Hibernians compound Tarxien’s woes to move closer to leaders
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
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