Grech 63 pen.
Hibernians bounced back from their opening day defeat to Sliema Wanderers in some style when they brushed aside champions Floriana 3-1 at the National Stadium.
The Paolites came into match determined to make their point after the disappointing defeat to the Wanderers and Stefano Sanderra’s men produced a counter-attack masterclass against the Greens as their speed and power upfront left the Floriana defenders gasping for breath to canter home to an impressive victory.
For the Greens, it was a disappointing display as the team lacked their usual resilience as their Europa League commitments surely left their mark.
But, Floriana will have to bounce back from this setback quickly to remain in touch with the league’s front-runners.
Floriana started brightly as they held the edge in the opening stages with their high pressing but had only a Diego Venancio long-range shot to show which was blocked by goalkeeper Matthew Calleja Cremona.
Hibs, on the otherhand, struck in their first foray a minute later when Jose Wilkson picked Rundell Winchester who quickly transferred the ball to Ayrton Attard. The young midfielder sent a low cross towards Gabriel Artiles who stabbed home.
Floriana’s response arrived four minutes later when Jan Busuttil, who was replacing Kristijan Keqi, saw his drive hitting the upright.
On 24 minutes Jake Grech served Winchester but the towering forward saw his shot blocked by a Floriana defender.
Four minutes later, Floriana had a huge chance to equalise when they were awarded an indirect free-kick from inside the area but Thiago Fonseca blasted the ball over.
Hibs remained a serious threat with their swift breaks and on 31 minutes Jurgen Degabriele put Grech clear. The Malta midfielder rounded Cassar and let the ball fall into the path of Wilkson who incredibly fired wide in front of a gaping goal.
After the interval, Floriana tried to step up their game and on 52 minutes they had a golden opportunity to level matters.
Flavio Cheveresan intercepted a poor pass by the Hibs defenders but with only Calleja Cremona to beat he shot straight into the shot-stopper.
The Greens paid dearly for this miss as a minute later Hibs doubled their lead.
Grech sent a fine vertical ball towards Degabriele who turned past his marker and fired the ball past Cassar.
But Floriana did manage to get back into the match on 57 minutes when the excellent Busuttil whizzed his way past Artiles and hit a curling shot that flew into the far corner.
Hibs took little time to restore their two-goal lead as on 62 minutes Wilkson was upended inside the area by Ryan Camenzuli and from the resultant penalty Grech sent Cassar the wrong way to make it 3-1.
Cheveresan had another great chance on 70 minutes when he broke inside the area, but he saw his shot blocked by the sliding Ferdinando Apap.
Four minutes later it was Venancio who let fly a thumping drive that was pushed away by Calleja Cremona.
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