Hamrun Spartans moved second in the BOV Premier League three points behind leaders Floriana as they defeated Hibernians 2-1 at the Centenary Stadium on Monday.
The Spartans therefore bounced back from an unexpected 0-2 defeat to Mosta in their last outing to register a fourth win in five matches. The Paolites, on the other hand, suffer their third defeat this season and continue to share seventh place with Mosta and Balzan on the ten-point mark.
Hibernians went close to taking the lead on the 16th minute when off a cross from the right by Leonardo Nanni, Bjorn Kristensen’s effort was deflected into a corner. The Spartans replied with a powerful drive by Soufaine Lagzira which was turned into a corner by Jovicic on the 21st minute.
A minute later, Hamrun managed to take the lead thanks to a long-distance shot by Clayton Failla from the right and deflected by Ailton Jorge dos Santos Soares which surprised the Hibernians goalkeeper deceived by the presence of players in front of him.
On the half hour, the Spartans doubled the score thanks to Ailton Jorge dos Santos Soares whose shot from outside the area hit the foot of the upright before ending at the back of the net.
Terence Groothusen had a powerful shot from the edge of the area turned into a corner by Hamrun goalkeeper Manuel Bartolo on the 36th minute.
However just before the end of the first half – two minutes in added time, the Paolites reduced the gap when off a cross by Gabriel Izquier from the left, Dunstan Vella headed the ball home past Bartolo.
Andrei Agius headed just wide for Hibernians following an inviting cross from the right on the 64th and hardly a minute later, Groothusen tested Bartolo with a cross shot from the right. The Hamrun goalkeeper was prominent once again on 73 minutes blocking a Gabriel Izquier effort from the left.
Substitute Imanol Iriberri was unlucky not to level matters six minutes from time when he received an intelligent pass by Leonardo Nanni but hit the upright with an angled shot from the right.
In a swift counter-attack for Hamrun, Ailton Soares had a fine effort ending just over the bar a minute later. One minute from time, Timothy Tabone Desira had a long-distance shot ending just wide and in added time, Hamrun could have added another but a Soufiane Lagzir effort from inside the area was blocked by the Hibernians goalkeeper.
HIBS Marko Jovicic, Timothy Tabone Desira, Ferdinando Apap, Leandro Marcio Barbosa da Silveira, Jake Grech (79′ Myles Beerman), Terence Groothusen (73’ Imanol Iriberri), Bjorn Kristensen (62’ Charles Atsina), Dunstan Vella, Gabriel Izquier Artiles, Andrei Agius, Leonardo Nanni.
Subs not used: Matthew Calleja Cremona, Jurgen Degabriele, Matthew Ellul, Ayrton Attard.
Coach: Stefano Sanderra
Asst. Coach: Ryan Pulis
Goalkeepers’ Coach: Sam Bartolo
HAMRUN Manuel Bartolo, Triston Caruana, Ailton Jorge dos Santos Soares, Wilfried Domoraud, Clayton Failla, Nicola Leone, Soufiane Lagzir, Marco Criaco, Karl Micallef, Orestis Nikolopoulos, Mattia Cinquini.
Subs not used: Jean Claude Debattista, Karl Luke Schembri, Cain Cutajar, Darren Borg, Miguel Tabone, Ryan Darmanin, Bradley Schembri.
Coach: Manuele Blasi
Asst. Coach: Fabrizio Antonini
Referee: Emanuel Grech
Assistant Referees: Roberto Vella, James Muscat
Fourth Official: Philip Farrugia
Yellow Cards: Kristensen, Marcio Barbosa, Failla, Micallef, Leone, Apap, Vella, Bartolo
BOV Player of the Match: Soufiane Lagzir