SLIEMA WANDERERS 0
M. Calleja Cremona-6, F. Apap-6, L. Almeida-6.5, J. Degabriele-6 (78 W. Domoraud), D.Vella-7, Z. Grech-7, E. Beu-5.5 (78 H. Da Costa Oliveira), J. Zerafa-6, A. Agius-6, A. Muniz-6, A. Diakite-6.
D. Cassar-6, J. Morales Rengifo-6, K. Shaw-6.5, G. Aquilina-6, J. Mintoff-5 (80 Y. Uchida), I. Gui-6.5 (73 E. Agius), R. Kisil-5.5 (80 J. Engerer), M. Piciollo-5, O. Linton-6, D. Vukovic-5.5 (73 A. Samb), V. Berisha-6 (60 J.P. Farrugia-5).
Referee: Slobodan Petrovic.
Yellow cards: Berisha, Zerafa, Gui, Aquilina, Almeida.
BOV Player of the match: Jurgen Degabriele (Hibs)
Leaders Hibernians resumed their normal service when they reversed a trend of three consecutive draws to return to winning ways.
This time, Hibs did manage to focus on the task in hand and ended the game firmly in command, spurning chances to go two or three-nil up.
After initial uninspiring exchanges, Hibernians sprung to life after 20 minutes when Jurgen Degabriele opted to do it alone.
The Malta striker can often be relied on to liven up a tame encounter and he did not disappoint after 20 minutes when he scored with a tremendous, trademark effort.
When he received the ball well inside the Sliema box, there appeared to be little danger.
But Degabriele side-stepped his marker and sent a brilliant low curling shot past David Cassar.
The goal forced Sliema to go for broke but meant Hibernians could rely on the roving Degabriele and Erjon Beu on the break.
The Albanian winger, in particular on the left flank, was creating all sort of problems to the Sliema defence and greedily tried to shoot at goal when all he need to do was to square the ball for Degabriele.
Past the half hour mark, Degabriele should have scored his second goal of the night.
Dunstan Vella’s through ball filtered through a maze of players crowding the area in front of Cassar but the nippy striker hit his shot straight at the goalkeeper.
Just before half-time, Degabriele sprinted towards the Sliema box but, with Vella unmarked and screaming on the right flank, the striker went for glory and blasted over the bar.
Sliema were much brighter in the second half. Valmir Berisha went close with a low drive which was blocked by Andrei Agius who threw himself in front of the Swedish striker’s shot on goal.
Yet, Hibs remained in control on the restart and Degabriele forced a good save out of the diving Cassar from a free-kick on 65 minutes.
But Hibs’ inability to impose their superiority encouraged Sliema to take the initiative which they duly did. Ruslan Kisil’s fierce free-kick sailed just wide of the post.
At the other end, Kurt Shaw made a crucial last-ditch challenge to deny substitute Hugo da Costa Oliveira.
Then, Cassar stopped a far-post header from a corner by Da Costa Oliveira.
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