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Apap, Grech hit brace as Hibernians slam past Floriana

FLORIANA       2

Busuttil 43

Zammit Lonardelli 80


Apap 9, 31

Grech 50, 56

Ellul 87

FLORIANA D. Formosa, A. Magri Overend, O. El Hasni, M. Veselji (63 C. Zammit Lonardelli), K. Reid, U. Arias (46 A. Melunovic), O. Spiteri, L. Accarino (63 Z. Cassar), L. Trillo, E. Callegari, J. Busuttil.

HIBERNIANS I. Kone, F. Apap, K. Shaw (80 M. Ellul), J. Grech, B. Kristensen (4 G. Llerena), Z. Grech, J. Florencio, A. Agius, G. Artiles (59 thaylor), Y. Muritala, A. Diakite (80 J. Degabriele).

Referee Andrea Sciriha.

Hibernians cruised past Floriana at the Gozo Stadium on the final matchday of the 2022-2023 Premier League season to hold onto their chance for a European competition berth next season.

Their chances will be determined by who wins this season’s FA Trophy as they finish their campaign on 46 points, level with Mosta and Balzan who both won their respective matches against Santa Lucia and Birkirkara in contests that took place at the same time.

Silvio Vella’s Hibernians could not have started the match on a worse footing when after just four minutes, Bjorn Kristensen had to be replaced due to injury, with Gonzalo Llerena taking his place.

However, five minutes later, Ferdinando Apap put Hibs ahead. A Gabriel Artiles freekick reached Yunusa Muritala whose header acted as a ricochet into a crowded area with Apap stretching to head the ball home.

The Paolites where the more dominant side and they doubled their lead right past the halfhour when Apap made the most out of a hesitant approach from Floriana goalkeeper Duncan Formosa to an Artiles freekick and once more, head the ball into the net.

Hibernians could have added a third in final five minutes of the half when Muritala hit wide, but instead it was Floriana who got one back before half time. It was a moment of class from Jan Busuttil, who fired a pinpoint freekick into the top corner, away from the outstretched Ibrahim Kone.

After the break, it took Hibs just five minutes to regain their prowess when Jake Grech got a brace of his own with two near identical shots into the bottom corner of Formosa’s post six minutes apart from each other.

Floriana could have reduced the margin on 82 minutes when a cross from Lorenzo Trillo was met by Alen Melunovic, who saw his effort saved by Kone before the action was flagged for offise.

However, Substitute Carlo Zammit Lonardelli scored for Floriana anyway five minutes from time, when he rose above all else to head home the ball from a corner kick.

But Hibs wasted no time to reopen the three-goal margin when Matthew Ellul, introduced just seven minutes before, headed into the net a cross on the counter on 87 minutes.

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