Telles in­spires con­vinc­ing win over ten-man Val­letta

Malta Independent - - SPORT - Photo: Domenic Aquilina

This ram­pant, in­ci­sive per­for­mance en­sured Hiber­ni­ans beat ten­man Val­letta to go in sec­ond place of the BoV Pre­mier League stand­ings and leave the cham­pi­ons with a wor­ry­ing three-match streak with­out a win now.

Although Val­letta played with ten men for more than an hour, hav­ing Uchenna sent off for a foul on Telles, Hiber­ni­ans al­ways looked the more en­ter­pris­ing side.

Val­letta man­aged to hold on for the first 45 min­utes but then col­lapsed to con­cede two goals in quick suc­ces­sion be­fore the hour mark.

Both teams were try­ing to rediscover their win­ning form af­ter suf­fer­ing de­feats in mid­week. Val­letta had lost the derby against neigh­bours Flo­ri­ana while Hiber­ni­ans lost to lead­ers Balzan dep­site be­ing the bet­ter team.

Hiber­ni­ans had Andrew Hogg back in goal yes­ter­day af­ter re­cov­er­ing from back pain that kept him out of the match against Balzan, but other­wise they were an un­changed team.

Val­letta, with­out the sus­pended de­fender Le­an­dro Aguirre, also dropped Ryan Camil­leri with the full backs Ian Az­zopardi and Romeu Ro­mao start­ing in­stead. Juan Cruz also got the nod ahead of Lly­we­lan Cre­mona in mid­field.

Val­letta set up to sti­fle Hiber­ni­ans’ runs from mid­field plus the vary­ing threats of Re­nan Telles and Jur­gen De­gabriele with Jo­hann Bezzina be­hind them. They looked pow­er­less on all counts, even with 11 men. The Pao­lites showed good un­der­stand­ing in the fi­nal third as Telles’ in­flu­ence grew as the macth un­folded.

De­gabriele had missed clear chances and hit the post be­fore Val­letta were re­duced to ten men mid­way through the half.

To­wards the quar­ter hour Bezzina put De­gabriele through, by­pass­ing teh on­rush­ing keeper Bonello but his di­ag­o­nal shot went wide. De­gabriele was un­lucky with his sec­ond ef­fort. Again re­leased into space by Bezzzina, the ball re­bounded off the un­der­side of the bar with the keeper beaten.

The much dis­cussed episode, and the high­light of the first half, ar­rived on 24 min­utes. Val­letta had won a cor­ner but it was taken badly by Jhon­nat­tann and Hiber­ni­ans could break away with De­gabriele putting Telles clear. Chal­lenged by Uchenna, with a push from be­hind, Telles fell just out­side the Val­letta area and the ref­eree dis­imissed the Val­letta player while award­ing Hiber­ni­ans the free kick which Lima shot straight on the keeper.

Down to ten men, Val­letta were forced to de­fend deeper as Hiber­ni­ans tried to ex­ploit their nu­mer­i­cal su­pe­ri­or­ity. A Telles ef­fort was blocked into a cor­ner by de­fender Caru­ana and an­other De­gabriele shot was also turned into a cor­ner by the out­stretched keeper Bonello.

But Val­letta’s re­sis­tance lasted only nine min­utes into the sec­ond pe­riod. Lima took a cor­ner from the reight and the ball fell at the feet of Rodolfo Soares who was quick to shoot in from in­side the area.

An­other flow­ing, en­ter­pris­ing move en­sured there was no way back for Val­letta with al­most an hour gone. Mbong lobbed the ball over Az­zopardi from the right, sent a low cross for Telles who mishit, but the ball was good for Jur­gen De­gabriele to beat keeper Bonello with a low strike.

Dis­jointed Val­letta were in dam­age-lim­i­ta­tion mode and Hiber­ni­ans were show­cas­ing long be­fore the end. It was a plea­sure to see Jorginho mak­ing a re­turn for Hiber­ni­ans on 78 min­utes although Failla, who most prob­a­bly hurt his knee, was forced to make way.

On the very rare oc­ca­sions that keeper Hogg was called into ac­tion, he par­ried Jhon­nat­tan’s free kick and then blocked sub­sti­tute Michael Mif­sud on the re­bound.

The come­back al­ways seemed a far-fetched prospect for ten-man Val­letta who en­dured fur­ther pres­sure as De­gabriele hit the foot of the post af­ter keeper Bonello had par­ried a Lima ef­fort, but the game it­self never looked in doubt for su­pe­rior Hiber­ni­ans.


Balzan Birkirkara Hiber­ni­ans Val­letta Flo­ri­ana Gzira Ham­run Tarx­ien St. An­drews Sliema Mosta Pem­broke P W D 5 4 1 5 4 0 6 4 0 6 3 1 5 3 0 5 2 2 5 2 1 6 2 1 5 2 0 6 2 0 5 1 0 5 0 0 L 0 1 2 2 2 1 2 3 3 4 4 5

F 10 13 9 10 7 7 9 5 6 5 5 4 APts 5 13 3 12 7 12 8 10 4 9 4 8 7 7 9 7 10 6

9 6 10 3 14 0

Jur­gen De­gabriele of Hiber­ni­ans (cen­tre) speeds away from San­ti­ago Malano (left) and Umeh Uchenna Cal­is­tus (right) of Val­letta

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