Hiber­ni­ans com­pound Tarx­ien’s woes to move closer to lead­ers

Malta Independent - - SPORT -

Jack­son Lima and Jorginho set­tled this derby as Hiber­nains sank their de­pleted neigh­bours Tarx­ien Rain­bows at Ta’ Qali Na­tional Sta­dium.

Fol­low­ing six un­beaten matches, Hiber­ni­ans now move to within a point of lead­ers Balzan in the stand­ings while Tarx­ien’s woes are com­pounded fur­ther with their dis­mal streak of six win­less matches.

Sus­pen­sions de­prived the Rain­bows of sev­eral key play­ers like Baker, Marcelina, Ponce and Nils­son and their cut­ting edge suf­fered mis­er­ably, with Ju­lian Galea de­ployed as the main striker. They only did threaten spo­rad­i­cally and their tem­po­rary equaliser came from a penalty af­ter Ju­lian Galea was fouled in­side the area.

The Pao­lites then reaf­firmed the or­der of things. They be­gan to oufight their op­po­nents all over the pitch and then topped it off with Jorginho’s win­ner 12 min­utes from time.

Hiber­ni­ans made two changes, with Jonathan Bezzina start­ing in mid­field in­stead of Varea and Joseph Mbong re­turned from sus­pen­sion, with Dun­stan Vella mak­ing way.

Hiber­ni­ans had a pile of pres­sure in the first half but lit­tle in the way of fi­nal prod­uct. They held to pos­ses­sion but did not over­work An­drea Cas­sar in the Tarx­ien goal. An Agius header af­ter ten min­utes forced Cas­sar into a dif­fi­cult save to tip into a corner and mid­way through the half De­gabriele had a good ef­fort go­ing nar­rowly wide.

The only goal came af­ter 39 min­utes. Mbong de­liv­ered a cross from the bye­line that fell to De­gabriele, whose shot was blocked by the Tarx­ien de­fence, only for Jack­son Lima to pick the loose ball and score.

It was no more than Hiber­ni­ans de­served from a first half dur­ing which Tarx­ien did not man­age a sin­gle shot at goal.

Af­ter a lull in play, the teams went out more fired up in the se­cond pe­riod, with Hiber­ni­ans in­tro­duc­ing An­drew Co­hen for Bezzina.

Tarx­ien took only five min­utes to level mat­ters when Galea ran for a loose ball, pushed for­ward by Zam­mit, and was bun­dled by Agius in­side the area to earn a penalty. Tris­tion Caru­ana made no mis­take from the spot.

The goal brought an im­me­di­ate re­sponse from Hiber­ni­ans who threat­ened again with a Jot­ginho dip­ping shot, tipped over the bar by keeper Cas­sar. From the re­sul­tant Failla corner, Co­hen again forced the Tarx­ien shot-stop­per into an­other save with his firm header.

Past the hour, Cas­sar was caught off his line but Jorginho’s try was de­flected into a corner.

With the in­tro­duc­tion of Re­nan Telles for De­gabriele, Jorginho took a more cen­tral po­si­tion in at­tack. The move soon paid di­v­di­dends. On 72 min­utes Jorginho picked Telles’ short pass, to ad­vance from the left, shrug­ging off Alves’ chal­lenge to beat keeper Cas­sar. That was to be Hiber­ni­ans’ win­ner that lifts them in se­cond place. Balzan Hiber­ni­ans Val­letta Birkirkara Flo­ri­ana Sliema St. An­drews Ham­run Tarx­ien Gzira Mosta Pem­broke P 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 11 W 7 7 6 6 5 5 4 4 2 2 2 2 D 3 2 3 2 3 2 1 2 4 3 2 1

Stand­ings

L F A Pts 1 22 13 24 2 14 9 23 2 18 10 21 3 26 9 20 3 12 9 18 4 14 12 17 6 11 16 13 5 18 20 14 5 11 17 10 6 11 20 9 7 10 21 8 8 13 24 7

Jorge Da Silva Pereira of Hiber­ni­ans pow­ers home his side’s se­cond goal against Tarx­ien Rain­bows. Photo: Domenic Aquilina

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