Mensah 29, Kristensen 38, Muritala 55
HIBERNIANS J. Haber, F. Apap, G. Llerena (69 K. Shaw), Thaylor (87 A. Mangles), J. Degabriele, B. Kristensen (69 A. Diakite), D. Vella, G. Mensah, J.Zerafa (69 G. Artiles), A. Agius, O. Muritala (77 J. Morillas).
ŻURRIEQ D. Zarb, I. Bojovic, J. Busuttil (75 M. Bonniċi), A. Azzopardi (75 B. Sammut), I. Misan, M. Busuttil, A. Caruana, X. Portelli, J. De Oliveira Florencio, J. Vella (85 L. Bugeja), S. Darmanin (63 K. Darmanin).
Referee Andrea Sciriha
Yellow cards Llerena, Bojovic, Apap, Thaylor,
Hibernians became the first side into the last 16 of the FA Trophy by beating Żurrieq at the Centenary Stadium on Friday.
However, it was not without a mighty fright from a courageous Żurrieq side. Andrea Pisanu’s side were two goals ahead past the half-hour, but they were given a real scare when Joao Vitor De Oliveira Florencio reduced the deficit before half-time. But then, Owolabi Muritala scored to rescue his side. That goal finished off the Challenge league team and Gabriel Mensah could have scored further goals which would have made the scoreline look deceptively one-sided.
Hibernians controlled the majority of the game and were rarely under pressure. However, Żurrieq striker Florencio proved a handful for the Hibs defence.
Żurrieq were struggling to get hold of the ball. Still, they had a great opportunity of their own as they had a penalty shout turned down after Gonzalo Llerena appeared to foul Florencio after 22 minutes.
That proved costly as Hibernians were soon ahead. Jurgen Degabriele found himself in space inside the area but his effort was kept out by Dunstan Zarb. From the rebound, Gabriel Mensah buried the ball home.
A few moments later, Ferdinando Apap flirted with a red card when Shawn Darmanin beat the Gozitan defender to the ball but the Hibs player could not stop his follow-through as he caught the Żurrieq player on the shin.
But Hibernians quickly regained their composure. Degabriele’s delivery from a corner was nodded back across the face of the goal by Llerena to find Bjorn Kristensen completely unmarked at the far post to hit the ball home.
And Żurrieq would have been as good as out if goalkeeper Zarb had not produced a smart point-blank to deny Degabriele.
Hibernians were again found wanting two minutes from half-time when some slack marking allowed the Brazilian Florencio to send a low drive past Haber.
After the restart, Hibernians reasserted their dominance when Owolabi Muritala made it 3-1. Degabriele’s freekick was headed towards goal by Llerena, and the Nigerian striker got in the way to head the ball behind Zarb via the aid of the goalpost.
Zarb was forced to save from Mensah and substitute Andres Mangles as Hibernians went into overdrive to confirm their place in the next round.
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