Grech 25, 83
G. Lombardi; P. Tamagnini (74 G. Bonini), C. Brolli, N. Arrigoni, D. Piscaglia, M. Spighi, A. Fall (82 G. Evangelisti), A. Nucci, Y. Jassey (63 E. Golinucci), E. Fedeli (82 W. Garcia), Bernardi.
N. Vella; A. Agius, L. Almeida, F. Apap, A. Attard (90 C. Zammit), J. Grech (M. Beerman), S. Raphael (11 D. Vella), B. Kristensen, Thaylor (87 Z. Grech), W. Domoraud, J. Degabriele (87 F. Mensah).
Referee C. Timotheos (Cyprus FA).
Yellow cards Kristensen, Bernardi, Apap.
Hibernians came from a goal down to secure a 3-1 comeback victory over Folgore in the first leg of the UEFA Europa Conference League second qualifying round.
The game, played in San Marino, did not preserve an ideal start to Hibernians after Folgore had forged ahead in the opening minutes of the game.
However, Stefano Sanderra’s side managed to take the game under the control and scored three goals without a reply as they closed in on an important qualification.
Hibernians were close to open the score on their first time of asking when Ayrton Attard met Thaylor’s long throw-in just to see his header go inches wide.
Moments later, captain Bjorn Kristensen fired a strike from the edge of the area but Folgore’s goalkeeper managed to block his effort.
However, it was Folgore who forged ahead when Eric Fedeli – 2019/2020 San Marino league’s top scorer – connected with Mirco Spighi’s cross and headed past Nicky Vella to put the hosts ahead.
Adding insult to injury was Sergio Raphael’s injury who had to be replaced after 11 minutes with Dunstan Vella.
Folgore threatened Vella’s goal through Gambian forward Yaya Jassey but he could not beat the Hibernians’ custodian with his shot from the edge of the area.
Yet, it was Hibernians who scored the game’s next goal through a curling effort from Jurgen Degabriele who was netting his third European goal in 12 appearances.
It was a fairly-balanced encounter in the opening stages with both teams creating goal-scoring opportunities, with Folgore having one on the 24th minute which Assane Fall squandered as he headed the ball over the bar.
A minute later, though, Hibernians managed to turn the score around as Jake Grech’s slightest of touches from close-range was enough to slot the ball past Folgore’s goalkeeper.
Midfielder Grech was close to extend Hibernians’ lead when Degabriele’s diagonal pass put him in a great position to score but he shot straight into Giovanni Lombardi, Folgore’s goalkeeper.
Hibernians continued to push for a third Wilfried Domoraud squandering a glorious chance to open a two-goal lead for Hibs when he missed the target from inside the area.
At the restart, Folgore’s Jassey left Agius on the spot before trying his luck from inside the area just to see his shot wide.
Fedeli, attempted another header on goal but this time Vella was alert to avert the danger.
Twenty minutes from time, Hibs captain Kristensen struck a low drive from close range but missed the target as Hibs continued to enjoy a one-goal led in San Marino.
The Maltese side remained the better team and it was Degabriele’s turn to come close to find a third but he could not beat the goalkeeper from a tight angle.
Hibernians put themselves in the driving seat to qualify into the next round when Grech found his second of the night and Hibernians’ third with a well-struck shot into the far angle to secure a two-goal cushion win for the Maltese side.