GŻIRA UNITED 0
Bastianos 24, Attard 37
Degabriele 47, 58
D. Cassar-5, G. Bohrer-4, Thaylor-4 (46 A. Borg-4) (74 Ewerton), Z. Scerri, M. Dias-4 (83 D. Pace), Macula-5 (64 R. Essaka), F. Zuniga-5, B, Borg-4, Wilkson-6 (64 B. Azizi), T. Espindola-5, J. Mendoza-6.
I. Kone-7, A. Attard-7, J. Degabriele-7.5, B. Kristensen-6 (38 L. Caruana-6), Z. Grech-6 (84 M. Vallejo), S. Okoh-6 (77 A. Hovhannisyan), A. Bruno-6.5, G. Bastianos-7, E. Pereira-6, R. Antwi-8 (77 F. Apap), H. Luiz-6 (84 E. Herrera).
Referee: Ishmael Barbara.
Yellow card: Macula, Okoh, Bohrer.
Red card: Scerri (Gżira) 45.
BOV player of the match: Jurgen Degabriele (Hibernians).
In a devastating attacking display, Hibernians made a winning start after brushing aside Gżira United.
The Paolites, under the charge of Branko Nisevic, took control in the first half courtesy of goals from Giannis Bastianos and Ayrton Attard before Jurgen Degabriele sealed the points with a well taken brace after the break.
To their credit, Darren Abdilla’s Gżira had started brightly and showed an impressive workrate for much of the first half.
On 12 minutes, Wilkson saw his powerfully-struck free-kick saved by Ibrahim Kone.
The Gżira striker started to make his presence felt and three minutes later, he had another well-struck shot was turned away by the Hibs goalkeeper, and from the rebound the towering custodian denied Macula.
Till this point, Hibernians had rarely threatened but sprung out of defence brilliantly to break the deadlock on 24 minutes. Rodney Antwi’s cross from the right was met by Giannis Bastianos and the Greek striker thundered a finish past David Cassar.
Ayrton Attard doubled the Paolites’ lead in style. He pulled a pass out of the air, controlled the ball before dragging a brilliant finish into Cassar’s top corner.
The industrious Antwi outran Marcelo Dias on the left flank to hit a low drive against the foot of the post as the Paolites pressed to make the game safe in the first half.
A minute from half-time, referee Ishmael Barbara was forced to reach into his pocket when Zachary Scerri committed a cynical challenge on substitute Lucas Caruana. The Gżira captain was red-carded for his trouble and left the pitch in disgrace.
Hibs always looked the more dangerous side, with Antwi at the heart of most of their play. Two minutes after the break, he brilliantly turned Jurgen Degabriele in, with an inviting cross for the striker to pick his spot behind Cassar.
By the hour mark, Hibernians had coasted to 4-0, Caruana broke through the centre and laid it off on the left flank to Alex Bruno, who cut the ball across for Degabriele. The striker showed sublime control and skill in the box before beating Cassar for the second time.
Antwi, who was superb throughout, again pierced the Gżira’s defence and darted past his marker before shooting low but Cassar denied the Dutch winger from putting his name on the scoresheet.
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