Degabriele 5; Vella 50
Gilmar 68, 76
H. Bonello, R. Camilleri-4 (78 S. McKay), T. Caruana, S. Dimech, E. Sala, Wellington-5 (78 K. Nwoko), R. Muscat, L. Aguirre, R. Fenech-6 (60 S. Malano), M. Fontanella-5 (71 M. Piciollo), Lucas-5 (78 R. Tonna).
M. Calleja Cremona, L. Almeida-6 (81 M. Ellul), Raphael, J. Degabriele-7 (75 J. Grech), B. Kristensen-7 (81 A. Attard), D. Vella, Z. Grech, G. Artiles, A. Agius, Gilmar-8 (81 Wilkson), T. Fonseca-6.5 (68 I. Iriberri).
Referee: Matthew De Gabriele.
Yellow cards Almeida, Artiles, Fenech, Aguirre, Raphael.
Red card: Dimech (V) 11.
BOV Player of the match Gilmar (Hibernians).
Hibernians laid down a title marker as the Paolites brushed aside a ten-man Valletta side at the National Stadium.
It was an eye-catching performance from the Paolites who undoubtedly were aided by the early dismissal of young midfielder Shaun Dimech that left Valletta playing almost the whole match with ten men.
After a rather low-key first-half display which saw them miss a number of scoring chances and concede soft goal, the Paolites stepped up their ante after the break with new signing Gilmar, scorer of a brace, and Bjorn Kristensen running their machine to stroll home to a comfortable victory.
The match had taken the right twist for Hibs when they were regaled with an opener after five minutes of play. Ryan Camilleri sent a poor pass towards Triston Caruana and Jurgen Degabriele took full advantage as he sped through and beat goalkeeper Henry Bonello with a low shot.
Valletta looked on the ropes and four minutes later Bonello produced a fine one-handed save to push away Tiago Fonseca’s grounder.
Things got even worse for the Citizens as two minutes later Shaun Dimech was shown a straight red card for a dangerous challenge on Degabriele.
The Malta striker should have got a second on 15 minutes when he was put in space by Fonseca but fired wide with only Bonello to beat.
Valletta finally threatened on 20 minutes when Emlit Sala was denied by Matthew Calleja Cremona from close in.
From the resultant corner, Ryan Fenech’s inswinger completely took Calleja Cremona’s by surprise with the ball finishing into the net.
The goal revitalized Valletta and on 28 minutes Mario Fontanella brought the best out of Calleja Cremona with a shot from the distance.
Hibs came close again a minute into the second half when Degabriele was put clear but the young forward was denied by Bonello.
Valletta failed to heed the warning signs as three minutes later Gilmar sped into the area and squared the ball to the unmarked Dunstan Vella who stabbed home.
Vella almost struck again on the hour but this time was denied by a fine save from Bonello.
But Hibernians put the game beyond Valletta’s reach when Fonseca found the unmarked Gilmar who volleyed the ball into the far net to mark his debut with a fine goal.
Gilmar put further gloss to his debut with a spectacular second goal on 77 minutes when he showed great skill to control Raphael pass and then kept his poise to lob the ball over the onrushing Bonello before he headed the ball into an empty net.