A penalty in the dying minutes handed Hamrun Spartans three important points in the race for the championship as they defeated second-placed Hibernians 1-0 in a top-of-the-table clash in the BOV Premier League at the National Stadium on Saturday.
This was the second crucial win for the Spartans after last week’s over Gzira United and now lead the table with 56 points, five ahead of the Paolites. They have now extended their unbeaten run to eighteen matches thanks to this seventh win on the trot. On the other hand, for Hibernians, this was the first defeat after ten positive results.
During the first half, shots at goal were few and far in between but just before half-time, Hibs went close through Jurgen Degabriele, served by Gilmar, which was parried by Manuel Bartolo.
An angled shot by Gilmar from the left scraped past the post and then Jurgen Degabriele had another fine effort which was neutralised by Bartolo late in the game.
Hamrun scored the all-important goal one minute from time when they were awarded a penalty after Claude Dielna was brought down inside the area; from the penalty spot, Seydou Doumbia converted.
In added time, Hibs pushed hard for the equaliser with Gilmar having two attempts at goal, first with a great freekick which was parried by Calleja Cremona and then with another freekick which ended just over the bar.
HAMRUN Manuel Bartolo, Darko Gojkovic, Matthew Guillaumier, Ailton Jorge dos Santos Soares, Franklin Sasere, Elkin Serrano Valero, Juan Carlos Corbalan, Predrag Djordjevic, Karl Micallef, Claude Dielna, Seydou Doumbia (90′ Abdullahi Ige Adeshina).
Coach: Mark Buttigieg
HIBS Matthew Calleja Cremona, Ferdinando Apap, Leandro Almeida, Sergio Raphael dos Anjos (86′ Jose Wilkson Teixeira), Jake Grech (66′ Tiago Adan Fonseca), Jurgen Degabriele (86′ Imanol Iriberri), Bjorn Kristensen, Dunstan Vella, Gabriel Izquier Artiles (90+2′ Ayrton Attard), Gilmar da Silva Ribeiro.
Coach: Stefano Sanderra
Referee: Trustin Farrugia Cann
Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Roberto Vella
Fourth Official: Ishmael Barbara
Yellow Cards: Guillaumier, Raphael, Dodo, Kristensen
BOV Player of the Match: Leandro Almeida