BOV Premier League | Hibernians 1 – Valletta 2

In a match full of controversial decisions, Valletta came from behind to secure a 2-1 win over ten men Hibernians.

Photo: Dominic Borg
Photo: Dominic Borg

Hibernians made an excellent start to the match as they broke the deadlock after just four minutes through a controversial goal. Joseph Mbong received the ball in an offside position and the assistant referee raised his flag. For some reason, the referee asked him to put his flag down. Play continued and the ball went into the path of Jurgen Degabriele whose shot was blocked by Henry Bonello. Tiago Adan Fonseca took the rebound and placed the ball inside the net from close range.

This goal disoriented Valletta and they nearly conceded another on the 12th minute. Dunstan Vella served Degabriele and the latter fired a shot that forced a good save from Henry Bonello.

Valletta hit back on the 27th minute. Miguel Angel Alba’s volley from a free-kick was neutralised by Andrew Hogg.

Hogg was on the alert again on the 41st minute. From another free-kick, Alba drilled a low shot that was parried by the Maltese goalkeeper.

One minute prior to half-time, Jonathan Caruana hit a low shot from close range that was saved by Hogg once more.

Valletta started the second half looking to equalise and succeeded after just three minutes. Alba’s delivery from a free-kick was met by Santiago Malano whose thumping header stunned Hogg.

The Paolites were reduced to ten men on the 54th minute. Isaac Ntow was shown his second yellow card following a foul on Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre. The Ghanian footballer lost it completely and also approached the referee and pushed him. Hibernians’ coach, Stefano Sanderra, also protested heavily and was sent off as well by the referee.

On the hour mark, Degabriele made space for himself and fired a shot from the left that was blocked by Hogg.

Alba’s deliveries remained a constant threat through-out the match. He was a protagonist again on the 67th minute when his cross filtered towards Matteo Piciollo whose first timer ended up marginally wide.

Valletta kept on insisting and were denied by Hogg again on the 70th minute. Following a corner, Mario Fontanella’s header forced a difficult save from Hogg.

The Citizens scored the winning goal on the 83rd minute. Degabriele was judged to have floored  Fontanella and the referee pointed towards the spot. Alba stepped up and converted.

Following this result, Valletta are joint first with Hibernians. Both sides obtained thirty-four points so far.

Hibernians starting line-up: Andrew Hogg, Tiago Adan Fonseca, Nemanja Radojevic, Joseph Mbong, Marcelo Dias, Jurgen Degabriele, Bjorn Kristensen, Isaac Ntow, Taylon Nicolas Marcolino, Andrei Agius, Tiago Adan Fonseca

Valletta starting line-up: Henry Bonello, Jonathan Caruana, Ryan Camilleri, Santiago Malano, Matteo Picciolo, Enmy Manuel Pena Beltre, Joseph Zerafa, Rowen  Muscat, Miguel Angel Alba, Bojan Kaljevic, Mario Fontanella

Referee: Philip Farrugia

Assistant Referees: Luke Portelli, Mitchell Scerri

Fourth Official: Eman Grech

BOV Player of the Match: Santiago Malano (Valletta)

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