Grech 42, 64
ŻEJTUN CORINTHIANS 0
M. Calleja Cremona, L. Almeida, Raphael, A. Attard (61 B. Kristensen), J. Grech (90 M. Ellul), T. Fonseca (69 J. Degabriele), Z. Grech, A. Izquier, A. Agius, I. Iriberri, Gilmar (69 D. Vella).
I. Kone, D. Albanese, L. Moreira, A. Carabott (71 D. Catanio) , J. Suda, H. Marcelino, J. Barboza, E. Herrera (81 A. Cassar), N. Tabone, G. Azzopardi, A. De Barros (71 G. Bugeja).
Referee: Malcolm Spiteri.
Yellow cards: Attard, Anderson.
Jake Grech produced two moments of quality to seal qualification for Hibernians into the round of 16 over Żejtun Corthinians.
The Paolites will now meet Challenge league high-flyers Pembroke on Wednesday.
Grech scored well-taken goals either side of half-time and then set up Jurgen Degabriele to wrap up a comfortable win over the Corthinians.
At first, Żejtun made life difficult to the more-quoted Hibernians but they have to improve come next Saturday when both clubs meet again in a Premier league match at the Hibernians Stadium.
Stefano Sanderra fielded a strong team against Żejtun. Bjorn Kristensen, Degabriele, Dunstan Vella and Ferdinando Apap were all rested, but that still left Hibs fielding a line-up which included the likes of Grech, Andrei Agius and Gilmar.
The Paolites looked in no mood to let the game go the distance and quickly set about penning Żejtun in their own half – not that the Corinthians were eager to throw men forward at the other end.
The Blues were intent on adopting a counter-attacking approach, allowing Hibs space and possession until they reached the danger area.
Marshalled by the solid central back duo Diego Albanese and Lucas Moreira, Żejtun stood firm to the attacks of Gilmar and Imanol Iriberri.
After 15 minutes, Żejtun lauched a swift counter-attack. Marcelino picked up the ball deep in his half and scampered upfield before feeding Junior Barboza but the Brazilian striker was only able to direct his effort straight at Matthew Calleja Cremona.
Hibs gave Ibrahim Kone, the Żejtun goalkeeper, an anxious moment two minutes later when Gilmar set up Iriberri who hit a rising shot but the Guinea goalkeeper pushed it to safety.
But Hibs took the lead two minutes from half-time, courtesy of a magnificent strike from Grech.
Raphael and Tiago Fonesca paved the way, but there was still much for Grech to do when he received the ball on the right flank. He raced forward before curling a stunning right foot drive into Kone’s low corner from the edge of the box.
The Żejtun goalkeeper demostrated why he is so highly rated with a brilliant close range save from Fonseca seconds after the interval.
At the other end, Hibs had Calleja Cremona to thank after the goalkeeper tipped Anderson’s effort away at full stretch.
But Hibernians effectively got their hands on qualification after 64 minutes when Grech scored another goal that even topped his first effort for quality.
Irriberri played in the former Ħamrun midfielder who arriving on the left flank, threaded an acute-angled shot into the net from the byline.
At death, Grech turned provider to square the ball for substitute Degabriele to hit a low drive past Kone.