dario Zampa, Liam Grech, Jacob Walker, Alex Satariano.
Coach: Danilo Doncic
Referee: Eman Grech
Assistant Referees: Duncan Sultana, Luke Portelli
Fourth Official: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Yellow Cards: Martin, Atkinson, Mbong
BOV Player of the Match: Jackson Lima
Attendance at the Victor Tedesco Stadium: 580
At the Centenary Stadium, Hamrun Spartans registered a fine 4-1 win over Tarxien Rainbows.
Both sides had several players making their debut, namely Jake Galea, Daniel Zerafa, Terence Agius and Brazilians Tiago Indigo, Arthur, Chico, Thiaguinho, Guilherme Batata and Leo making their debut for Hamrun; Andre Scicluna, Luke Grech, Sean Cipriott, Matthew Spiteri, James Brincat, Ryan Darmanin and foreigners Eduard Calin and Artur Benes for Tarxien.
Hamrun took the lead on the 18th minute when off a freekik by Chico, Tarxien’s Matthew Spiteri deflected the ball past goalkeeper Antonio Chetcuti for an own goal.
Three minutes from the end of the first half, Hamrun doubled the score with a powerful freekik by Francisco Manoel Marino Clavero ‘Chico’ which beat the Tarxien custodian.
Just before the end of the first half, Tarxien pulled one back through Ryan Darmanin who flicked the ball home following a cross.
Hamrun could have added another on the 64th minute when they were awarded a penalty after Guilherme Batata was brought down inside the area by Agius but Valerio Gomes Dos Santos ‘Leo’ had his penalty neutralised by Chetcuti into a corner.
Three minutes later, the Rainbows were reduced in ten men as Ryan Darmanin was sent off following a rough tackle on an opponent.
The Spartans took full advantage and added another two goals as on the 79th minute, Chico served Arthur Faria Machedo who hit home from close range and on the 90th minute, substitute Pedro Henrique Cortes Oliveira Gois headed home off a cross by Philip Chircop.
TARXIEN Antonio Chetcuti, Matthew Spiteri (32′ Matteo Desira Buttigieg), Luke Grech, Andre Scicluna, Artur Benes, Sean Cipriott (76′ Matthew Brincat), Eduard Marian Calin, James Brincat, Andrew Agius, Ayrton Azzopardi (90′ Matthew Sladden), Ryan Darmaninl
Subs not used: Dean Sciberras, Bradley Barbara, Arsene Cilia, Matthew Degiorgio.
Coach: Jose Borg
HAMRUN Jake Galea, Philip Circop, Daniel Zerafa, Terence Agius, Dale Camilleri (62′ Triston Caruana), Tiago Souza Da Silveira, Guilherme Felipe De Castro (81′ Julian Galea),Thiago Espindola De Paula, Arthur Faria Machado, Valerio Gomes Dos Santos (85′ Pedro Henrique Cortes Oliveira Gois), Francisco Manoel Marino Clavero
Subs not used: Steve Sultana, Jeremy Busuttil, Bradley Schembri, Karl Micallef.
Coach: Jacques Scerri
Referee: Mario Apap
Assistant Referees: Peter Abela, Christopher Francalanza
Fourth Official: Glenn Tonna
Yellow Cards: L. Grech, S. Cipriott, M. Desira Buttigieg, A. Azzopardi (T), P. Chircop (H)
Red Cards: 67′ Ryan Darmanin
BOV Player of the Match: Francisco Manoel Marino Clavero (H)
Attendance at the Centenary Stadium: 1,151