A goal by Jake Grech enabled Hibernians to claim three important points in a narrow win over Gzira United at the National Stadium on Sunday. This meant that Gzira lost their unbeaten record after nine wins and seven draws in the first sixteen matches.
The Paolites therefore kept the pace with Valletta, re-joining them on top on 40 points. Gzira now trail by six points and are followed by Hamrun who lie just one point behind.
The Maroons, who were coming from three consecutive draws, have now won just one of their last six matches.
Jake Grech scored the all important goal on the 36th minute when Haber could only save partially a cross by Joseph Mbong from the right and the former Hamrun and Birkirkara midfielder placed the ball at the back of the net.
The Maroons were reduced to ten men on the 90th after a reckless tackle by Fernando Barbosa on an opponent earned him a second yellow card.
HIBS Marko Jovicic, Dunstan Vella, Nemanja Radojevic, Marcio Barbosa da Silveira, Joseph Mbong, Jake Grech (82′ David Xuereb), Jurgen Degabriele (88′ Timothy Tabone Desira), Bjorn Kristensen, Taylon Nicolas Correa Marcolino (68′ Marco Sahanek), Andrei Agius, Tiago Adan Fonseca.
Subs not used: Rudy Briffa, Connor Zammit, Rafael Tardini Montiero, Andrei Spiteri.
Asst. Coach: Ryan Pulis
GZIRA Justin Haber, Nikolai Muscat (65′ Sacha Borg), Zachary Scerri, Rodolfo Soares, Andrew Cohen (65′ Edison Bilbao Zarate), Roderick Briffa, Gianmarco Conti, Justin Mengolo (65′ Sofian Domoraud), Fernando Barbosa Pereira, Myles Beerman, Haruna Garba.
Subs not used: Anthony Curmi, Moad Lamlum, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Clifford Gatt Baldacchino
Coach: Darren Abdilla
Referee: Alan Mario Sant
Assistant Referees: Edward Spiteri, Roberto Vella
Fourth Official: Malcolm Spiteri
Yellow Cards: Mengolo, Conti, Kristensen, Pereira, Sahanek
Red Cards: 90′ Fernando Barbosa Pereira
BOV Player of the Match: Jake Grech