Determined Gzira hold Hibs to a draw
Hibernians dropped two important points yesterday as a determined Gzira side held them to a 1-1 draw.
The Paolites paid dearly for a disappointing first half performance during which they suffered a goal and were put seriously to the test by the Maroons’ fast forwards.
At the end of the first half, the Maroons were sitting pretty leading their more illustrious opponents by a solitary goal from Ellinton Costa Morais.
In the second half, as Cohen took his place in the Hibs side, things appeared to go for the better for the Paolites who scored an equaliser quickly.
But Gzira defended stubbornly – led by a superb Diamoutene and managed to keep their opponents at bay although they passed through several anxious moments.
Gzira were first in action on the fifth minute. From a Costa Marais cross, the ball went to Gianmarco Conti whose shot at goal was blocked by a Hibs defender. Hibs’ first real attack on 17 minutes, Kristensen beautifully set up Jorge Pereira in the Gzira area. Goalie Borg partially blocked his attempt, the ball went out to Jackson Lima, but Borg again came to his side’s rescue as he managed to punch the ball away to safety.
It was Gzira who broke the ice on the 28th minute. Moises Avila Perez set Costa Morais in the Hibs area and the latter scored with an unstoppable rising shot, beating Hogg all ends up.
Soon after, at the other end, a Jackson Lima freekick passed across the Gzira goal, finishing in a corner, from which Jorge Pereira header went just over the crossbar.
Four minutes later, Gzira had another opportunity, but a da Silva Santos effort went too high over the Hibs post.
In the 34th minute, Hibs went closest to an equaliser through a Pereira freekick which skimmed the upright.
In added first half time, Hibs again went close with a fine 30metre effort from Johann Bezzina which just missed the target.
Hibs mentor Mark Miller introduced veteran Andrew Cohen at the start of the second half and things started to improve for the Paolites.
It was no surprise that they quickly equalised just three minutes into the half. It was Jorginho Pereira who passed to Jurgen Degabriele whose first timer gave Jurgen Borg no chance.
In the 63rd minute, a fine move by Bezzina ended with a cross to Cohen, who controlled the ball well only for his effort to hit the side netting.
In the 78th minute, substitute Varea found Bezzina unmarked in the area, but the shot was blocked to corner.
Hibs missed a glorious chance to take the lead on the 86th minute when Varea set Cohen in the area. The latter crossed low for the unmarked Degabriele who flicked the ball into the grateful hands of goalie Borg from two metres out.
Two minutes later, the same Degabriele was unlucky to see his effort going straight at goalie Borg after he cleverly went round two defenders.
On the 90th minute, from a low Lima freekick, it was Johann Bezzina who lifted the ball just over the post. It proved to be the Paolites’ last chance in their efforts to get the winner.