ĦAMRUN SPARTANS 1
H. Bonello-6, Ederson-7, S. Borg-6.5, M. Guillaumier-6, E. Mashike-7 (89 L. Montebello), R. Prsa-7 (82 Vinicius), O. Bjelicic-6.5, J. Corbalan-6, Jonny-8 (76 Dodo), E. Marcelina-7, R. Camenzuli-6.5.
J. Haber-6.5, F. Apap-6.5 (58 A. Agius-6), K. Shaw-6, G. Llerna-5, J. Grech-5 (68 D. Vella), J. Rivero-5 (68 Y. Muritala-5), J. Degabriele-6, B. Kristensen-6 (79 G. Mensah), Z. Grech-6, G. Artiles-6, A. Diakite-6.
Referee Malcolm Spiteri.
Yellow cards Llerna, Ederson, Kristensen.
Missed penalty: Guillaumier (HS) 43.
BOV Player of the match Roko Prsa (Ħamrun Spartans).
Ħamrun Spartans took a decisive step towards reclaiming the Premier League title when they overcame the challenge of Hibernians to continue to stretch their lead at the top.
A fine individual strike from Croatian talisman Roko Prsa handed the Spartans a deserved victory over the Malta champions in a match which they held the edge from start to finish.
In fact, the Spartans created the better chances throughout and could have also taken a first-half lead but Matthew Guillaumier missed a penalty.
But they kept their poise after the break and Prsa struck the killer blow just past the hour to secure the win but more importantly open a commanding 11-point lead over nearest rivals Gżira United.
The match turned out to be a cagey affair in the opening minutes with the Spartans holding the majority of possession, with Hibernians ready to break with quick transition play.
The clock marked 17 minutes when Ħamrun defender Ognjen Bjelicic advanced with the ball, hitting a low drive that was well saved by Justin Haber.
The Hibs no.1 was again alert seven minutes later when he did well to block Ryan Camenzuli’s angled shot.
Hibernians were struggling to come out of their half as the Spartans were pressing their opponents really high leaving striker Jurgen Degabriele isolated upfront.
Nine minutes from the break, Haber punched the ball away following Prsa’s corner delivery, the ball falling to Bjelicic who saw his overhead kick finish just wide.
Four minutes from the break, Ħamrun were awarded a penalty when Ederson burst inside the area and was upended by Gonzalo Llerena.
But from the spot, Haber dived to his right to save Matthew Guillaumier’s shot.
A minute into the second half, the Spartans had another good chance when Mashike intercepted a poor back pass rounded Haber but took too much time to conclude and the chance was lost.
Hibs finally threatened six minutes into the second half when Diakhite put Degabriele clear but the young forward was denied by Steve Borg’s tackle.
The Paolites threatened again three minutes later with Borg again denying Rivero and Degabriele seeing his shot deflected to a corner.
On the hour, Jonny sprinted past his marker and his low cross was not converted home by Prsa.
But the Croatian made amends two minutes later. Ryan Camenzuli served Guillaumier who quickly served the ball towards Prsa. The silky midfielder showed great skill to move past a defender and chip the ball over Haber.
Hibs were on the ropes and two minutes later Ederson should have made it 2-0 but incredibly fired wide from close in.
Prsa almost struck again 13 minutes from time but this time he fired wide from Mashike’s pass.
Hibs threatened eight minutes from time when Muritala’s shot was blocked by Bonello.
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