TARXIEN RAINBOWS 0
Grech 70 pen.
Hibernians battled more than expected retain bragging rights against neighbouring rivals Tarxien Rainbows as they squeezed a 1-0 win at the National Stadium.
The Paolites dominated the match from start to finish but were thwarted by some fine interventions from Tarxien goalkeeper Daniel Fernandes.
However, it had to be a Jake Grech penalty conversion that earned Hibernians the points and ensure they picked up their second successive victory which keeps them within touching distance with the league front runners.
The match was devoid of creative fare for much of the opening 45 minutes. Hibernians as expected enjoyed the lion’s share of possession but for all their superiority they struggled to break down an organized Tarxien defence.
In fact, Hibernians’ only shot on target in the first half hour arrived on 23 minutes when in a swift raid, Rundell Winchester served Jurgen Degabriele but his firm drive was easily saved by David Fernandes, the Tarxien goalkeeper.
The Rainbows tried to venture forward but they rarely created any danger to Matthew Calleja Cremona in the Hibernians goal.
The next scoring opportunity arrived five minutes from the break, when Jake Grech made headway on the right and sent a low cross towards Winchester who stabbed wide from close in.
Two minutes later, Bjorn Kristensen took quickly-taken free-kick towards Artiles but his shot hit the side-netting.
Tarxien finally threatened in stoppage time when Matthew Spiteri created space for himself but fired just wide.
After the break, Hibernians tried to step up their tempo and on 54 minutes Ayrton Attard hit a firm drive that flashed wide.
Hibs had an even bigger chance on 62 minutes when Ferdinando Apap nodded the ball into the path of Degabriele who saw his drive touched by Fernandes onto the upright with the ball again finishing into the hands of the Tarxien no. 1.
The Paolites’ pressure finally yielded an opener on 68 minutes when the referee pointed to the spot after Shodiya’s shot hit the arm of Carneiro with the infringement pointed to the referee by assistant referee Duncan Sultana.
From the spot, Grech drilled the ball past the diving Fernandes.
Ten minutes from time, Degabriele should have killed off the Rainbows when the young forward was released by Artiles but his shot was somehow kept out by Fernandes.