Hibernians came back from a goal down to beat SS Folgore Falciano of San Marino 3-1 in the first leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League at the San Marino Stadium on Tuesday.
The Paolites were eager to bounce back from the disappointing 0-3 defeat to FC Flora Tallinn in the UEFA Champions League first qualifying round second leg but conceding a goal after just five minutes gave an indication that things could not go in the way they were expecting. However they soon levelled matters and turned the score in their favour, sealing the issue with a third goal late in the game.
The hosts took the lead on the 5th minute when off a cross from the right, Eric Fedeli headed home in style although goalkeeper Nicky Vella was unlucky to slip due to the poor condition of the pitch.
However, on the 13th minute, the Paolites equalised thanks to a great goal by Jurgen Degabriele whose fine curved shot gave goalkeeper Giovanni Lombardi no chance.
Hibs went 2-1 ahead on the 25th when off a cross by Degabriele, the ball was deflected by Arrigoni and Jake Grech flicked the ball home from the left.
Hibernians dominated during the second half, creating several goal-scoring opportunities but it was only seven minutes from time that they increased the lead further through Jake Grech, served by Bjorn Kristensen, who beat the Folgore goalkeeper with a diagonal shot from the right.
The Paolites host Folgore on Tuesday 27 at the Centenary Stadium. The team which qualifies from this stage will be facing Riga FC of Latvia or Shkendija of North Macedonia in the third qualifying round.
FOLGORE Giovanni Lombardi, Daniel PIscaglio, Andrea Nucci, Nicholas Arrigoni, Eric Fedeli (82’ William Edoardo Garcia), Mirco Spighi, Marco Bernardi, Piero Tamagnini (74’ Giovanni Bonini), Assane Fall (82’ Giole Evangelisti), Cristian Brolli, Yaya Jassey (63’ Enrico Golinucci).
HIBS Nicky Vella, Ferdinando Apap, Leandro Almeida, Sergio Raphael, Ayrton Attard (90+2’ Connor Zammit), Jake Grech (90+2’ Myles Beerman), Jurgen Degabriele (87’ Francis Sarfo Mensah), Bjorn Kristensen, Thaylor (87’ Zachary Grech), Andrei Agius, Wilfried Domoraud.
Referee: Timotheos Christofi (CYP)
Assistant Referees: Michael Soteriou, Marios Kalogirou (CYP)
Fourth official: Nikolas Neokleous (CYP)