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Watch: Hibernians beat Valletta, Floriana open six-point lead at the top

Floriana opened a six-point lead at the top of the Premier League after beating Mosta. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

Sliema Wanderers move third after defeating Balzan.

Apap 45, Bruno 65

Hibernians scored a goal in each half through Ferdinando Apap and Alex Bruno to beat Valletta and return to winning ways. 

Hibernians scored a goal in each half to overcome Valletta. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

The Paolites were at the back of a narrow defeat against Sliema Wanderers and have now moved to 16 points, in fifth position.

On the other hand, Valletta have now gone five matches without a victory as they remain on 10 points following their fourth defeat of the season. 

Valletta’s coach Enzo Potenzia made two changes from last week’s defeat against rivals Floriana with Fernando Barrientos and Christian Gauci replacing Neil Micallef and Federico Vega.

Hibernians, on their part, also made two changes with coach Branko Nisevic welcoming back Eriks Santos and Luizinho Guedes in the starting line-up. 

Valletta were looking to control the game through possession but it was Hibernians who threatened most with their fast positive transitions.

The Paolites had Alex Bruno and Jurgen Degabriele trying efforts from outside the penalty area but they could not beat Jake Galea. 

Defender Ferdinando Apap came close to a wonder goal but his overhead kick went inches wide from Valletta’s goal.

Nonetheless, the Malta international was not to be denied moments later when he finished up a positive transition which he started after recovering the ball inside the defensive third.

Apap continued his run towards the box before being teed up by Robert Bairam and head home past Galea. 

After the change of ends, Hibernians came out the strongest from the blocks with Degabriele having a shot sailing over the bar and Bastianos forcing Galea into action with a long-range save.

Nisevic’s side made their pressure count twenty minutes into second half when Alex Bruno hit a delightful curling finish to beat Galea. 

Gomes 4

Sliema Wanderers secured their second consecutive victory after Samuel Gomes’ goal was enough to put daylight between them and Balzan at the Centenary Stadium.

The Blues managed to score early in the game, inside the opening four minutes, and managed to preserve their one-goal lead to move into third position on 19 points. 

Samuel Gomes (left) scored the all-important goal for Sliema Wanderers against Balzan. Photo: Chris Sant Fournier

This was Sliema’s sixth win of the season as they continue their impressive run under the guidance of coach Paul Zammit.

On the other side, Balzan remain on 13 points as they slip to their fifth loss of this 2023/2024 campaign.

Sousa 3, Garcia 8, Veselji 85

An early blitz in the opening stages of the game propelled Floriana towards their ninth win of the season to open a six-point gap over Ħamrun Spartans.

Mauro Camoranesi’s side followed up last week’s last-gasp derby victory with another solid showing as they continue to harbour their title hopes.

Matheus Sousa and Matias Garcia scored twice inside the opening eight minutes, putting Floriana in the driving seat for the remainder of the game.

Mosta, who remain on 10 points in the relegation red zone, saw their comeback hopes take a heavy blow when captain Zachary Brincat was given the marching orders on the 52nd minute.

Floriana made sure of the win when substitute Mattia Veselji scored the third and final goal for the Greens.

Standings provided by Sofascore

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