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Attard’s last-gasp goal lifts Hibs into second place

Hibernians striker Jurgen Degabriele (right) battles for the ball with Sean Cipriott. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli.

HIBERNIANS 2         

Vella 71; Attard 90+

BALZAN           1         

Bezzina 90


M. Calleja Cremona-6, F. Apap-6, L. Almeida-6, J. Grech-6.5, J. Degabriele-6.5, D. Vella-6, G. Izquier-6.5, S. Shodiya-6 (66 A. Attard), A. Agius-6.5, J.W. Teixeira-6.5, K. Laukzemis-6 (81 R. Winchester).


V. Vranes-6, A. Loof-5.5, M. Grima-5 (68 E. McWoods), S. Arab-5.5, S. Pisani-5.5, A. Effiong-5, G. Camilleri-5 (55 S. Bezzina), S. Dimic-5, P. Mota-5.5 (82 A. Bradshaw), S. Cipriott-5.5 (82 W. Donkin), M. Kamara-5.

Referee: Stefan Pace.

Yellow cards: Apap, Cipriott, Dimic, Laukzemis, Calleja Cremona.

BOV Player of the Match: Jurgen Degabriele (Hibernians).

A goal three minutes in added time enabled Hibernians to edge Balzan by the odd goal in three and move back to second place in the standings, two points behind leaders Sliema Wanderers.

The clash turned out to be a drab affair with little goal-mouth action although the Paolites managed to break the deadlock mid-way through the second half.

Balzan looked as though they had rescued a point when Steve Bezzina levelled matters in the 90th minute.

But deep into stoppage time, Ayrton Attard notched the winner for Hibs to leave the Balzan players distraught.

Balzan have now gone nine matches without a win. They had coach Mark Miller serving a one-match ban while Paul Fenech and Uros Ljubomirac were also out due to suspension.

Hibs, on the other hand, were in their typical formation with the exception of Bjorn Kristensen who was also serving suspension.

In a lacklustre first half, Jose Wilkson Teixeira sent Jurgen Degabriele through and the latter’s shot from the left ended just over the bar on 13 minutes.

A header by Leandro Almeida was parried by Vukasin Vranes following a Degabriele freekick on 29 minutes while on the half-hour, a powerful shot by Shola Shodiya from outside the area ended just wide.

Hibs continued to control the proceedings in the second half and on 51 minutes, Degabriele served Gabi Izquier whose low shot just missed the target.

The Paolites finally managed to open the score on 71 minutes when Jake Grech picked Dunstan Vella inside the area and the midfielder hit a low drive that rolled past Vranes.

Three minutes later, Hibs could have made it two nil but a freekick by Andrei Agius hit the crossbar.

Degabriele also went close with a fine shot from outside the area on 76 minutes following a cross from the right by Attard.

Nine minutes later, a Grech effort was turned into a corner by Vranes and from the resulting corner, Degabriele’s angled shot went just wide.

However, out of nowhere, Balzan restored parity with their first attempt on target.

Steve Pisani delivered a cross from a corner and Steve Bezzina headed home past Calleja Cremona.

But it was not over yet as three minutes into added time, following a short corner, a cross by Izquier created havoc inside the area and substitute Ayrton Attard tapped home from close range.

Standings provided by SofaScore LiveScore

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