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Degabriele brace sends Hibs into Europa League second round

Degabriele 34, 57

A Jurgen Degabriele brace propelled Hibernians into the second qualifying round of the UEFA Europa League after the Paolites defeated Vaduz 2-0 in a one-off tie in the first round, in Liechtenstein.

Hibernians now be involved in the second round draws that will be held this Monday, with the next ties pencilled for September 17.

This was Hibernians’ first qualification in this competition in six attempts and just the third time they advanced into the next round of any UEFA club competition after their successes in 2003 and 2018.

Led by Stefano Sanderra, Hibs were good value for the lead despite this was their first competitive match since March 7 and were facing a side whose league had just finished a couple of weeks ago.

Hibs opted for a 4-3-3 tactical system with Sanderra deploying Jurgen Degabriele upfront alongside newcomers Jose Teixeira and Shola Shodiya.

Degabriele’s goals will be more than welcomed not only by the Hibs clan but also by the newly-appointed Malta coach Devis Mangia in seeing one of his forwards netting goals in Europe.

Moreover, Sanderra put young midfielder Ayrton Attard in the midfield department in his first ever European appearance while new arrivals Leandro Almeida and Zachary Grech were part of the four-man backline.

Hibernians opened the half brightly as they enjoyed the lions’ share of possession but they only threatened their opponents once with a Jake Grech effort after five minutes.

Vaduz replied four minutes later when Sutter ran towards goal but sent his long-range effort wide from Matthew Calleja Cremona.

The hosts started to inch their way up on the field with their offensive line and their midfield department pressing Hibernians backline in their build-up.

Vaduz squandered a great opportunity to forge ahead when Santin darted into the penalty box just to see his close-range shot blocked by Calleja Cremona.

The missed chance came back to haunt Vaduz as Hibernians drew first blood through Jurgen Degabriele, on minute 34. The Malta forward hit a thumping volley that was deflected by Vaduz players into their own net to the celebrations of the Maltese side.

Their joy was almost short-lived when Wieser struck a shot from the edge of the area just to be denied by inches as Hibernians managed to see through the first 45 minutes with a one-goal lead.

After the break, Hibernians sealed their way into the second qualifying round courtesy of another Degabriele goal. The Malta forward combined with Gabriel Artiles before Degabriele nod the ball in between Vaduz goalkeeper legs and straight into an empty net to double the lead for the Paolites.

Two minutes later, though, Hibernians found themselves with a man down after captain Bjorn Kristensen picked a second yellow card.

The numerical advantage on the field enabled Vaduz to dominate proceedings and peg Hibernians into their own half.

In an attempt to find a breakthrough in the game, Vaduz coach threw former Sliema Wanderers forward Nicolae Milinceanu into the field to join the offensive line.

Nonetheless, the Paolites boys were tactically organised and their teamwork at the back was denying Vaduz any chance to penetrate Sanderra’s team.

VADUZ: B. Buchel; Gasser, Schmid, Simani, Dorn (Di Giusto 75), Luchinger (Milinceanu 67), Weiser, Santin (Hug 67), Cicek, Coulibaly, Sutter.
HIBERNIANS: M. Calleja Cremona; I. Artiles, Z. Grech, L. Almeida, A. Agius, A. Attard (E. Uzeh 70), J. Grech, B. Kristensen, J. Teixeira (R. Winchester 67), S. Shodiya (T. Desira 75), J. Degabriele.
Referee: Luis Teixeira (Portugal).

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