Malta Football Association
Late drama as Hibs force title decider against Valletta
Apr 27, 2019
Posted in:
BOV Premier League
Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA

  • Photo: Domenic Aquilina/MFA
  • Photo: Joe Borg/MFA

A dramatic afternoon of football on Saturday left the title issue in the balance with Valletta and Hibernians to face off in a BOV Premier League decider.

The two title challengers ended their league campaign level on 58 points after Valletta were pegged back by a last-gasp equaliser for Ħamrun Spartans while Hibernians overcame Balzan 5-1 in their final league match to force a one-off title showdown with the Citizens.


At the National Stadium, Valletta, who headed into the final weekend two points ahead of Hibernians at the top, were only minutes away from winning the title as, in stoppage time, they led through Mario Fontanella’s 29-minute goal but Ħamrun Spartans equalised at the death.


With Valletta down to 10 men after substitute Ibrahim Saleh collected two cautions in quick succession, Triston Caruana’s cross from the distance was headed on by Orestins Nikolopoulos in the path of Donneil Alain Moukanaza.The latter evaded his marker and poked a low shot past goalkeeper Henry Bonello to hand Ħamrun the point they needed to seal fourth place and a potential Europa League spot.


The draw meant that Valletta, who needed a win to secure the title outright, were caught up by Hibernians who won their game against Balzan with aplomb.


At the Hibernians Stadium, Jake Grech’s clinical finish on 19 minutes, after excellent work by Marko Sahanek, gave Hibernians a 1-0 half-time lead.


The second half had barely started when Tiago Adan Fonseca increased the lead for Hibernians who sealed their win on 63 minutes with a goal from Marcolino.


Uros Ljubomirac reduced the deficit for Balzan but two minutes later Balzan suffered a further blow when Elkin Valero Serrano was dismissed.


Hibs took instant advantage with Marcolino scoring twice in the space of two minutes to complete his hat-trick and seal his team’s win which took on added significance after the late drama in the Valletta-Ħamrun match at the National Stadium.


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