I. Kone, K. Shaw, A. Attard, R. Bairam (90 O. Magro), A. Hovhannisyan, S. Okoh, A. Bruno (65 J. Degabriele), C. Bonanni, G. Bastianos (87 H. Guedes), E. Pereira (65 G. Artiles), R. Antwi
Y. Izzet, S. Attard (65 S. Cipriott), M. Muchardi, J. Arthur, G. Mensah (65 M. Perea) C. Borg (70 W. Serrano), R. Fernandes (89 G. Zammit), N. Tabone, K. Micallef, A. Toure, M. Esposito
Referee: Ishmael Barbara
Yellow cards: Fernandes, Toure. Micallef, Perea.
Red Card: Karl Micallef (G) 75.
Fortune finally smiled on Hibernians again as they overcame Gudja United to put their nightmare spell behind them.
A second-half goal from Giannis Bastianos gave them their first win since September and eased the pressure after a poor run of form.
Hibernians had failed to find the target in the League since putting three past Santa Lucia on September 23. They have gone four Premier League games without a goal since then, picking up just one point from meetings with Floriana, Birkirkara, Balzan and Naxxar.
And there was very little to suggest in the opening period that their goal drought would end sooner rather than later.
Despite territorial dominance from the Paolites, earlier on, there was no hot action in front of Yaren Sozer, the Gudja goalkeeper.
Hibs tried to open up the visitors’ rearguard periodically but they were kept largely at bay by an organised defence well marshalled by Karl Micallef.
So when, in their first attack of the second half, Giannis Bastianos ended a collective drought that had lasted 6 hours and 32 minutes, no one blamed Branko Nisevic to roar out as a sigh of relief.
Armen Hovhannisyan measured his pass through to Bastianos who hit a diagonal shot behind Sozer.
It would be overstating the case to suggest that after the goal, Hibernians started to move the ball around with more conviction. Yet the breakthrough tricked Gudja out of their shell.
The Paolites were starting to clutch at straws when Kurt Shaw ran into the back of Abou Toure in the area as Gudja claimed a penalty.
Referee Ishmael Barbara waved the protests away.
As a consequence, Gudja captain Micallef was sent off with 15 minutes remaining following two yellow cards in quick succession for dissent.
The incident did at least seem to spark some life into the game and Marvin Perea headed just wide from Matias Muchardi’s cross.
At death, the Argentine midfielder hit a freekick over the bar as Hibernians held on.
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