Lima lifts ten-man Hiber­ni­ans

Malta Independent - - SPORT - Photo: James Bianchi

Hiber­ni­ans over­came an as­sured St An­drews’ dis­play, with a hard fought win thanks to a Jack­son Lima scorcher af­ter only ten min­utes play. The Pao­lites thus re­turned to vic­tory af­ter two suc­ces­sive draws that lifts them in joint third place with Val­letta.

The win takes a big­ger di­men­sion, con­sid­er­ing that it was achieved with ten men for the last half hour, af­ter Hiber­ni­ans had Joseph Mbong sent off for two cau­tions.

In the ab­sence of Re­nan Telles, Bjorn Kris­tensen played in a more ad­vanced role for Hiber­ni­ans with Dun­stan Vella handed a start in front of the Pao­lites’ three-man de­fence in­clud­ing Rodolfo Soares, An­drei Agius and Jonathan Pear­son.

The match had a very bright start and there were early chances from both sides, with Hiber­ni­ans pos­ing the first threat in the open­ing min­utes. Lima played a low free kick for the un­marked Mbong but he was blocked by keeper Galea’s out­stretched leg.

St An­drews also went close on seven min­utes. From a Paz’s cor­ner, Che’s header re­bounded off the up­right.

And af­ter De­gabriele turned well in­side the Saints’ area but shot wide, Jack­son Lima opened the scor­ing for Hiber­ni­ans af­ter 10 min­utes, un­leash­ing a drilling shot from out­side the area af­ter St An­drews failed to de­fend their lines.

The at­mos­phere was sub­dued af­ter Hiber­ni­ans’ lead, even be­cause St An­drews’ coach Danilo Don­cic has es­tab­lished a high­press­ing at­tack and well-or­gan­ised de­fen­sive unit that frus­trated the Pao­lites.

In truth, goal­mouth ac­tion was limited dur­ing the sec­ond half played with lit­tle space.

Ten min­utes af­ter the in­ter­val Pem­broke went close to an equaliser with a well-taken Far­ru­gia free kick that went nar­rowly over.

To­wards the hour Hiber­ni­ans fluffed a good op­por­tu­nity when the St An­drews’ keeper rushed out to kick the ball up­field, it fell to the ad­vanc­ing Kris­tensen who failed to put it into an empty net, miss­ing the tar­get.

Hiber­ni­ans even in­tro­duced Re­nan Telles for Pear­son but on 64 min­utes they were down to ten men when Joseph Mbong was shown a sec­ond yel­low card in the match.

Coach Mark Miller with­drew De­gabriele and put in Clay­ton Failla to bol­ster his de­fence, ex­pect­ing St An­drews to make a re­ac­tion. That came in the form of Paz be­ing sub­sti­tuted by Ja­cob Walker.

Other sub­sti­tute God­win McKay’s dip­per with seven min­utes re­main­ing, had keeper Hogg tip­ping the ball over the bar. But the Saints could not craft clear op­por­tu­ni­ties de­spite late pres­sure.

Hiber­ni­ans re­sponded well and the mer­its of vic­tory were not in dis­pute.

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